The sequel to Bomber’s Moon finds Leslie Atwater living a quiet life with his cousin Caroline in an isolated village in the English countryside. With his lover Edward off again on assignment and his life circumstances forever altered by war, Leslie becomes restless and bored.
It is January 1941. U-boats patrol offshore and are a constant threat to British livelihood, as are the daily bombings in London. But Leslie is far from the action. In an effort to lighten his mood, Caroline drags him to a first aid workshop at the vicarage. There he meets and befriends an enigmatic woman named Evangeline Blake, who resembles one of Leslie’s favorite stage and film actresses.
Then disaster strikes, and Leslie, Edward, and Caroline must work together to discover the truth. Was it a tragic accident or premeditated murder?
When they were about to leave, Evangeline took Leslie aside. “You asked me a question earlier, and now I’ll answer it. You see, I get tired of listening to all the bad news on the wireless. All the talk of U boats offshore, threatening our livelihood, and the devastating news of the daily bombings in London. I’m afraid I also get a bit ... worried and frightened. I just have to come away and be with others.”
“I understand,” Leslie said. More than you could imagine.
She gave him what seemed a knowing glance, and he felt immediately drawn to the warmth in her deep green eyes. She opened her handbag and pulled out a book. “It’s called Before the Fact. Have you read it?”
“No, but I’ve heard of it.” Leslie remembered shelving the title at the Cozy Corner alongside some of the great mystery writers of the time -- Allingham, Christie, Sayers.
“A thriller written some time ago, but still quite good, I think,” she said. “I finished it this morning. Please take it. You might enjoy it.”
“I love to read,” Leslie said. “Used to work in a bookshop and read all the time, but I’m not really a mystery fan.”
“You should be. We Brits love our thrillers. I think you’d like this one. Please, for me, okay? I promise I haven’t steered you wrong.”
He hesitated and, before he could thank her for the offer, she held the book out to him. “For a rainy day then. Maybe we’ll meet again and you can give me your assessment. I don’t think I’m spoiling it for you, but it’s about a woman who’s convinced her husband’s going to kill her.”
“And does he?”
“Murder her? That would be telling. You’ll have to find out for yourself.”