Mystery Fiction I have been a Rhys Bowen fan for years and I await each installment of her two current series with eager anticipation. The “Molly Murphy” mysteries feature a capable and enterprising young woman – an Irish immigrant with an unfortunate past – rebuilding her life in early twentieth century New York City. There have been 16 installments in this series, with a new adventure available later this year. It is always nice to have something to anticipate.
The “Royal Spyness” mysteries are set in England between the wars, and feature a young lady who is 35th in line to the throne. Lady Georgiana is dirt poor but rich with connections and usually finds herself performing some favour or another to stay in the good graces of her royal family. In the background, her cousin Edward is courting a certain Mrs. Simpson. There are nine books and counting in this more lighthearted series.
As soon as I heard that Rhys Bowen had a new novel coming out I knew I had to read it. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. This is a World War ll era novel with great characters (and in my opinion Rhys Bowen writes great characters)
Farleigh Place is the stately English manor of Lord Westerham, his wife, and five daughters. England is at war with Germany and half the estate has been commandeered by the British army; meanwhile the family learns to live in more reduced circumstances. Middle daughter Pamela has a position at Bletchley Park, although her family thinks she is doing secretarial work. Another daughter, Margot, is living in Paris and refusing to return home to England. Ben is the son of the village vicar, and Pamela’s childhood friend. (of course he is secretly in love with her) A recent accident has kept him from enlisting but he does undercover work for the government and receives a lot of flack for not doing his part. Another childhood friend – dashing flying ace Jeremy Prescott- has joined the RAF.
One day, as youngest daughter Phoebe is crossing the estate on her pony, she comes across a battered body in soldier’s clothing. He has fallen from the sky due to a failed parachute. This sets off an inquiry with lots of questions and Ben is tasked with discretely finding some answers.
Each daughter has her own story. This is where I always admire Rhys Bowen; I think she is great at writing characters that the reader can care about. And she excels at writing women with good minds and strong personalities. This novel has been promoted as a “stand alone” but I , for one, would love to see it become a series. I feel the author has only scratched to surface with these characters.
IN FARLEIGH FIELD is a novel about WW ll with great characters and an exciting plot; espionage, secrets and alliances of all kind are all explored in this excellent book.
The reader may want to read THE REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) as a companion book.