Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: A Woman of WW II Mystery #2
Publication Date: 12/1/20
Number of Pages: 320
This series is a delightful find! I have read other books by Tessa Arlen, but I missed out on the first of the Poppy Redfern books – and I’m so sorry about that! The writing is excellent, the mystery is well-formed and well-executed so you don’t guess who the villain is until the very end. There are lots of red herrings to keep you guessing. This book was so entertaining that I’ll now have to go back and read the first book in the series. Speaking of it being a series, this book can totally be read as a standalone – but I can promise you, you’ll want to go back and read the first book.
I listened to an ARC of the audiobook and I enjoyed the listen. The narrator, Madeleine Leslay, performed the narration with a tempo and voice that made me feel as if Poppy is a happy person who enjoys her life. She sounded very upbeat. I didn’t totally lose myself in the story because I did have a hard time differentiating among the speakers. They all sounded pretty much the same – every once in a while, the Scot would sound like a Scot, but the American never, ever, sounded like an American. So, I had to really concentrate to determine who was speaking. I’ll also mention that the American, who is also the masculine lead, was performed so that he sounded so prissy that I would have thought the part was female had the word ‘he’ not been used to describe him.
In late autumn of 1942, Poppy Redfern is settling into her new job as a scriptwriter at the London Crown Film Unit, which produces short films about valorous deeds performed by ordinary British citizens in wartime. She’s really excited to receive her first assignment, writing the script for a fifteen-minute film on a group of female pilots known as the Attagirls. These intrepid ladies fly every sort of aircraft to bases all over England. These ladies would much rather actually fly as part of the Royal Air Force, but England doesn’t allow female combat pilots – they barely allow these ladies to fly the planes around England. They perform a vital service – getting new planes from the manufacturer to the bases who need them as well as ferrying newly repaired planes back to their bases. Poppy cannot wait to meet these ladies.
Poppy’s gentleman friend, Griff, has seven days of leave and decides to go along with Poppy for a few days. Both Griff and Poppy quickly come to like and admire these brave ladies who fly in all sorts of adverse conditions without any of the basic safety devices regular combat pilots have. Their bravery and patriotism come through loud and clear. The six ladies they meet were the first recruited by the Air Transport Auxiliary and all of them are highly skilled and rated for most types of aircraft.
Poppy, Huntley (the producer), Keith (the cameraman), and Griff, all head for the ferry depot from which the Attagirls work. Poppy and Griff arrive first and Poppy sets about getting to know the ladies in order to begin the scriptwriting. She likes them very much and is excited to tell their tales. That excitement turns to horror when, one of the best pilots crashes and dies during a filming session. Everyone is immediately saying it was an accident and/or pilot error. Griff, who is a pilot, and Poppy don’t believe it to be an accident. They investigate more and more – they become more and more sure it wasn’t an accident. Without any proof, they cannot say anything – and when a second crash and death occur, they are sure both are related. When the powers-that-be decide that the crashes are ‘accidents’, and the filming session is drawing to a close, they know they have to quickly get some answers.
I absolutely adored Poppy and Griff – not to mention Bess, Poppy’s sweet little Corgi. Since I didn’t read the first book, I have no idea where Poppy and Griff left their relationship in that book. However, in this book, it is quite evident they care for each other. I’ll be so very happy to read the next book in order to see what mystery they get to solve and to see where their relationship goes next.
I voluntarily listened to and reviewed an Advance Audio Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.