Hot Best Seller

The War Widow

Availability: Ready to download

The war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker's search for a missing young immigrant man will plunge her right back into the danger and drama she thought she'd left behind in Europe in this thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous postwar Sydney. Sydney, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, for her the heady The war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker's search for a missing young immigrant man will plunge her right back into the danger and drama she thought she'd left behind in Europe in this thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous postwar Sydney. Sydney, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, for her the heady postwar days are tarnished by the loss of her father and the disappearance in Europe of her husband, Jack. To make matters worse, now that the war is over, the newspapers are sidelining her reporting talents to prioritize jobs for returning soldiers. But Billie is a survivor and she's determined to take control of her own future. So she reopens her late father's business, a private investigation agency, and, slowly, the women of Sydney come knocking. At first, Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating husbands. Then, a young man, the son of European immigrants, goes missing, and Billie finds herself on a dangerous new trail that will lead up into the highest levels of Sydney society and down into its underworld. What is the young man's connection to an exclusive dance club and a high class auction house? When the people Billie questions about the young man start to turn up dead, Billie is thrown into the path of Detective Inspector Hank Cooper. Will he take her seriously or will he just get in her way? As the danger mounts and Billie realizes that much more than one young man's life is at stake, it becomes clear that though the war was won, it is far from over.


Compare

The war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker's search for a missing young immigrant man will plunge her right back into the danger and drama she thought she'd left behind in Europe in this thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous postwar Sydney. Sydney, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, for her the heady The war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker's search for a missing young immigrant man will plunge her right back into the danger and drama she thought she'd left behind in Europe in this thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous postwar Sydney. Sydney, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, for her the heady postwar days are tarnished by the loss of her father and the disappearance in Europe of her husband, Jack. To make matters worse, now that the war is over, the newspapers are sidelining her reporting talents to prioritize jobs for returning soldiers. But Billie is a survivor and she's determined to take control of her own future. So she reopens her late father's business, a private investigation agency, and, slowly, the women of Sydney come knocking. At first, Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating husbands. Then, a young man, the son of European immigrants, goes missing, and Billie finds herself on a dangerous new trail that will lead up into the highest levels of Sydney society and down into its underworld. What is the young man's connection to an exclusive dance club and a high class auction house? When the people Billie questions about the young man start to turn up dead, Billie is thrown into the path of Detective Inspector Hank Cooper. Will he take her seriously or will he just get in her way? As the danger mounts and Billie realizes that much more than one young man's life is at stake, it becomes clear that though the war was won, it is far from over.

30 review for The War Widow

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    "You need to face facts, Billie. You are a war widow." Smart, Strong and full of gumption, Billie Walker is a former journalist, now a private inquiry agent (P.I.), working in 1946 Sydney. Her father is gone and her husband, Jack is missing in Europe. But Billie is tough, she is a survivor and runs her deceased father's private investigation agency/business. The women of Sydney keep her busy investigation cheating spouses, but one day a woman appears and tells Billie that her son is missing a "You need to face facts, Billie. You are a war widow." Smart, Strong and full of gumption, Billie Walker is a former journalist, now a private inquiry agent (P.I.), working in 1946 Sydney. Her father is gone and her husband, Jack is missing in Europe. But Billie is tough, she is a survivor and runs her deceased father's private investigation agency/business. The women of Sydney keep her busy investigation cheating spouses, but one day a woman appears and tells Billie that her son is missing and that none of his friends have seen him. Billie and her assistant, Sam investigate the teenager's disappearance, and soon find that his disappearance is not as innocent as they first assumed it out be. The search for him leads them into the world of gangsters and treacherous individuals. Just how dangerous is this missing person's case? How much danger will Billie be in? Will Billie and Sam be able to find the teen? Will they make it out alive? This book had an old feel to it for me. That is a compliment, btw as this book is set in 1946. Tara Moss did a great job with her setting and writing for that time period. I felt as if this book could have been written in the 40's. Again, a compliment. I enjoyed Billie's character. She was both tough, stylish, strong, brave, and vulnerable all at the same time. She had a lot of on her plate - her own husband has been missing for quite some time, she is supporting herself and mainly working in a field which had very few females working in it. She is determined, and headstrong. She knows how to investigate and has learned how to get information out of people. But will that be enough to solve her current case? This is the first book in a promising new series. I found this book to be well written, well researched and engaging. Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series. This was my first book by this Aussie author and I can honestly say it won’t be my last. Right from the beginning of this book I was engrossed and intrigued so much so I didn’t want to put it down. I simply needed to know what would happen next. If you enjoy reading books that grab your attention and has you turning the pages quickly, then this book is for you. This book was not only a wonderfully intriguing read Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series. This was my first book by this Aussie author and I can honestly say it won’t be my last. Right from the beginning of this book I was engrossed and intrigued so much so I didn’t want to put it down. I simply needed to know what would happen next. If you enjoy reading books that grab your attention and has you turning the pages quickly, then this book is for you. This book was not only a wonderfully intriguing read, but the research that would’ve gone into this book really stands out. A cracking start to what looks like is going to be an outstanding series. Highly recommended. With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my digital copy to read and review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    1946, post-war Sydney and Billie Walker has come home to take over her father's PI business after her death. Prior to that she worked with her photojournalist husband in warn torn Europe but he disappeared after she left to return to Sydney and is presumed dead. With most women leaving their war time jobs to allow returning servicemen to work, she's considered a curiosity, particularly in a career with few women at the helm. But Billie with her 'Fighting Red' lipstick, elegant clothes and little 1946, post-war Sydney and Billie Walker has come home to take over her father's PI business after her death. Prior to that she worked with her photojournalist husband in warn torn Europe but he disappeared after she left to return to Sydney and is presumed dead. With most women leaving their war time jobs to allow returning servicemen to work, she's considered a curiosity, particularly in a career with few women at the helm. But Billie with her 'Fighting Red' lipstick, elegant clothes and little pearl handled gun strapped to her thigh is well equipped for the job. She also has her male assistant Sam, a returned serviceman to help when needed. Most of Billie's business has been divorce cases but things get a bit more exciting when a women hires her to find her missing 17 year old son. Hot on his trail, she soon finds he's stumbled into something very dangerous indeed and wonders if she will find him alive. In Billie Walker, Tara Moss has created a terrific feisty, cool-headed, sexy lady PI who I trust we'll see a lot more of in the future. With a few nods to the Golden age of detective fiction, this is more than a cosy crime with some very serious crimes and criminals involved. The author's meticulous research into how people behaved and places looked and felt during the 1940s gives them the ring of authenticity, with the action occuring at several sites in Sydney and the Blue Mountains with detailed descriptions of landmarks and buildings that those familiar with Sydney will recognise. Recommended for all those who enjoy a good historical mystery. 4.5★ With many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for a digital Arc to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Dead Man Switch is written in Tara Moss's typical style (why use just one adjective when you can use two or even three) and with a main character who seems to be really Makkede Vanderwall set in a different time period. However I can overlook all of that because the story is great, Billie turns out to be a fantastic character and, after a slowish start, the book really romps home. I loved the setting of Sydney and its surrounds. I had high tea recently myself at the Hydro Majestic which I can say Dead Man Switch is written in Tara Moss's typical style (why use just one adjective when you can use two or even three) and with a main character who seems to be really Makkede Vanderwall set in a different time period. However I can overlook all of that because the story is great, Billie turns out to be a fantastic character and, after a slowish start, the book really romps home. I loved the setting of Sydney and its surrounds. I had high tea recently myself at the Hydro Majestic which I can say has been beautifully restored and has the most magnificent views. I agree with Billie that the champagne is good too. Billie and Sam made a good team and I wondered if he was going to be the romantic male lead. Or will it be the policeman? Or will her husband come back? Altogether it turned out to be a very entertaining read with lots of promise for future books in the series. My thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Being a massive fan of Tara Moss' previous series - Mak Vanderwall and Pandora English - I jumped at the chance to read the first book in a new crime series. Dead Man Switch did not disappoint. In fact I stayed up way past my bedtime last night to finish it. It is a book that I could not put down. Billie Walker is a fantastic new character and I look forward to spending more time getting to know her in the future. This is a crime series with a difference for me. Set in Sydney in 1946 after the wa Being a massive fan of Tara Moss' previous series - Mak Vanderwall and Pandora English - I jumped at the chance to read the first book in a new crime series. Dead Man Switch did not disappoint. In fact I stayed up way past my bedtime last night to finish it. It is a book that I could not put down. Billie Walker is a fantastic new character and I look forward to spending more time getting to know her in the future. This is a crime series with a difference for me. Set in Sydney in 1946 after the war - Billie Walker returned from being a reporter in Europe when her father was ill. She has re-opened his private investigation firm and is working to help the people of Sydney. Mostly she is dealing with cheating spouses but a new case has just landed on her desk. A distraught mother wants Billie to find her missing teenage son. Along with her trusty assistant Sam they start looking into the boys last known movements. This leads them down a dark path dealing with the city's most dangerous people. How did a young boy get caught up in Sydney's underworld and where is he? As well as this Billie has been asked to help a friend who believes