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Beware This Boy (Detective Inspector Tom…
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Beware This Boy (Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery)

by Maureen Jennings

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Detective Inspector Tom Tyler is off to Birmingham during The Blitz to investigate a deadly explosion at a munitions factory. It’s 1940 England and death is an everyday occurrence. But the government wants to know whether the explosion was a tragic accident or an act of sabotage.

Intertwined with the main plot are the stories of a young boy, Jack, caught in a desperate situation with an older boy who’s creepy at best and murderous at worst; Brian a deserter from the British Army; a young nurse at the munitions factory, Eileen; and an American who seems to be in the thick of things.

I have read and enjoyed many, many historical mysteries, and I especially like those centered in the years before, after and during the two World Wars. In my opinion, Beware This Boy is excellent. The author is great at creating atmosphere– vivid and detailed enough to transport readers back to those trying times. It was a bit more violent than I usually read, but not overly so for all but the most sensitive readers. ( )
  NewsieQ | May 23, 2015 |
Birmingham is being hit hard by the Blitz, and DI Tom Tyler has been sent there from Shropshire to investigate an explosion at a munitions factory. However, this explosion was not caused by an air raid; this is sabotage. Our viewpoint shifts from Tyler's investigation to the saboteurs themselves, and to a family struggling to get by while one of their own is serving in the army. Jennings ably portrays wartime life in Birmingham, with Tyler's investigation taking on more of a thriller aspect than a "mystery": we the reader have some idea of what the saboteurs are up to, but we keep reading to see whether Tyler will catch them in time.

Readers new to this series may be slightly perplexed by references to the first book, Season of Darkness. I myself read it, but last year, so it took me a while to remember what exactly had happened. Therefore I would suggest reading these two fairly close together. As for the subject matter, anyone who likes to read about the homefront, or who enjoyed the show Bomb Girls, would like this book as well. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 11, 2014 |
This is the 2nd in a series about WWIi England. Tom Tyler is the continuing main character. I enjoyed the first one more than this book. The detailing of life in England during the war is excellent, well researched and documented. I thought there were too many other characters and that Tom was almost an after thought in a story that could have been told without him. Still, looking forward to #3. ( )
  librarian1204 | Mar 26, 2013 |
November, 1940. Tom Tyler, Detective Inspector of the small Shropshire town of Whitchurch, is a troubled man. The preceding summer had been a dark one for Britain, and even darker for Tom's own family and personal life. So he jumps at the opportunity to help out in the nearby city of Birmingham, where an explosion in a munitions factory has killed or badly injured several of the young women who have taken on dangerous work in support of the war effort. At first, it seems more than likely the explosion was an accident, and Tom has only been called in because the forces are stretched thin. But as he talks to the employees of the factory, inner divisions -- between the owner and his employees, between unionists and workers who fear communist infiltration -- begin to appear. Summary amazon.ca

Second book in the Detective Inspector Tom Tyler mystery series--I didn't realize this until part way through the story. Probably would have been better to read Season of Darkness first; the Inspector's feelings and course of action seemed rooted in the first novel.

This is my first Maureen Jennings read. It's a war story told on the civilian battlefields of Birmingham: a munitions factory, under-the-stairs-closet air raid shelters, rations, spies and deserters. The author uses her character insights (she is a psychotherapist, after all) to unfold the action. A native Brummie, the author is lavish with local colour; as in Detective Murdoch series, the city is a major character. There's a reserve or softness in her telling, glossing the story with an almost outdated style. Ms Jennings is chronologically the heir to writers such as Nevil Shute but she styles her narrative more as a contemporary would have. I enjoyed it but was also puzzled by it.

Season of Darkness is next on my list.

7 out of 10 Recommended to readers who enjoy a gentler style of detective and WWII fiction. ( )
  julie10reads | Mar 2, 2013 |
I know Maureen Jennings' name. I know she's Canadian. I know she's an award winning author. I know that the television series The Murdoch Mysteries is based on her best selling historical detective series. (I've watched every episode - and season six starts in January '13.) But, I have never physically read a book by Jennings.....until now....and I wish I had done so sooner!

