DEATH’S DOOR BY: JAMES R. BENN
Death’s Door, the newest book in the Billy Boyle World War II mystery Series, is out in 2012. Billy Boyle finds himself in Brindisi, Italy, in February of 1944. The Allies are not yet in charge in Rome, although the Allies are in italy and knocking at the door.
An American Monsignor is found murdered at the foot of Death’s Door, one of five entrances to St. Peter’s Basilica. Monsignor Corrigan had friends in high places and General Eisenhower is putting Billy in the position of finding who murdered him. Billy has been just about everywhere in WW II, as a Lt. Detective sent to find the answers to high level cases affecting the Allies. To solve this one, Billy has to be smuggled and led into Rome in priestly robes. Kaz his Polish friend, is with him, but this situation is tricky. The Nazis are still in charge in Rome and the Allied bombs and Gestapo are both to be avoided at all costs.
The Vatican has status as a neutral territory inside Rome’s boarders, and the Vatican is filled with politics – some pro-Allied and others pro Nazi.
Billy has discovered that Diana Seaton is in Rome and is a British spy. She is also Billy’s lover, and she has gone missing while undercover in the Vatican. Billy is faced with orders to solve Corrigan’s murder, as well as his own resolve to rescue Diana. When he discovers she is being held in Regina Coeli prison, a short walk from the Vatican border, his desperate choice is to try and rescue her. Their own safety is at risk, but if he fails it would alert the Germans of his mission and risk an open violation of the Vatican neutrality.
This novel might just be the best in this series, although I have enjoyed them all. The Vatican has secretly been able to help many Jews and help the Allies, but they must appear to be neutral. The stakes are enormous and James Benn has done it again by giving a clear picture of the risks and politics at this time and place in WW II.
Published: Soho Press 853 Broadway New York, NY 10003 Copyright: © 2012 By James R. Bean Reviewed: 11/30/12 – 363 Copyright: © 2012 by Joan G. Smith 363