The Ghosts of Paris by Tara Moss
A thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in postwar London and Paris, in which a search for a missing husband puts investigator and former war reporter Billie Walker on a collision course with an underground network of Nazi criminals. (From the publisher.)
The second book in the Billie Walker mystery series, The Ghosts of Paris is a slow-burn, historical mystery with a delightful cast of characters!
One of my favorite aspects to this story is the worldbuilding. Moss does an exquisite job of setting the scene. The paragraphs were full of well-researched historical facts and details that truly transported me back to the past. I also went into this book blind. Given the title, I was not expecting it to be partly set in Australia, so that was a fun surprise! The female, Australian detective and wonderful cast of characters who partner with her, gave me all the Phryne Fisher vibes (another favorite detective of mine) and I adored that.
And speaking of the cast of characters, there were so many memorable ones! Billie is a dazzling detective who is clever, resourceful, and fierce. Her assistant Sam is a great counterpoint for her and their professional interactions were great. (I wasn’t fully satisfied with their arc, but can understand the motivation behind it.) And I also loved, loved, loved the character of Shyla. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of her in the future too!
However, perhaps because of the amount of detail and setting, the pacing itself was slower than expected. The action didn’t pick up until at least halfway, and the characters were what kept me going. I did, however, really enjoy the secondary storyline involving Billie’s missing husband, Jack. The flashbacks and her personal history were really intriguing — moreso, perhaps, than even the original mystery she set out to solve.
Overall, this was a fun character-based mystery. Although this can be read as a standalone, I would suggest starting with The War Widow first. There were a lot of references within this book to past events, people, and history. While I was still able to follow everything, given the choice, I would obviously recommend starting the series in order.
Readers who love historical mysteries with a strong, female detective.
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. ARC provided courtesy of the publisher, Harper Collins Canada. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the book:
(From the publisher) It’s 1947. The world continues to grapple with the fallout of the Second World War, and former war reporter Billie Walker is finding her feet as an investigator. When a wealthy client hires Billie and her assistant Sam to track down her missing husband, the trail leads Billie back to London and Paris, where Billie’s own painful memories also lurk. Jack Rake, Billie’s wartime lover and, briefly, husband, is just one of the millions of people who went missing in Europe during the war. What was his fate after they left Paris together?
As Billie’s search for her client’s husband takes her to both the swanky bars at Paris’s famous Ritz hotel and to the dank basements of the infamous Paris morgue, she’ll need to keep her gun at the ready, because something even more terrible than a few painful memories might be following her around the city of lights . . .