“A message from Arthur,” Mimi said. “He wants us to steal a set of plans from a factory and blow up the building.”
“Who owns the factory?” Guy asked.
“Auguste Maingard,” Mimi said.
“And what does the factory produce?” I asked.
“It’s a scientific establishment,” Mimi said. “It’s developing a frequency-hopping guided missile system. Naturally, the Nazis are aware of this work and intend to exploit the invention.”
“So,” I said, “we steal the guidance system from Maingard and the Nazis.”
“That’s right,” Mimi said.
“And if we fail?” I frowned.
“If we fail,” Mimi said, “Arthur will send in the bombers and raze the factory to the ground.”
“That would mean the loss of many innocent lives,” Guy said. He stared into the middle-distance, grim-faced. “We can’t allow that. We can’t afford to fail.”
There was a determination on Guy’s face, a passion in his voice that demanded success. Obviously, a new missile guidance system was important, but Guy’s look and tone suggested that this operation went beyond the machinations of war. For some reason, it was personal.
Eve, Guy and Mimi have assumed their new identities in France and are going about the business of obtaining information, sending coded messages, and training up the Maquis for future acts of sabotage against the Nazi regime.
Guy is revelling in his findings as an archaeologist and Mimi is proving very adept as a nurse, while Eve – aka Genevieve – is playing the mourning widow with a penchant for sketching all too well. The trio’s bond is even tighter now, and there are hints of further closeness to come between Eve and Guy. Unfortunately, this time Eve has to contend with an amorous and immensely arrogant German Officer on a date she cannot turn down. Can she handle him? Of course she can – for now, at least.
Mimi celebrates her 21st birthday and is overwhelmed by gifts and a party, although she is seriously missing – and worried about – her fiancé, Henri.
Relations with the Maquis are fraught as they are keen to show their “muscle” against the Nazis, but their leader does not like “taking orders” from a woman; patience is waning and they want to strike quickly. However, the risk of moving too fast, or being disunited, comes with consequences. In the heat of war, success relies on keeping a cool head. The tension is mounting and the team have to think on their feet when things take a wrong turn regarding a mission to sabotage Nazi plans. They’re forced to act, and Mimi has to come to Eve’s rescue. In doing so, she carries out her first kill, but is the pressure getting to her now?
This story sees both Mimi and Eve hanker after happier times; Mimi longs to be with Henri and Eve thinks about her family in Wales, sending a letter to her brother before challenging Guy on his motives for joining the SOE.
This story is short in length but goes a great way in grounding the reader in the French countryside, understanding the dangers faced by the civilians who are helping them, and in showing the arrogance of the German officers who still believe they can and will win this war.
As always, elements of the story are based on real events as experienced by female SOE operatives, and the author includes snippets about them at the end.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be rushing to read Operation Sherlock, the next in the series. I can’t wait!
About the Author
Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series, The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga, Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE and Saving Grace. Hannah’s books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into numerous languages.
Currently, Hannah is writing Stormy Weather, book eighteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. She is also researching material for future Sam Smith books along with material for a Victorian novel set in 1888, a novel set in 1948, a novel set in Bulgaria during the Second World War and A Schoolteacher’s War, a story about the French Resistance and the preparations for D-Day. Along with these projects, Hannah is also writing The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga and Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE.