Mysteries set during WW2 have always fascinated me, starting with those which were actually written at the time (including the very great NorM by Christie and Traitor’s Purse by Allingham. The war seems to have come into vogue as a historical mystery setting over the past few years so there are plenty to select from. The style and tone of these mysteries varies widely from the Sayers ‘continuation’ books of Jill Paton Walsh to the transplanted first-person noir of James Benn. In 2008 my second-placed book (kept from the number one spot by Hill – and I sometimes wonder if I ought to exclude Hill as he is almost bound to win if he produces a DandP!) was Laura Wilson’s absolutely terrific Stratton’s War. The market-place is therefore crowded and comparisons spring easily to hand. It is on that context that the subject for my crime-reading group this month happens to be World War 2 mysteries – so I am going to be adding to my knowledge, but also inevitably making comparisons.

(March 2009)