First Sentence: I knew I
was in trouble when the corner wheeled in the body, encased
in a rubber sack, on a wobbly gurney with one wheel that wanted
to go in any direction but straight.
It is April 1944; plans for D-Day have been made and the different
branches of service and nationalities of military are rehearsing
for the critical day. However, an unidentified body has washed
up on Slapton Sands, the beach replicating the landing site
of Normandy Beach. General Eisenhower sends Captain Billy
Boyle and his partner, Lt. Kaz Kazimierz to investigate.
There are few authors whose voice is such that you aren’t
so much reading a story but make you feel as though it is
personally being told to you. Benn has just such a voice.
Add to that his wonderful descriptions…”…Whitewashed
stone cottages with thatched roofs sat close to the road,
stark and bright beneath the slanting rays of the morning
sun. A pub, a couple of shops, and then we were back in the
midst of green fields.” and you become part of the story.
Billy is a great character and one whose history and backstory
you learn as a material part of the story. The author does
not assume readers have read previous books in the series,
but those who have won’t find it something which slows
down the pace of the story.
Although one appreciates the author including an actual historical
even within the plot, what happened in this instance was horrible
beyond words. However, Benn is very good at conveying the
magnitude of the tragedy without needing to include graphic
Benn writes excellent, and occasionally poignant, dialogue…””Are
you sure?” Kaz said,” t could be dangerous. This
man has killed before.” “So have I, Piotr,”
David said. “I have sent men crashing down from the
sky in a ball of fire. I am the very fact of death.”
And yet, Benn’s wry humor does, occasionally, shine
through…”Captain Boyle, although we are an informal
household, that does not mean I make it a practice to socialize
with staff. It simply isn’t done, not in England. Is
it commonplace wherever you come from?” “That
would be Boston, ma’am, and I guess not.” “Ah,
Boston. And there I thought you had a speech impediment….”
Benn’s character take life under his deft hand—not
only Billy and Kaz, but David, the severely wounded pilot;
Sir Rupert and Edgar, members of the family at whose house
Billy and Kaz are staying, and Peter Wiley, the possible by-blow
of Sir Rupert. All this matters as herein lies the mystery
within the mystery. Benn also does an excellent job of incorporating
real historical characters--Yogi Berra and Agatha Christie,
including a wonderful scene of Billy discussing the situation
with her—who are employed in an historically accurate
manner. He also, sadly, does an excellent job of conveying
the staggeringly tragic results of a breakdown in communication.
The Rest is Silence is an excellent book, albeit
painful to read at times. Please don’t let that stop
you from getting to know this book and series. Not only are
they great mysteries with wonderful characters, but good history
lessons as well.
Reviews of other titles in this series
Rest is Silence #9