Evil for Evil
A Billy Boyle, World War II Mystery by James R. Benn
Review: Military investigator Billy Boyle is sent to Northern Ireland to look into the theft of artillery and ammunition from a US Army depot, a mission for which he may have some personal conflict given his deep Irish family roots, in Evil for Evil, the fourth World War II mystery in this series by James R. Benn.
It is November 1943. Billy is on leave traveling with his "Uncle" Ike (General Dwight D. Eisenhower) and a few members of Ike's staff from Cairo to Jerusalem. During what was supposed to be a relaxing break from the everyday routine — the paperwork, the waiting, the moments of terror, the lousy food, and then more terror — the war intrudes from an unexpected region. While in the Holy Land Major Cosgrove, an officer in the British Counterintelligence and Security Division, requests that the General transfer Billy to his detail as they could use his investigative expertise. Also on Cosgrove's team is Subaltern Slaine O'Brien of the SOE (Special Operations Executives). The British are getting nervous about the Irish Republican Army working with the Germans. There has been a raid at the US Army depot in Bally Kinkler, Northern Ireland, in which fifty of the latest Browning Automatic Rifles and 200,000 rounds of ammunition have been stolen. Billy is assigned to work the arms theft while Cosgrove and O'Brien will work the German angle — the possibility that the IRA is working with the enemy to overthrow the British government, with the intent to create a unified and independent Ireland albeit one with an allegiance to Nazi Germany.
Once in Northern Ireland and about four miles from the main gate of the depot, the body of a known IRA man, Eddie Murphy, is found shot twice in the back of his head and left with a pound note folded in the palm of his hand. Billy immediately recognizes this as the mark of an IRA informant, causing Cosgrove to wonder if Billy's intimate knowledge of IRA actions may mean he had Republican leanings himself. He replies that his personal feelings are irrelevant, that General Eisenhower ordered him to cooperate and that is just what he intends to do. In Ulster, no one admits to knowing anything about the raid at Bally Kinkler. But he does learn that Murphy was seen in one pub arguing with someone, and in another chatting with a GI. It seems there is a missing piece to this puzzle and he wasn't finding it. Determined to make sense out of a bunch of unrelated facts, Billy's job is complicated by the fact that he doesn't know who he can trust — and possibly more importantly, he doesn't know who trusts him.
Benn explores yet another facet of Billy Boyle's military life in Evil for Evil, one which is all too common during war: divided loyalties. As a soldier, Billy's duty and honor to the US Army is true and unquestioned; yet as a family man, he finds it hard to set aside his feelings for the people of his ancestor's homeland and their struggle for independence. This outstanding series effectively blends historical fact — in this case, the Nazi effort to use the Anglo-Irish conflict to their own advantage — with a richly detailed fictional storyline, creating here a riveting mystery that will captivate readers and leave them wanting to know more about the remarkable Billy Boyle.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Evil for Evil.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided a trade paperback edition of Evil for Evil for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Rag and Bone
Soho Press (Hardcover), September 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569478493; ISBN-10: 156947849X
A Mortal Terror
Soho Crime (Hardcover), September 2011
ISBN-13: 9781569479940; ISBN-10: 1569479941
Location(s) referenced in Evil for Evil: Northern Ireland
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Evil for Evil by James R. Benn — A Billy Boyle, World War II Mystery
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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