I’ve written before about how much I like the mystery novels of Sally Wright. Her detective, Ben Reese, is a university archivist and tenured faculty member, so he gets sabbaticals for travel, study and (surprise) solving mysteries. The stories are set in the early 1960s.
In Watches of the Night, a patient and doctor with connections to the same hospital in Britain die. One appears a suicide, the other a hiking accident. But the doctor has left behind a letter. And Reese is eventually drawn into it by his friend (and possible love interest) Kate Lindsay, only to find that he’s confronting ghosts from his experiences in World War II. At the same time, he’s battling political intrigue at the university, with his president aiming to get him fired.
The action moves from England and Scotland to Ohio and Kentucky, and finally to Italy. And it is in Italy that Reese will meet his war ghosts and embrace love.
Wright produces (notice I didn’t say Wright writes) beautifully crafted stories, and Watches of the Night is no exception. And the reader doesn’t get only a good mystery story. Along the way, you learn things, and sitting in on academic lectures about preservation and conservation techniques.
But it is the character of Ben Reese that’s the main attraction. Modeled on an actual friend of the author’s, her detective is a man of integrity and a quiet faith. This story includes details of his war experiences and serious injuries, as well as his extensive recuperation afterward.
Watches of the Night is a great and entertaining read.
(I did not receive this book from the publisher. It was a Christmas present from my wife.)