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Death's Door (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries) Hardcover – September 4, 2012


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Death's Door (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries) + A Blind Goddess (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries) + A Mortal Terror: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Series: Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; 1St Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616951850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616951856
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Death's Door

"Filled with action and adventure.... A fine novel with its foot firmly planted in reality."
—Ted Hertel, Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine

“James Benn has managed to not only write a first rate mystery, but also convey very accurately an era from history. Benn's Billy Boyle mysteries are always entertaining, filled with riveting characters, and beautifully plotted stories.... Benn's research is admirable and the expert way in which he uses this historical data to tell a riveting story is brilliant. The story has the feel of an old time adventure story, and Benn's marvelous dialogue brings the characters to life... I dare you not to read the other six novels. Historical mysteries just don't get any better than this.”
—Seattle Post-Intelligencer


“Benn’s nuanced portrayal of Vatican politics will keep readers turning the pages.”
Publishers Weekly

"Consistently entertaining."
WWII Magazine

"Benn has obviously done his research...In addition to series fans, this will appeal to readers who enjoy mysteries and thrillers with a dramatic setting such as the Second World War."
Library Journal

Praise for the Billy Boyle series

 
"This book has got it all—an instant classic."
Lee Child
 
"Stark and poignant."
Denver Post

"Terrific.... Razor sharp."
Joseph Finder

"What a great read, full of action, humor and heart."
Louise Penny

"If you like WWII mysteries, here is a must-have series." 
—Bookgasm  

About the Author

James R. Benn is the author of six previous books in the Billy Boyle series: Billy Boyle, The First Wave, Blood Alone, Evil for Evil , Rag & Bone, and A Mortal Terror. He was a librarian for many years. He lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.

More About the Author

Writing the Billy Boyle World War II mystery series (published by the wonderful folks at Soho Press) has brought me an immense amount of joy. I've gotten to meet people in person and online from all over the world and hear their reactions, feedback, and most importantly, their own stories.

In addition to the Billy Boyle series, two stand-alone books have been published by E-Reads. On Desperate Ground is a WWII thriller in the grand tradition of Jack Higgins, and Souvenir is an exploration of memory, identity, sorrow and loss during the lifetime of a veteran of the Second World War.

My idea for a historical mystery series set within the Allied High Command during the Second World War began with the first title, Billy Boyle, which takes place in England and Norway in 1942. The second, The First Wave, carries on a few months later during the Allied invasion of French Northwest Africa. The third, Blood Alone continues the story through the Allied invasion of Sicily. In the fourth installment, Evil For Evil, Billy Boyle voyages to his native Ireland. The fifth book in the series deals with the infamous Katyn Massacre of Polish Officers by the Soviets, and how the uncovering of that crime affected the war, especially Polish-Americans and the Poles in exile in England. It is titled Rag and Bone (from the Yeats poem).

Number six, titled A Mortal Terror, is set in southern Italy and within the Anzio Beachhead, where Billy tracks down the Red Heart Killer, who is targeting officers of increasingly senior rank. Mortal terror also refers to combat fatigue and the terrible effects of prolonged exposure to the not only combat but the rigors of winter in the mountains.

Death's Door (#7) takes Billy into occupied Rome, to investigate the murder of an American monsignor within the walls of the neutral Vatican City. In the 8th installment, A Blind Goddess, Billy is back in England prior to D-Day and working to clear a black GI of murder charges.

The Rest is Silence (#9) will be released on 9/2/14 and features the disaster surrounding Operation Tiger, a D-Day training event at Slapton Sands in southwest England that went terribly wrong. I am currently at work on the tenth Billy Boyle novel, which will take him to distant waters in the South Pacfic.

I live in Hadlyme, Connecticut, with my wife Deborah Mandel, a psychotherapist who offers many insights into the motivations of my characters, a good critical read, and much else. Our dog Ranger lives with us. We have two sons, Jeff and Ben, and seven grandchildren (Camille, Claudia, Emma, Luke, Nathaniel, Noah, Oliver).

I'm a graduate of the University of Connecticut and received my MLS degree from Southern Connecticut State University. I am a member of the Mystery Writers of America, and the Author's Guild. I worked in the library and information technology fields for over thirty-five years before retiring to work full-time.

