The Armada Boy (Wesley Peterson Crime Novels)

Written by Kate Ellis
Review by Trudi E. Jacobson

Past and present again intertwine in the second of the Wesley Peterson crime novels (first up was The Merchant’s House), set near Tradmouth on the Devon coast. In 1588 an Armada ship, the San Miguel, separated from the rest of the Spanish fleet and was wrecked on the rocks off Bereton. Those sailors who survived faced a hostile reception by the town. Almost four hundred years later, Bereton was the location of another foreign invasion: Americans come to rehearse for the D-Day landings. Moving to the present, American veterans of that campaign have returned to Bereton to view the war memorial and to show their wives where they were stationed. One veteran is murdered in the ruins of a medieval chantry, long the favored site of courting couples, including the slain man when he was stationed in the area. The ripples caused by his death, along with the predictions of a local mystic, lead to solving not only the present-day crime, but also to the discovery and solution of crimes committed in 1588 and 1944.

Ellis is clever in the ways she uses the present to mirror the past. This is a very pleasant series that will particularly intrigue those interested in archaeology. While I found The Merchant’s House to be more engrossing due to the evocative descriptions of Tradmouth itself, I like the characters in this series and will continue to follow their adventures.