members of her family are in danger from a man in the Blue Mountains. It is all go for Billie. Whilst reading this book I had a very clear picture of Billie's world in 1946 Sydney. Tara Moss' research has created a scene that you find yourself immersed in. Being a Sydney girl myself I could see the areas Billie and Sam were working in - trying to picture in a few decades ago of course. The buildings, the fashion, the attitudes of people, it was all there. Billie has her fans but at the same time she is a working woman in an era when this is still frowned on. Not only that but she is doing a man's job in many peoples eyes. Billie and Sam are both intriguing characters. Both have returned from the war scarred in more ways than one. There is still so much more to their stories. Billie married Jack, a photo journalist during the war but he is missing. She is still holding onto hope that he will return to her. I hope that we will learn more about Jack and what has happened to him in future books. Billie herself is a strong, feisty, very attractive and determined young lady. She has to be to work in the world that she does. She does not take no for an answer and can't leave things alone. She needs to find out why and how. I love this about her, although it can get her into trouble. So in case you hadn't realised yet I absolutely loved this book! I highly recommend it to all crime readers, historical fiction readers will also love the step back in time. Thanks so much to Better Reading Australia and Harper Collins Australia for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Move over Frankie Drake, there is a new female PI on the scene and she is determined to make a name for herself in Sydney after the second world war. Smart, sexy and with a wicked sense of humour to boot Billie Walker is a lady who demands attention and relishes working in a man's world. her latest case, finding a teenage boy, seems on paper to be fairly straight forward but unlike tailing cheating spouses prooves much more complicated and dangerous. With the assistance of her colleague Sam, she Move over Frankie Drake, there is a new female PI on the scene and she is determined to make a name for herself in Sydney after the second world war. Smart, sexy and with a wicked sense of humour to boot Billie Walker is a lady who demands attention and relishes working in a man's world. her latest case, finding a teenage boy, seems on paper to be fairly straight forward but unlike tailing cheating spouses prooves much more complicated and dangerous. With the assistance of her colleague Sam, she will encounter Nazis living in Australia trying to profit off the stolen wealth of those sent to death camps. These are men who will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure they remain undetected and don't take to kindly to a young PI snooping around in their business. For Billie and Sam, it will take all their street smarts to find the boy and unravel the forces they are up against. It is great to see Tara Moss back in the fiction game after her Makedde Vanderwall PI series. Just like her predecessor Billie holds her own no matter the situation and she does it with elegance and class. Fast-paced and not out of place in today's modern world this is a great introduction to what I hope will be a long and successful series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    4.5★s Set in 1946 as people were recovering from the war years, this historical mystery is the first in the Billie Walker Mystery series by Aussie author Tara Moss. Dead Man Switch is intriguing, fast paced and refreshingly different with Billie a Private Inquiry Agent located in Sydney at her late father’s detective agency. Billie’s assistant, Sam Baker, an ex-soldier, was reliable and completely trustworthy and when the case of a missing seventeen-year-old was presented to them, Billie had no i 4.5★s Set in 1946 as people were recovering from the war years, this historical mystery is the first in the Billie Walker Mystery series by Aussie author Tara Moss. Dead Man Switch is intriguing, fast paced and refreshingly different with Billie a Private Inquiry Agent located in Sydney at her late father’s detective agency. Billie’s assistant, Sam Baker, an ex-soldier, was reliable and completely trustworthy and when the case of a missing seventeen-year-old was presented to them, Billie had no idea the mere search for a teen would lead them into so much danger. When the first body was discovered and Billie had to involve the police, she spoke to Detective Inspector Cooper. But would he believe her? The police didn’t often see eye to eye with private agents. Would they find the young teen alive? Or was it already too late? And what were the other sinister events happening in the background? After reading and enjoying the Makedde Vanderwall series by Tara Moss, I was excited to see Dead Man Switch due for release and have no hesitation in recommending it highly, while already looking forward to the 2nd in the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    Thanks to Penguin Group/Dutton and Net Galley for providing me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. For her 11th novel, Canadian/Australian author Tara Moss, starts a new mystery series which focuses on Billie Walker. Billie is a female Investigation Agent in Sydney, Australia, and this book is set shortly after the end of World War 2. She is an anomaly because it appears she is the only female Investigation Agent in Sydney. Luckily for Billie, her dad had been a policem Thanks to Penguin Group/Dutton and Net Galley for providing me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. For her 11th novel, Canadian/Australian author Tara Moss, starts a new mystery series which focuses on Billie Walker. Billie is a female Investigation Agent in Sydney, Australia, and this book is set shortly after the end of World War 2. She is an anomaly because it appears she is the only female Investigation Agent in Sydney. Luckily for Billie, her dad had been a policeman and then quit to open this agency, and after his death Billie takes over the business. There is a lot going on in this book, in addition to having us get acquainted with all the supporting characters, including her male secretary (a wounded war veteran), her mother and mother’s maid, and a reluctant but decent police detective. All of these characters play