When Betty Palmer’s sister dies under suspicious circumstances whilst landing her Tiger Moth, Betty and three other women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary in WWII England unite to discover who killed her and why.
Estranged from her family, Penny Blake wants simply to belong. American Doris Winter, running from a personal tragedy, yearns for a new start. Naturally shy Mary Whitworth-Baines struggles to fit in. Together though, they are a force to be reckoned with as they face the mystery that confronts them.
Against the backdrop of war, when ties of friendship are exceptionally strong, they strive to unravel the puzzle’s complex threads, risking their lives as they seek justice for Betty’s sister.
What I Thought:
An historical mystery, set during World War 2 you say? Dominated by a cast of strong women? Sold!
A Wing and a Prayer is MW (Mick) Arnold’s debut novel, and only the first in The Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club.
I find the ATA aspect fascinating – if you read anything about that incredible organisation and the (mostly) women who put their lives on the line to deliver factory-new planes across the UK during WW2 it really is worth your time. The planes these women flew were not equipped with weapons and often without radios so they really were flying with all of their skill, on long days and with all the stresses of combat crews, but barely any of the recognition.
The fact that that ladies in this book turn out to be budding Miss Marples as well is a bonus! Betty Palmer’s sister meets her demise in the early stages of the book and the author then takes the bold step of choosing the ‘Columbo’ school of mystery writing – he clearly shows us the villains of the piece, and the fun part of the mystery is seeing them get their comeuppance!
The historical detail of this book is excellent – many of the details of the military life are obviously due to MW Arnold’s having served in the RAF and he obviously knows his stuff where the ATA is concerned.
It’s great to see a group of women comes to the forefront in a book about the war as, very often they are seen in these types of books as wives and girlfriends – something that very much diminishes the contribution of women to the war effort.
A Wing and a Prayer is published by The Wild Rose Press.
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Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.