A BLIND GODDESS by James Benn


James Benn will be appearing at Mystery One Books, in Milwaukee, at 4pm. Folks in the area should stop by and meet him.
Soho Crime
Pub date: September 3rd, 2013

Billy Boyle, personal investigator for General Eisenhower, returns in another death-defying adventure. It is 1944 and Boyle is back in London preparing to spend a few days leave in the English countryside with his girl Diana. But an old friend from Boston, Sergeant Eugene “Tree” Jackson, contacts him with a problem he is hoping Boyle will look into. His top gunner, a guy with the nickname Angry, is sitting in jail accused of the murder of a local constable. Tree is convinced that Angry, despite the moniker, couldn’t have done it. Tree is desperate to clear Angry’s name—besides being sure that Angry is being set up simply because he is black, the unit needs him back if they are going to ship out overseas to fight. At the same time, Boyle is called to the scene of a murder in a nearby village. There are few clues, but there is some suspicion that a serial killer may be on the loose in the quiet English town. Boyle needs to turn up answers fast before someone else turns up dead—like Boyle himself.

In A BLIND GODDESS Benn doesn’t skate around the issues of race relations and segregation in the 1940’s; he dives courageously in with both feet. While it may be an uncomfortable reality, the American military was segregated at the time of the war, causing a great deal of tension among the ranks both in the states and overseas. Benn’s handling of the difficulties is very well done; it creates emotional tension in the book without detracting from or overwhelming the mysteries at the heart of the various cases that Boyle and his cohorts are investigating. Benn proves to be marvelous at constructing a grand adventure while balancing the harsh realities of the Second World War, including the politics that go on behind the scenes. With A BLIND GODDESS, Benn has served up yet another delicious mystery to sink our teeth into—no way to ration this one.

Erica Ruth Neubauer