a big part in her case of trying to find a young man who has disappeared. It might seem to be a case that will be easy to resolve, but the deeper Billie gets into the investigation there are more layers to this case than first meet the eye. As a side case, Billie is friends with an aboriginal girl named Shyla and we learn how the aboriginals were treated at that time – being torn apart from their families and placed in schools where they are taught how to be domestic servants for wealthy Australian families. Shyla’s friends, however, were placed at a location far from Sydney, kept incommunicado, and fearing for their safety Shyla asks Billie’s help in locating them. The action takes place in a little over a week, as Billie pursues leads at a local Dance Club, a high class auction house and even travels over three hours away to the famed Blue Mountains of Australia. The action and adventure never stops, as Billie seems to go from the frying pan into the fire, literally, as she exposes the truth behind both the disappearance of the young man, as well as the missing aboriginal girls. What also makes this book so different from others is its setting. So many books on World War 2 and its aftermath are set in Europe or America, and it is absolutely refreshing to see a novel, such as this, set in Australia which has been overlooked for decades as a site of fallout from that war. Billie, herself, was a journalist during the war and covered events in Germany and Austria, and while there she fell in love and married a photographer who he was taken captive. Billie has no idea if he is dead or alive, thus her mother declares Billie a “War Widow” like so many other women in Australia and throughout the world whose husbands either are MIA or killed and whose bodies are never identified. It is a difficult world for these ladies, and Billie Walker is a struggling survivor who seems destined to take us on many more adventures and mysteries. Bottom Line: For fans of Tara Moss, Billie Walker is a wonderful new character and takes us through both some history and mysteries in the overlooked setting of Australia. This review was previously published at www.mysteryandsuspense.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    “’He looks a lot more like a body rolled in a rug than I was hoping.’ Ella observed quietly as she and Alma inspected their handiwork. ‘Let's hope we don't run into any neighbours or the next tenant meeting will be hell.’” Dead Man Switch is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series by award-winning Australian/Canadian author, Tara Moss. It’s 1946 in Sydney, and the climate favours returned servicemen in jobs while the women who filled those roles during the war are relegated to domestic “’He looks a lot more like a body rolled in a rug than I was hoping.’ Ella observed quietly as she and Alma inspected their handiwork. ‘Let's hope we don't run into any neighbours or the next tenant meeting will be hell.’” Dead Man Switch is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series by award-winning Australian/Canadian author, Tara Moss. It’s 1946 in Sydney, and the climate favours returned servicemen in jobs while the women who filled those roles during the war are relegated to domestic duties. Formerly a war journalist, Billie Walker’s current profession is already seen as a masculine one, so she’s going emphatically against the grain by running her deceased father’s private inquiry business. But there’s a call for female investigative agents: obtaining evidence to allow wives to divorce errant husbands makes up the majority of her work, but Mrs Netanya Brown has come about her missing seventeen-year-old son, Adin. “A good boy”, she insists. Billie intuitively knows there’s something not being said, but a near empty work agenda means she can hardly be choosy. She takes the case. Meanwhile, her confidential informant asks her to look into the welfare of four young women from her mob who have been assigned to work for a man in the lower Blue Mountains. And just why is Vincenzo Moretti, a PI with a grudge against the late Barry Walker, watching her flat? Moss gives the reader a fast-paced plot filled with intrigue, some nasty villains and a heart-thumping climax. With mentions of fashion, petrol rationing, disfigured veterans, social attitudes and the scarcity of certain commodities, Moss easily evokes the era and ambience of immediate post-war Sydney. Billie is feisty and determined, and manages to hold her own, although she does end up ruining several frocks and quite a lot of (difficult to come by) stockings. Luckily, she’s a dab hand with a sewing machine as well as a lockpick and her little Colt 908. Moss gives Billie a marvellous support cast, with a hint of sexual tension between Billie and two of the male characters and occasional moments of dark humour. Some background matters remain unresolved, no doubt to be addressed in later books. Certainly, more of this excellent post-war Aussie noir series will be most welcome. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Harper Collins Australia.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natalie M

    4.5⭐️ A well-researched and expertly written new series by Australian-Canadian author Tara Moss. A strong female protagonist (Billie Walker) is working as a an inquiry agent (Private Investigator) in Post-World War II Sydney. The excellent research translates into an authentic character and interesting setting. However, I found the highlight of this novel to be the plot. A very clever and novel approach to themes, context and history; means this book deals with issues (spoiler if I said which one 4.5⭐️ A well-researched and expertly written new series by Australian-Canadian author Tara Moss. A strong female protagonist (Billie Walker) is working as a an inquiry agent (Private Investigator) in Post-World War II Sydney. The excellent research translates into an authentic character and interesting setting. However, I found the highlight of this novel to be the plot. A very clever and novel approach to themes, context and history; means this book deals with issues (spoiler if I said which ones) in a complex but original way.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lollita

