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Topic: WWII Mysteries?

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Subject: WWII Mysteries?
Date Posted: 5/18/2012 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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Can anyone think of mystery novels both set and written during WWII? That concern the war in some way? I specifically mean *mystery* novels as opposed to thrillers. I have Agatha Christie's N or M and Edmund Crispin's Holy Disorders. Other than those two, I'm drawing kind of a blank. I'm in the process of putting together a blog post and would appreciate any help or suggestions.

To be clear - I'm not interested in books written post-war with a war time setting. Thanks!

Date Posted: 5/18/2012 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2008
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If you go to SYKM (www.stopyourekillingme.com) or (www.crimethrutime.com) you can get lists of books set in the 1940's...many of them dealing with WWII...you can get the publication dates.



Last Edited on: 5/18/12 4:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 5/18/2012 4:49 PM ET
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Unfortunately, you can't sort by publication date. Most seem to be historical fiction, as well. It's a little bit of a blunt tool for my purposes. 

If anyone here has read any they have found to be particularly interesting, I would appreciate the suggestion. Thanks!

Date Posted: 5/18/2012 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
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The only ones I can think of (not my favorite era) are Helen MacInnes novels. It's been years since I've read them, they were very good, but I can't remember when they were published, but I think they're set around WWII.

Never mind. Should have checked first. Not written in the 40's. forget what I wrote, except that they're good.

 

 



Last Edited on: 5/18/12 5:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/18/2012 7:16 PM ET
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Actually, I just looked up Helen MacInnes ans she seems perfect! I'll check her out, and thanks.



Last Edited on: 5/18/12 7:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/19/2012 9:49 AM ET
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When I wrote "not my favorite era" I meant books set during WWII. Realized how unclear that statement was.

I'm happy to hear you'll give MacInnes a try.  I kept the books I'd read for a very long time until I realized I'd probably never reread them, regardless of how much I enjoyed them.

I hope you enjoy her, too.

GAil

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 5/20/2012 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
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Some of Phoebe Atwood Taylor's Asey Mayo books are written during and take place during WWII.

http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/browser.php?k=Phoebe+Atwood+Taylor



Last Edited on: 5/20/12 11:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/20/2012 3:47 PM ET
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Ngaio Marsh writes some books in the '40's and I believe they may have some war references.  If you haven't read her, the books are wonderful, Agatha Christie like, just on general principles.

Also, Dorothy Sayers writes some books with Lord Peter Wimsey that take place during the war. 

Date Posted: 5/21/2012 10:18 AM ET
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I've never read Phoebe Atwood Taylor - I'll check her out. Thanks!

None of the Wimsey ones take place during the war (though I might wind up discussing Gaudy Night (1935) as it talks a bit about Fascism and the rise of Hitler), and Ngaio Marsh ignored the war pretty much completely in her novels.

I have to reread Traitor's Purse by Margery Allingham. I like her books, but that one wasn't one of my favorites. I'm not a fan of amnesia plot lines.

Date Posted: 5/21/2012 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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If you are looking for some standalones that were wrote during that timeframe, some of my recommendations are:

Black Cross by Greg Iles (have tissues handy) and The Garden of the Beast by Jeff Deaver both very good and real knuckle biters.

Date Posted: 5/21/2012 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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Jeff Deaver and Greg Iles are both contemporary authors. For the piece I'm working on I'm only interested in books that were written during the war. But, thanks for the suggestions.

Date Posted: 5/22/2012 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Oh I see, you wanted authors that actually wrote during that time frame.

Subject: Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter
Date Posted: 5/24/2012 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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Ellis Peters wrote a trilogy set during WWII, including She Goes to War. I don't know whether they qualify as mysteries. They were originally published as being by Edith Pargeter, but re-issued later as by Ellis Peters after she became famous for the Brother Cadfael mysteries. I believe some of her non-Cadfael mysteries about the Felse family were also written and set during WWII, but I traded mine away after I read them, so can't tell you which ones that'd be

Date Posted: 5/24/2012 1:34 PM ET
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Oh, interesting. She was a WREN too, I see, which might be interesting. 

For some reason, I thought she was much younger so I probably wouldn't have thought of her if you hadn't made the suggestion. Thanks!

Subject: The Body Fell On Berlin (1943)
Date Posted: 6/19/2012 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
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By Richard Larkin. Here's the review I posted at Amazon:

By Ron
Plot: The time is midway through WWII, the setting is Fenmallham Airdrome, England. Flight Lieutenant Jasper Doyle is an Intelligence Officer at the base, from which RAF bombers depart for occupied Europe and Germany. Prior to joining the Air Force Doyle was with Scotland Yard and while going over some photographs taken during a bombing raid on Berlin, he sees something that stirs his detective's soul: in the glare of a flare, a shape that might be a body can be made out on the film. Since one of the crew from the bomber taking the photo is AWOL, Doyle suspects foul play. Between debriefings of bomber crews, he sets out to uncover the facts about the missing man and the possible body that was dropped with a load of bombs on the German capital.

Review: Lakin's writing style is an easy one, and the setting is one you don't find in a British mystery too often. There is a plot twist at the end, as well as a bit of espionage and romance thrown in. The denouement is a bit convoluted and confusing, but on the whole it was an enjoyable read that evoked a time and place for me.
 
Date Posted: 6/21/2012 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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How about Green for Danger by Christianna Brand? It was written in 1944 and is set in a WWII hospital.  I started it once but was put off by one of the characters.  It is supposed to be a Golden Age classic so I might toughen up and try it again!  I would also offer up Elizabeth Daly.  She started writing in 1940 and her novels contain incidental state-side wartime references that I find interesting.

Subject: Manning Coles
Date Posted: 7/4/2012 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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They're more suspense/spy thrillers than mysteries, but you might like some of Manning Coles' books. I'm doing this from memory, but I'm pretty sure Toast to Tomorrow and This Fortress were written during WWII. Oh wait - in a moment of consciousness, I actually wrote the publication dates next to the titles. Others written between 1939 and 1945 are: They Tell No Tales, Without Lawful Authority, and Green Hazard. All except This Fortress feature the series character Tommy Hambledon, and have an excellent sense of humor. In several of them, the action is set in Germany during the war. The authors wrote several in the years immediately after the war that were set during the war years.



Last Edited on: 7/4/12 4:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2012 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
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I haven't read them yet, but my reminder list includes several books by Frances Crane that were recommended by a friend. The books are set in a small Midwest town as war creeps off of the newsreels and closer to home in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

Date Posted: 12/23/2012 3:27 PM ET
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Minute for Murder by Nicholas Blake was set in WWII and published just a few years later (1947).  It reads as contemporaneous to wartime, not as historical fiction.  It might fit what you're looking for even though the date is slightly off.  The war figures into the mystery plot.  I really liked the book.