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Watches of the Night (Ben Reese Mysteries)

by Sally Wright

Series: Ben Reese (5)

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361598,365 (3.81)3
A Ben Reese Mystery - Ben Reese, university archivist and part-time investigator, is alarmed when his old friend Kate Lindsay receives a disturbing package. It contains her husbands eyeball, retrieved from the front line and posted arriving twenty years later. Kate needs some answers so decides to visit veteran Ross MacNab, but when MacNab commits suicide hours before she arrives, Kate fears foul play. Bens suspicions, meanwhile, rest on another war comrade, but army records show he died years before . . .… (more)
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Why have I not encountered Sally Wright's writing before? I recently got a copy of Watches of the Night, her fifth mystery featuring college archivist and ex-WWII scout Ben Reese, and I'll definitely be seeking out the first four and hoping for more.

The time setting of this book is one that is not often encountered. The "contemporary" section is set in 1961 and 1962, with the flashbacks going back to 1945. Each segment is given a date, which prevents confusion. The geographical settings range from southern Ohio and Kentucky to Scotland, England and Italy, with side trips to NYC and the Hudson Valley, in the "present" day, and along the front lines in Belgium and Germany during the war. Each setting is evocatively described, with a feeling for the history of a place as well as its climate, topography, and flora.

The protagonist, Ben Reese, and his friend and co-investigator, Kate Lindsay, are just the sort of people one would like to know in real life. Other characters (helpfully listed in the front of the book, along with a drawing of a pivotal location in the story)are also well drawn, and even the villain has a believable backstory.

The story begins when Ben's friend Kate receives a shocking package, delivered by a conscientious employee of the Dead Letter Office. Sixteen years after his death, her husband's eye has been sent to her in a bottle of alcohol. Who could have sent it? She enlists Ben's help in finding out. This is one of those books where the reader knows what the villain is up to before the detectives do, but that in no way detracts from the suspense. Ben's WWII training stands him in good stead as the book reaches its thrilling climax. I highly recommend Watches of the Night. ( )
  auntieknickers | Jan 15, 2009 |
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A Ben Reese Mystery - Ben Reese, university archivist and part-time investigator, is alarmed when his old friend Kate Lindsay receives a disturbing package. It contains her husbands eyeball, retrieved from the front line and posted arriving twenty years later. Kate needs some answers so decides to visit veteran Ross MacNab, but when MacNab commits suicide hours before she arrives, Kate fears foul play. Bens suspicions, meanwhile, rest on another war comrade, but army records show he died years before . . .

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