    Was okay, just not much happened till the last 50 pages and I just wasnt that into it by that point.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss introduces Billie Walker, an ex war correspondent now working as a private investigator in post-war Sydney, Australia. Still grieving the absence of her photojournalist husband who is missing Europe, Billie Walker has reopened her late father’s private detective agency to support herself and her mother. As a woman in what is considered a man’s world, work has been slow, but a missing persons case is about to change all that. With her 'Fighting Red' lipstick, elegant at Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss introduces Billie Walker, an ex war correspondent now working as a private investigator in post-war Sydney, Australia. Still grieving the absence of her photojournalist husband who is missing Europe, Billie Walker has reopened her late father’s private detective agency to support herself and her mother. As a woman in what is considered a man’s world, work has been slow, but a missing persons case is about to change all that. With her 'Fighting Red' lipstick, elegant attire, and a pearl handled Colt strapped to her thigh, Billie is an appealing lead character. Feisty, clever and resourceful, she is a dogged investigator who doesn’t shy away from the more unseemly aspects of the job, and proves she can hold her own when threatened. Billie is ably assisted by Sam, a returned serviceman who acts as her secretary, among other things. Young and handsome, he sports some scars from his time at war, and admires his employer. Though I felt Dead Man Switch got off to somewhat of a slow start, I soon found myself caught up in the intrigue. The mystery of the missing teenager is well plotted, taking unexpected turns, colliding with murder, theft, war crimes, and a personal vendetta. There are scenes of exciting action, including a street brawl, a gun fight, and a car chase, along with tense moments of confrontation. Moss deftly evokes post war NSW, moving between the inner city and the Blue Mountains. Set in 1946, the author incorporates the social issues of the day including rationing, sexism, and racism. I am really looking forward to reading more mysteries featuring Billie Walker, Dead Man Switch is an entertaining and thrilling read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Every now and then, I really love a good PI story, and the combination of plucky female protagonist and historical setting in post-war Sydney made this one an irresistible temptation for me! As we got introduced to Billie Walker, I got definite Kinsey Millhone vibes here (from Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series) – an independent smart woman protagonist in a man’s world, investigating the “old fashioned” way, without the help of internet or databases and the like. I’ve read a few of Moss’ novels and l Every now and then, I really love a good PI story, and the combination of plucky female protagonist and historical setting in post-war Sydney made this one an irresistible temptation for me! As we got introduced to Billie Walker, I got definite Kinsey Millhone vibes here (from Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series) – an independent smart woman protagonist in a man’s world, investigating the “old fashioned” way, without the help of internet or databases and the like. I’ve read a few of Moss’ novels and like her writing style, which beautifully brought post-war Sydney to life for me. That I couldn’t fully connect to Billie is probably a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, and seeing that this is the first of the series, a bond may yet develop later. At times I just felt that Billie’s role as independent PI did not quite gel with the general role of women at the time, a struggle that she may well have overcome but which did not really shine through for me. Perhaps I would have found it more credible had we learnt more about her humble beginnings working for her father (or someone else), than emerging as a fully fledged emancipated woman who just didn’t quite match my impression of the post-war era woman for me. As it was, I found it difficult to get into her head and to understand what motivated her to act the way she did. Saying that, if you like a good detective story with some old fashioned sleuthing and following the clues to get to the answer at the same time the main character does (without the killer twist you will never see coming), then this is the sort of book that should be on your reading list. Post-war Sydney makes a great backdrop against a colourful cast of characters who complimented Billie’s quest to find a missing seventeen-year-old boy. All in all, whilst I did not fully connect to the main character here, I am intrigued by this new series, especially its post-war Sydney setting, which will see me coming back for further instalments in future. Moss writes well and I look forward to Billie Walker’s next case in the hope she will grow on me just like Kinsey did all those years ago. Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins Australia for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur (Ms. G's Bookshelf)

    Dead Man Switch Murder, mystery and suspense with a stylish detective It’s Sydney Australia, 1946 and Billie Walker is a Private Inquiry Agent in a predominantly male business, she carries a Colt 1908 pocket semi-automatic with mother of pearl grips (a gift from her mother) hidden in her garter. She's attractive, smart, fearless and has an attachment for her favourite shade of lipstick 'Fighting Red’. Billie employs a male secretary/assistant Sam who is easy on the eye and injured from the war. Pre Dead Man Switch Murder, mystery and suspense with a stylish detective It’s Sydney Australia, 1946 and Billie Walker is a Private Inquiry Agent in a predominantly male business, she carries a Colt 1908 pocket semi-automatic with mother of pearl grips (a gift from her mother) hidden in her garter. She's attractive, smart, fearless and has an attachment for her favourite shade of lipstick 'Fighting Red’. Billie employs a male secretary/assistant Sam who is easy on the eye and injured from the war. Previously Billy was a reporter chasing Nazi activity across Europe but came home to Australia after her father died to take over his agency. She is a widow to Jack, a photojournalist who went missing during WW11 while also in Europe and is presumed dead. Billie’s main cases are domestic, tailing cheating husbands etc. but her