Her latest novel is Beware This Boy - the second book featuring Detective Inspector Tom Tyler. The setting is England in 1940 - and the war has begun.

Tyler is called in to Birmingham to investigate a fatal accident at a munitions factory. But, is it an accident? As he questions the staff, he begins to think not. A young American film maker may not be who he says he is. Could one of the staff have their own agenda? Are there conspirators amongst them? In addition to Tom's inquiries, there are secondary storylines involving an AWOL soldier, his family and more. But all have ties to the factory in one way or another.

There are many characters populating this book, but each personality serves a purpose and is richly and distinctly drawn. Every one has their own story, yet plays a larger part in the overall plot. The Abbott family was a standout for me - especially nurse Eileen. I quite like Tom and his quiet, thoughtful manner of investigation.

The time period is beautifully captured as well. The stalwart attitudes, courage, the sense of duty, the politeness and social mores of the day but the dark side of war as well. Living day to day with bombing, rationing, uncertainty, death and loss.

The 'whodunit' is not overly complicated and we're privy to more knowledge than Tom early on, but this really didn't matter. It was Jennings's characters and storytelling that were standouts for me.

Beware This Boy was a rich, full, satisfying read all 'round on so many levels. Definitely recommended. Read an excerpt of Beware This Boy. Although this is the second book of a trilogy, I was able to enjoy Beware This Boy on its' own. There were allusions to a past case, but it didn't detract from this story. If anything, it only encouraged me to hunt down the first book - Season of Darkness.

In the author's notes, Jennings shares the origins of the title.

"The title of this book is from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. When the Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Ebeneezer Scrooge, he reveals two wretched children who have been sheltering inside his robe. They are the children of Man, says the Spirit. 'This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of both of them...but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom unless the writing be erased."

I'm not sure if there are more books using this time period as a setting lately or I'm just discovering them. (Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Jacqueline Winspear) But I am really enjoying them. If you do as well, put Jennings on your list. Beware This Boy was also the inspiration for the television series The Bomb Girls. ( )
  Twink | Nov 29, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0771043139, Paperback)

November, 1940. Tom Tyler, Detective Inspector of the small Shropshire town of Whitchurch, is a troubled man. The preceding summer had been a dark one for Britain, and even darker for Tom's own family and personal life. So he jumps at the opportunity to help out in the nearby city of Birmingham, where an explosion in a munitions factory has killed or badly injured several of the young women who have taken on dangerous work in support of the war effort.

At first, it seems more than likely the explosion was an accident, and Tom has only been called in because the forces are stretched thin. But as he talks to the employees of the factory, inner divisions -- between the owner and his employees, between unionists and workers who fear communist infiltration -- begin to appear. Put that together with an AWOL young soldier who unwittingly puts all those he loves at risk and a charming American documentary filmmaker who may be much more than he seems, and you have a page-turning novel that bears all the hallmarks of Maureen Jennings' extraordinary talent: a multi-faceted mystery, vivid characters, snappy dialogue, and a pitch-perfect sense of the era of the Blitz, when the English were pushed to their limits and responded with a courage and resilience that still inspires.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:55 -0400)

November, 1940. Tom Tyler, Detective Inspector of the small Shropshire town of Whitchurch, is a troubled man. The preceding summer had been a dark one for Britain, and even darker for Tom's own family and personal life. So he jumps at the opportunity to help out in the nearby city of Birmingham, where an explosion in a munitions factory has killed or badly injured several of the young women who have taken on dangerous work in support of the war effort. At first, it seems more than likely the explosion was an accident, and Tom has only been called in because the forces are stretched thin. But as he talks to the employees of the factory, inner divisions -- between the owner and his employees, between unionists and workers who fear communist infiltration -- begin to appear.… (more)

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