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    THE ARMADA BOY by Kate Ellis


    Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Minotaur, July 2000

    An American World War II veteran is killed while visiting England and Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson is called to solve the crime. There are plenty of obvious suspects--the victim's wife who seems more interested in finding someone else than in mourning her husband, the victim's grandson (by a wartime love), or even the mysterious panhandler. Wesley can't rule any of them out, but senses something is missing. A psychics advice that they should consult the long-dead and legendary 'Armada Boy,' the victim of British brutality after he escaped the wreck of the Spanish Armada, scarcely seems to help.

    Peterson and the South Hams police department continue the investigation and uncovering long buried secrets. There had been wartime resentment between the American soldiers and the local families. One American had been accused of rape, another of murder, yet the U.S. military had done nothing. Could the killing have been simple revenge? If so, by whom?

    THE ARMADA BOY provides a wonderful description of small town British life. Kate Ellis (see more reviews of novels by Ellis) provides each character with a full back story, making them sympathetic and realistic. Peterson investigates, peeling away one level of complexity only to find another underneath. At the same time, an archeology team is investigating the remains of a Spanish Armada ship that washed up on the Devon shore and the fate of her sailors. Could the psychic be right in postulating some relationship between the ancient Armada and the modern mystery?

    Four Stars

    Purchase THE ARMADA BOY from (available in hardback).