Sunday, May 17, 2020



Publisher:      Berkley 
Published:      November 5, 2019
ISBN:      978-1984805805
Genre:     Historical Mystery
Format:     Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


In the midst of World War II, Poppy Redfern of Little Buffington, England has stepped up to become an air raid warden.  After her training in London where she has undergone a real air attack she returns to her home village and begins her duties there.  Things at home in Little Buffington are rather peaceful and calm except for the addition of an American air field.  Along with America’s entry into the war they have sent over a squadron of the Army Air Corps.  While most of the village is happy to have them, others are not so thrilled. When not one but two of the village girls, known to be dating some of the American airmen are killed, support for the Americans dwindles. 

Amidst the drama of the war and murders, Poppy meets American flyer, Griff O’Neal.  Charming and handsome Poppy is attracted to Griff, and he seems attracted to her.  But with one of his men…or even Griff…being the killer, romance needs to take a back seat.  That said, she and Griff set out the find the killer before he or she finds another victim.

I don’t know how I missed Tessa Arlen before, but she’s at the top of my must read list now.  Arlen tells a fabulous story with great characters.  Despite loving the movie Hanover Street starring Harrison Ford, Lesley-Anne Down, and Christopher Plummer I haven’t been a fan of movies or books set during WW-II.  Arlen’s POPPY REDFERN AND THE MIDNIGHT MURDERS has certainly turned me around—at least when it comes to well done mysteries. 

Poppy is such a great character.  I think she is one of my absolute favorites. She’s smart, kind, and comes across like someone you’d like to have for a friend.  Her imaginary “friend” who is the heroine of the book she is writing, Ilona, is a wonderful foil for Poppy.  Even though Ilona is fictional in Poppy’s world she adds a fun and creative dimension to the story.  Griff is such a great hero.  Smart but not smug, confident without being egotistical as witnessed when he tells Poppy good pilots don’t die. 

Little Buffington has its share of quirky characters from Mrs. Glossop to Sid Ritchie.  But it also has other characters, some you want to slap like Fenella and others you want to hug like Bess (Poppy’s dog). 

I was pretty sure I knew who the killer was from the beginning, but loved the way Arlen had Poppy ferret the culprit out.

Arlen also gives realistic details of Little Buffington and its environs as well as what could well have happened during air raids.  She brings home the sadness, upheaval and devastation of war without falling into leaving the reader depressed. 

This is definitely a series to add to your “must read” list.  I can’t wait for book 2!

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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