cover image The Red Horse: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

The Red Horse: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

James R. Benn. Soho Crime, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-100-2

Set in 1944, Benn’s superlative 15th WWII mystery featuring U.S. Army investigator Billy Boyle (after 2019’s When Hell Struck Twelve) finds Boyle confined to a former lunatic asylum converted to a hospital outside London, where he’s recovering from a traumatic experience. A recent mission in Paris was betrayed to the Germans, leaving Boyle’s love interest, Lady Diana Seaton, an undercover British operative, in the hands of the Gestapo. While on the hospital grounds, Boyle witnesses a fellow patient, Thomas Holland, fall to his death from a clock tower. Having seen a second figure near Holland right before his death, the former Boston homicide cop isn’t inclined to credit the official view that the fatality was either suicide or an accident. His status as a patient being treated for depression and disorientation after taking too much methamphetamine makes investigating a challenge. Boyle’s suspicions increase after someone else on the grounds is stabbed to death. Benn maintains a high level of tension throughout, and his admirable but flawed lead will engage even first-time readers. This fair-play whodunit stands comparison with the best classic mysteries. (Sept.)