Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis

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Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis

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Buy Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Book three in the series works reasonably well as a standalone and has a good twisty plot.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496/15h30m Date: July 2017
Publisher: London Wall Publishing
ISBN: 978-0995566705

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Whilst war is raging in Europe and France is occupied, there's something of a lull in Britain. Hitler needs the Luftwaffe for other duties and London is spared the nightly blitz, but no one's under any illusions that it could start again at any time. There's been a certain relaxation in sexual relationships though and illegal abortions are on the rise and not all of them go as they should. A young woman is found dead in a London hotel room as the result of a botched operation: she has no identification and no one knows who the father of the baby was, or who performed the operation.

This isn't DCI Frank Merlin's only case though: a French emigré has been shot dead in a seedy Notting Hill flat and an army officer returning as the only survivor of his unit from an operation in Crete has a letter from his commanding officer addressed to 'S...', but he doesn't know who should have it and he feels that it might be important. Merlin thinks that it should probably go to his solicitor, but his sister and his son might also be the intended recipients and there might be a lot of money at stake and not everyone involved is entirely honest.

It's a good twisty plot which neatly fuses fact and fiction: General de Gaulle makes cameo appearances although those who had to deal with him (including Churchill) might have called them otherwise. There's a real sense of this being a world war and there's a particularly good representation of the relationships between the Free French and Vichy France - with the Free French being in London, with whom they might as well be at war. Against this wide-screen backdrop normal life goes on, with all the usual criminal behaviour. Merlin's personal life seems good: there's still some grief for the loss of his wife some years ago, but he's now living with Sonia and he can't quite get over the fact that such a beautiful woman could love him.

The plot's good and twisty and whilst it might help to know some of the various characters' backgrounds the book could be read as a standalone. There's little to stop you going back to read the first two books in the series at a later date: whilst you might know a little about how relationships work out there's nothing else that would spoil your enjoyment of the earlier books if you read them out of order.

I listened to audio download of the first two Frank Merlin books: time didn't permit me to do that this time but an audio recording of Merlin at War is available and it's narrated by my favourite narrator, Matt Addis. His range of voices is the best I've ever encountered and I've no hesitation in recommending the audio version unseen, as it were!

If you would prefer to read the Frank Merlin book in order you'll find the list here:

Mark Ellis's DCI Frank Merlin novels in chronological order

Buy Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Merlin at War: A DCI Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon.com.

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