latest case has become more interesting, a seventeen year old boy Adin has gone missing and there are shady characters and Sydney's underworld involved. I really admired Billie’s character. An enjoyable, tense and entertaining read. Thank you to Better Reading for the advanced reading copy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    Thanks to Penguin Group/Dutton and Net Galley for providing me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. For her 11th novel, Canadian/Australian author Tara Moss, starts a new mystery series which focuses on Billie Walker. Billie is a female Investigation Agent in Sydney, Australia, and this book is set shortly after the end of World War 2. She is an anomaly because it appears she is the only female Investigation Agent in Sydney. Luckily for Billie, her dad had been a policem Thanks to Penguin Group/Dutton and Net Galley for providing me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. For her 11th novel, Canadian/Australian author Tara Moss, starts a new mystery series which focuses on Billie Walker. Billie is a female Investigation Agent in Sydney, Australia, and this book is set shortly after the end of World War 2. She is an anomaly because it appears she is the only female Investigation Agent in Sydney. Luckily for Billie, her dad had been a policeman and then quit to open this agency, and after his death Billie takes over the business. There is a lot going on in this book, in addition to having us get acquainted with all the supporting characters, including her male secretary (a wounded war veteran), her mother and mother’s maid, and a reluctant but decent police detective. All of these characters play a big part in her case of trying to find a young man who has disappeared. It might seem to be a case that will be easy to resolve, but the deeper Billie gets into the investigation there are more layers to this case than first meet the eye. As a side case, Billie is friends with an aboriginal girl named Shyla and we learn how the aboriginals were treated at that time – being torn apart from their families and placed in schools where they are taught how to be domestic servants for wealthy Australian families. Shyla’s friends, however, were placed at a location far from Sydney, kept incommunicado, and fearing for their safety Shyla asks Billie’s help in locating them. The action takes place in a little over a week, as Billie pursues leads at a local Dance Club, a high class auction house and even travels over three hours away to the famed Blue Mountains of Australia. The action and adventure never stops, as Billie seems to go from the frying pan into the fire, literally, as she exposes the truth behind both the disappearance of the young man, as well as the missing aboriginal girls. What also makes this book so different from others is its setting. So many books on World War 2 and its aftermath are set in Europe or America, and it is absolutely refreshing to see a novel, such as this, set in Australia which has been overlooked for decades as a site of fallout from that war. Billie, herself, was a journalist during the war and covered events in Germany and Austria, and while there she fell in love and married a photographer who he was taken captive. Billie has no idea if he is dead or alive, thus her mother declares Billie a “War Widow” like so many other women in Australia and throughout the world whose husbands either are MIA or killed and whose bodies are never identified. It is a difficult world for these ladies, and Billie Walker is a struggling survivor who seems destined to take us on many more adventures and mysteries. Bottom Line: For fans of Tara Moss, Billie Walker is a wonderful new character and takes us through both some history and mysteries in the overlooked setting of Australia. This review was previously published at www.mysteryandsuspense.com

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joss

    A Billie Walker #1 Mystery. This book was a romp through post war Sydney's steamier parts. Billie Walker, recently returned from Europe, where she worked as a journalist, takes over her late father's Detective Agency. Nothing deters this lady as long as she has the right shade of lipstick, Fighting Red. However Fighting Red is on its way out and so will Billie be if she doesn't get some private detection work pretty soon. While divorce cases pay for most of her needs, Billie longs for some seriou A Billie Walker #1 Mystery. This book was a romp through post war Sydney's steamier parts. Billie Walker, recently returned from Europe, where she worked as a journalist, takes over her late father's Detective Agency. Nothing deters this lady as long as she has the right shade of lipstick, Fighting Red. However Fighting Red is on its way out and so will Billie be if she doesn't get some private detection work pretty soon. While divorce cases pay for most of her needs, Billie longs for some serious work. Life get a lot more interesting when Mrs Brown walks in the door asking Billie to find her 17 year old son, Adin. What at first seems to be a simple missing person case, quickly turns to murder and poor Con Zervos certainly didn't deserve to turn up dead in three different locations around Sydney. What on the surface seems to be a lighthearted case, soon turns deadly serious. For the author, Tara Moss, it was a book written for her family, who live through the dark days of World War 2. Authentic and wonderfully researched, this book tackles serious issues of Race, but in a entertaining way that will keep the reader involved right up to the end. Set in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, I felt a sense of place in a landscape that I have only passed through, but one the author knows intimately. I enjoyed this book and I will hopefully be reading more about Billie Walker in the near future. I gave the book 4 Stars Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers Australia who gave me an advanced copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com Twenty years is a good innings in the publishing industry, which Australian/Canadian author Tara Moss recently celebrated. Moss’ debut novel Fetish hit shelves two decades ago now, and she returns with a brand new crime fiction novel featuring a snazzy heroine. Dead Man Switch heralds the first in an exciting new historical fiction series featuring Billie Walker, a