June 1944, Romsey, England.
Josephine ‘Jo’ Fox is at an impasse since the unwelcome return of her wayward husband Richard. So, when he disappears again, she is neither concerned nor surprised – until a burning car is discovered with a body inside. And there are signs that Richard is somehow involved.
Jo is determined to find both her husband and answers, yet with her friend Bram Nash in hospital suffering an infection of his old war wound, she must do so alone. When information comes to light that implicates Bram too, Jo finds herself on a dangerous path to the truth.
But what will be left for her when all is revealed?
My thoughts: I do rather like Jo Fox or Mrs Lester, as she’s more often referred to, much to her dislike. Unfortunate husbands are at the root of all her woes in this third outing. With Bram Nash mostly out of the picture in hospital, suffering from an infection due to his war wound (if you’re interested in his injuries and the reality of those tin masks – try Toby’s Room by Pat Barker and The Facemaker by Lindsay Fitzharris), it’s up to Jo to investigate Richard’s disappearance and find the real murderer. It couldn’t be him, could it?
Luckily Jo discovers she has some stalwart friends she wasn’t completely aware of in Aggie, Dot and Fan. Three women who care very much about her and Bram, and want to help all they can, Aggie in particular has a sharp mind. Then there’s Nurse O’Shaughnessy or Irish, another excellent woman. Honestly, the men are a bit useless, apart from young Alf.
Jo’s life hangs in the balance as she gets too close to the culprit, who’s a little too keen on the other side winning the war – even if he wasn’t a murderer, he’d be probably be hanged as a spy or at least an unpatriotic troublemaker. But thankfully her team of excellent women harangue the police the correct amount.
There’s lots of peril, both from murderous sorts and from infections (penicillin being very new) to worry about for Jo, and worry she does, as at one point she might be suspect number one! But she’s resilient and clever, a born survivor, even a visit to her awful grandfather doesn’t slow her down. This series is lots of fun, and while the war rages on “over there”, crime never sleeps.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.