Olive Bright, Pigeoneer
1941, Hertfordshire: Olive Bright, home from veterinary college due to the war, helps her father with his veterinary practice and their stable of racing pigeons. Bright pigeons are fast, and Olive is eager for their birds to play a part in the war effort.
When Jameson Aldridge visits the Bright farm, Olive assumes he comes from the National Pigeon Service. However, Aldridge is from a covert intelligence organization, Baker Street. If Olive agrees to help by providing pigeons for their missions, she will have to lie to her family. Eager to play a part in the fight, she agrees and passes Jameson off as a suitor, despite her frequent exasperation with the man. The situation becomes more complicated when a local busybody is found dead, poisoned by refreshments at the village dance. Olive, a fan of Agatha Christie novels, investigates the death, aided at times by Jameson. Her local sleuthing may prove quite as dangerous as the secret operations the Baker Street agents undertake.
This novel is a promising start to a new mystery series. The English village setting, spunky heroine, and intriguing male interest provide plenty of appeal. It’s evident Graves has done her research in the pigeon department, and the use of these birds by Baker Street agents is firmly based on history. I learned a great deal about carrier and racing pigeons and their use in WWII. Olive Bright, Pigeoneer proves a most pleasant escape from the stresses of modern life; a WWII whodunit set in a bucolic English village, with some unusual twists.