Book of the Day
Merlin at War
Merlin at War is the 3rd installment in the Dci Frank Merlin series by Mark Ellis. It begins in the summer of 1941. Europe is at war against the Nazi’s and Vichy France has fallen under Nazi rule. England has survived the Blitz and is holding on, but the future is very uncertain. The British Army has just withdrawn from Crete with significant casualties. But, life (and death) goes on in London. There, Inspector Merlin is set as lead investigator in the separate deaths of an unknown young woman from a botched abortion and the murder of a Jewish French National. He is also approached by an old friend seeking advice about the execution of a dying request made by his commander during the fallback from Crete.
Merlin is a depicted as a very relatable character. He stumbles a bit as he tries to balance his professional life and personal life. He is honorable and honest, but not afraid to take chances and willing to challenge traditional mores of the time. Cognizant of his own faults he is able to understand the motivations of others and uses that knowledge to sort out clues that might go otherwise unnoticed. Even when his personal and professional life does collide he is able to keep his head and do what needs to be done.
Ellis has written a wonderfully detailed and layered story – cleverly fitting together all of the pieces. Backstories and side stories are laced with historical facts, detailed descriptions of actual places and cameo appearances of several important real-life figures. It feels very real. One can almost smell the French cigarette smoke wafting through the air. There are so many fun, little, Easter Eggs hidden throughout the book I know I will need to read it again just to find them all.
This is the first Dci Frank Merlin book I have read. I certainly did not feel like I was jumping in mid-story. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. I also was able to swing between the Audible version and the Kindle version (I’m not one to stop reading just because I have to drive or walk the dog). The narrator, Matt Addis, was exceptional. He easily slipped in and out of a myriad of accents and maintained the cadence of the era. I will certainly be looking for the first two in this series, Princess Gate, and Stalin’s Gold.
E.J. Boyd is a new to Killer Nashville. She lives in Upstate New York with her dog, Meggie. E.J. earned her Bachelors in English Literature from SUNY Oneonta.