"The Information Officer" by Mark Mills

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Mark Mills continues to bless us with thrilling mystery tales, where impromptu (non-professional) detectives depend on their wits and gumption to crack cases and catch the heavy. "The Information Officer" has an added fillip: it takes place against a backdrop of wartime espionage, complete with a Nazi spy on Malta during World War II.

In this entry, our accidental hero is Maj. Max Chadwick of the British Army. The Brits and the islanders are under constant bombardment from the Luftwaffe, as the German war machine is intent on clearing the strategic island of the enemy. But island girls start turning up dead, and it's apparent that it's not from the bombing sorties. The base's chief medical officer alerts Max, and supplies a clue as to the murderer's identity. This story is entwined with Chadwick's romantic adventures and misadventures, and it all follows the hectic, straining pace of wartime siege.

Mr. Mills is three-for-three. His other two books,"Amagansett" and "The Savage Garden" both delivered superbly on early promise, and this is no exception. The intimate scenes steam up the windows a little more in this one, and as I say, the Nazi spy angle is central to this story, and adds a weightier, sinister shade to the proceedings. Also new in this novel are the chapters that deal with the killer's background and thinking process. These are handled reasonably well. All in all, this is superior work, and all honors to our consistently excellent Mr. Mills.
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