Rhys Bowen

Books

In Farleigh Field (2017)



In Farleigh Field (2017)

Set in England in 1941

Farleigh Place is the ancestral home of Lord Westerham, and is now also home to the Royal West Kents as they prepare to be sent to the front. But even they are surprised when the body of a soldier is discovered on the grounds.

There are a lot of characters here, but the important ones are Ben and Pamma–both working for the government during the war, Ben at MI5 and Pamma at Betchley Park. We also spend time with Phoebem Westerham’s youngest daughter and Alfie, a boy evacuated from London to the countryside, as well as Margot who remained in Paris after the start of the war. Plus there’s Jeremy, who I disliked from the get-go, and Ben and Pamma’s roommtes and co-workers and the remaining to sisters and various other family members and servants and neighbors.

“Official Secrets Act. Read this and sign here, please.” He tapped a finger on the paper. “So you’re saying that we have to promise never to divulge what goes on here before we know what goes on here?” Trixie asked.

It’s fascinating how the various intelligence workers weren’t allowed to tell anyone what they were doing–although with the war going on and the lack of background checks, it is understandable, since you really had to take people at face value.

It also, however, emphasized the problem of compartmentalization, where information didn’t flow between the various intelligence agencies, because no one trusted anyone else.

Most of the characters were interesting. I especially liked Phoebe as well as Ben.

“You are both heroes,” Phoebe said, “and will earn my undying thanks.”

Pamela looked at Ben and smiled. “Undying thanks. We’ll remind her of that one day when she accuses me of taking the last biscuit.”

I disliked Jeremy from the start, which made part of the mystery extremely obvious. And I had a hard time believing that no one else found Jeremy or the rest of his family the slightest bit suspicious. It seems strange that no one would be the slightest bit suspicious of all the strange things happening in the village. That just knowing someone for your entire life put them beyond suspicion, regardless of how they acted. Yes, the suspicion of strangers was realistic, but letting everything else slide? I dunno.

The story kept me reading, but I don’t think I’d care to re-read the story, and am glad I got the book on sale.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Rating: 6/10