penetrating PI, with a wicked sense of determination. Set in the years just after the close of *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com Twenty years is a good innings in the publishing industry, which Australian/Canadian author Tara Moss recently celebrated. Moss’ debut novel Fetish hit shelves two decades ago now, and she returns with a brand new crime fiction novel featuring a snazzy heroine. Dead Man Switch heralds the first in an exciting new historical fiction series featuring Billie Walker, a penetrating PI, with a wicked sense of determination. Set in the years just after the close of World War II, Dead Man Switch introduces Billie Walker. A war widow, Billie has returned to Australia’s shores a changed and independent woman. Billie sets her sights on her father’s detective agency, opening its doors once again, but now she is in charge. Soon after Billie revives her father’s agency, the cases begin to trickle in. Billie is called up to help in the search for a young man who has vanished without a trace, but this case becomes baffling and dangerous. Along the way, Billie is in for a wild ride. She is confronted with various violent and dangerous figures, determined to keep the truth under wraps. She faces cheats, gangsters and many shady figures. She is also exposed to murderers and thugs. It becomes a race against time to find the missing young man, before he is swallowed up by Sydney’s gangland abyss. Tara Moss is quite the name here and abroad. She has some impressive stats to her name. Moss has notched up eleven published books of both fiction and nonfiction, which have been beamed across nineteen separate countries and translated into thirteen different languages. With a number of titles, awards and credentials, it surprised me that I hadn’t picked up any of her work until now. Dead Man Switch is my first taste of Tara Moss’ writing and I did enjoy it. Too often we are presented with books that focus directly on the World War II experience. Dead Man Switch takes a different approach, as this book is set just after the war. As a result, we get a very good grasp of the general reception, atmosphere, emotions, public perceptions and inner feelings of those who lived through, fought, or were left behind during the war. This is the case with Billie Walker, the lead of this novel. We learn that Billie is a war widow, who survived the war, but she lost her love. Billie’s feelings of grief are still very fresh and pointed, which is referenced to throughout the book. Moss also draws our attention to the soldiers who survived, but are left with battle scars, physical deformities, or psychological wounds. It is both devastating to read, but also realistic, reminding us of the toll on everyone following the close of the war. Billie Walker, the heroine of this tale, is expanded upon very well by Moss. We are presented with a lead who is strong, yet vulnerable. Billie is enterprising, determined and open to danger. In re-opening her father’s private investigation service, Billie is honouring her late father, but she is also placing her own spin on this agency. It was nice to see her team up with a returned serviceman, together these two make a great working team. The cases presented to Billie are intriguing and I enjoyed seeing how they would be resolved. The missing person’s case of a young man brings plenty of peril, suspicion, underhanded tactics, violence and action to the floor. Billie takes it all in her stride, despite some hairy moments! It is clear that Moss has conducted a heavy amount of research to formulate her first Billie Walker historical crime based novel. This book is rich in period specific information and exact details of the time, which makes it very authentic in the eyes of the reader. What became quite apparent to me while reading this book was the strong attitudes present during this era. This was a time when sexism, racism and class distinctions were absolutely rife. It infiltrates into every aspect of 1940s life, right down to the system of law. Billie is really fighting a losing battle to rise to the top and to be acknowledged in this piece. She does put up a damn good fight for women of this time! The cases presented and the atmosphere depicted by Moss is a great nod to a decade that was filled with uncertainty and loss. Moss adequately highlights the shift in perspectives, as well as behaviours that defined this time period. The acknowledgements section details how this novel was born, which is a combination of real life events, some fictional fantasy, stories drawn from the author’s family and the writer’s preoccupation with post war based history. Combined with Moss’s interest in noir, action and hardened fiction of this period, along with a desire to outline the female trailblazers of this era, all these aspects culminated in the creation of Dead Man Switch. Dead Man Switch proved to be a compelling read, featuring a brazen lead, that definitely makes her mark. This novel will be sure to entertain both historical fiction, mystery and crime readers. *I wish to thank Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes. Dead Man Switch is book #4 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tien

    Firstly, loved the cover! Secondly, it kinda reminded me of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series... albeit set a couple of decades later (in comparison between first books) and in different countries BUT that is the best thing about this book, it is set in my own backyard or rather Sydney & the Blue Mountains. I recognised all the landmarks and that was just added an extra layer of sweetness to this novel. I must admit though that it meant I did a lot of comparing between Billie Walker (the p Firstly, loved the cover! Secondly, it kinda reminded me of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series... albeit set a couple of decades later (in comparison between first books) and in different countries BUT that is the best thing about this book, it is set in my own backyard or rather Sydney & the Blue Mountains. I recognised all the landmarks and that was just added an extra layer of sweetness to this novel. I must admit though that it meant I did a lot of comparing between Billie Walker (the protagonist in this novel) to Maisie Dobbs and while there are a number of similarities (eg. losing their loves to war, setting up private