I've learned two valuable lessons since I started writing which have helped me greatly. The first is a quote from Oscar Wilde, who said "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one's pants to a chair." The second is from novelist Rachel Basch, who told me "the story has to move down, as well as forward." Both sound simple. Neither is.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It's a series that I hope continues for a few more books.
Jill Meyer
DEATH'S DOOR, Mr. Benn's latest Billy Boyle WWII mystery is very good.
Rick Mitchell
Great characters and interesting plots make them a fun read.
Bookworm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Benn has returned with another excellent Billy Boyle mystery, "Death's Door". This novel, his 7th in the series - along with two stand-alones - has moved Lt Billy Boyle to Rome in early 1944. Italy was under German control: after the 1943 coup against Mussolini the Germans marched in and occupied the country. The Vatican, which was an independent city-state established in 1929 under the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini's Italian government - is set in the middle of Rome. Less than 110 acres in size, the wartime Vatican population was a combination of Catholic clergy and officials, as well as a large number of refugees. Living conditions were difficult as food and basic needs were stretched to supply the refugees and religious. And over it all hung the specter of a German take-over of the Vatican State if the precarious peace was not maintained by Vatican officials keeping a strictly "neutral" stand on world affairs.

Author Benn has done a marvelous job with his character, Billy, since he introduced him in the series' first book, "Billy Boyle". Benn has established an identity - Boston policeman, reluctantly serving his country in WW2, as the private "cop" of his uncle, General Dwight Eisenhower - for Billy Boyle, and his adventures in what seems to be the entire European Theater of Operations. And in "bringing along" Billy Boyle as a character, Benn has also expanded the reader's knowledge of the Second World War. This book, "Death's Door", is a very good look at the Vatican's role in WW2.

Benn's characters in "Death's Door" are both fictional - Billy and his companions, Kaz and Diana - and real. Actor Sterling Hayden turns up - as he did in reality - as an OSS-affiliated agent and several of the Vatican officials are actual historic figures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
DEATH'S DOOR, Mr. Benn's latest Billy Boyle WWII mystery is very good. Although knowing Billy and a few of the supporting cast is enhanced by the earlier books, this certainly can stand alone.

This time, Billy is sent to the Vatican to investigate a murder. Coincidentally, his lover, Ann Seton, has just been arrested and is being held by the Gestapo. Billy gets to the Vatican and is promptly thrust into the hamstringing of everyone trying to keep the See's neutrality. A white line - literally - is drawn by the Germans at the edge of the neutral territory. All the Catholic powers are short of breath worrying that any small step towards the Allies will bring the Germans in to put into "protective custody" and spirit him to Germany.

As usual, Mr. Benn's novel is as much as historical setting and background as it is mystery. Billy's crime solving often takes a backseat to the telling of the history - and that is a good thing.

This is a fine addition to the Billy Boyle series. It seems that Mr. Benn's writing and clarity of plot improves with every one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Loosemore on August 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Benn's previous novels I couldn't put down once I started reading. This one I keep getting distracted and putting off. I think it is that I don't believe in the story line and I don't believe the characters would choose to do what they are doing. Hope the next one is back to old form.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Harmon on March 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Benn continues to teach us some history of WWII through the adventures of Billy Boyle and his friends. Death's Door gives us a great mystery set in the confines of the Vatican.... one more must read from James R. Benn.
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Format: Paperback
James Benn has again done a wonderful job weaving the life of Billy Boyle right into the fabric of World War II during the Italian campaign of 1943-44!! Benn writes like your there going through the hell of that war yourself. Benn does a great job with his writing about the characters and the real-life events of the war, whether or not you know anything about the war or his characters. This is a great book #7 in this series and I can't wait to read #8 soon!!
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By Amazon Customer on July 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the Billy Boyle series can't wait for the next one in September!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bille meets up with his old nemesis Remke. Murder in the Vatican, and rescuing Billys ladylove Deanna make for a very interesting mystery and tale.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Again, I am so happy I read this book. As with all the others in this series, I have enjoyed it so much and hate to put it down to do other things. Great mystery writing!
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