In Farleigh Field

Written by Rhys Bowen
Review by Kristina Blank Makansi

When a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death at Farleigh Place, the estate of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, questions are raised about the man’s lack of identification, his uniform, and his possessions. No one knows who he is, and none of the service branches can claim him, so MI5 assigns Ben Cresswell, a local boy and family friend who is secretly in love with Pamela Westerham, to discover the soldier’s identity. Ben welcomes the assignment as a chance to spend time near Pamela, but she has a secret of her own: she’s taken a job at Britain’s codebreaking facility. While Ben untangles a web of lies and spies, he discovers that people he knows and trusts may be working to betray everything and everyone he loves. Will he, with Pamela’s help, be able to stop the traitorous plot before it’s too late?

Although I hate to admit it, In Farleigh Field is the first Rhys Bowen book I’ve read. But it won’t be the last. This WWII thriller is a well-plotted and thoroughly entertaining read that kept me up way past my bedtime. With characters who are so fully fleshed out, you can imagine meeting them on the street—if you lived in war-torn Britain, that is—and descriptions of the setting are so realistic that I could practically breathe in the smells of the countryside. Indeed, I felt like every chapter was another scene from a BBC period drama. Recommended.