investigation agencies, injured returned soldier as assistant, etc), there were enough differences that I could appreciate especially the fashion (!) If you love fashion in novels, in combination with mysteries, you'd love this book. Billie Walker is working hard to push her grief aside. She's also working hard because things are tough after the war; everyone is looking for work & are mostly strapped for cash. At the same time, she also loves her work. She loves solving puzzles and seeing justice served. She's a character one can easily loved. It was also quite easy to love the secondary characters from her toff mother, her most reliable assistant, to the enigmatic detective inspector; Moss has created a most appealing set of characters. The mystery itself was pretty interesting and the author has done well in connecting the dots. I do love the car chase scene and Billie's overall capability as a private investigator. There is no bumbling about like an amateur, she's all professional. There were 2 things which I found a little bit weird... Instead of using words like 'gut instinct' or 'intuition', she used 'little woman'. There was a paragraph in the book explaining why she's chosen this phrase of 'little woman' but really, it just didn't sit right with me. Maybe I've just got a dirty mind (?) because when we have a male protag and he refers to 'little me', he's usually referring to his private parts. Can I just say that I therefore automatically applied the same meaning and had to work really hard to steer myself in the right direction? That was just too strange. Also, there were too much 'looking into people's eyes' - not staring as such but Billie seems to like to make sure she's looking into whoever's eyes a lot... but then again, I read an uncorrected proof so maybe there have been some changes since. Dead Man Switch was an absolute delight to read. I loved walking through Sydney in the 40s in the high-heeled shoes of a fashionable, capable & brave young woman. If you love historical mystery set in Australia or those like Maisie Dobbs series, I'd highly recommend that you get on board with Billie Walker! Thanks to HarperCollins AU via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Verushka Byrow The cover for Dead Man Switch is the very definition of mysterious and more than a little alluring. Wrapped in half-light, gun at the ready you are immediately aware that this woman is ready for anything and it is set in Sydney in 1946, which just makes this all the better. Billie is a private inquiry agent — that’s what PIs were called back then. She’s returned from the war in Europe, where her husband has disappeared and is presum Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Verushka Byrow The cover for Dead Man Switch is the very definition of mysterious and more than a little alluring. Wrapped in half-light, gun at the ready you are immediately aware that this woman is ready for anything and it is set in Sydney in 1946, which just makes this all the better. Billie is a private inquiry agent — that’s what PIs were called back then. She’s returned from the war in Europe, where her husband has disappeared and is presumed dead and re-opened her father’s detective agency. Her mother is Ella, a glorious woman who keeps up appearances even as she is beginning to sell off her heirlooms to survive. Post-WW2 everything is scarce, and rationing is a way of life. I started inserting the word Badass before Billie’s name at some point in the book. I have no regrets. But back to Billie — Sam is another character that stands out. He is her assistant at a time when that was unexpected to say the least. Injured in the war, he has returned with a disability, and in a society where men are returning and taking over the jobs women held, and did well, Sam would find that hard to accomplish. That said, Sam is the kind of man Billie can count on, and the person she’ll call to help deal with a dead body. Literally. So, there’s a case to be solved — a missing boy, Adin. Billie and Sam track him to an auction house, and along the way stumble into dead bodies, dangerous men and corrupt cops. I got lost in the setting — and I don’t like historical novels — but I genuinely got lost in the atmosphere of the novel, in Sydney in 1946 — and of course, Billie. She is carving her own path in this post-WW2 world, and she is doing it the best she can. This book is action-packed, and Billie is more than capable of holding her own — it made me want to see her during the war, navigating the treachery that comes with that environment and seeing how she became the woman she is in this book. Mind you, her father and mother present an equally interesting family picture, and Billie is the type of character that would have learned how to handle herself long before entering the war thanks to her father’s influence. I also think Ella, her mother, contributes more than her fair share to Billie’s fearlessness. This is a woman who immigrated to Australia from Holland to be with her first husband, who cheated on her. She fell in love the man getting evidence of her first husband’s infidelities, had Billie out of wedlock and told society where to stick their societal expectations — she was going to be happy. Billie and her mother are feminists in a society that doesn’t know what that means, IMO. And in addition, Billie and her family history genuinely make for a compelling unit, and I feel like there are stories left to be told there — about her parents and herself. Of course, nothing is ever straightforward, and Billie finds her search for the missing boy grow far bigger than she thought — and involve a young Aboriginal girl who is intent on helping friends of hers, working in a house for a man who just possibly will never let them go. This part of the story reminded me that the war has not yet loosened its grip on Billie’s world or Australia. Above, I mentioned that historical fiction is not my favourite genre, but here’s the thing: I didn’t notice I was reading a historical novel. It’s weird right — I mean with the setting of 1946 will come sexism, rationing and all sorts of things that should stand out to me and sit this book in the historical fiction genre, but I was so wrapped up in the story, in Billie, Sam and Ella that I kind of forgot that is was a historical novel. Now what needs to happen is the next instalment of the Billie Walker Mysteries to hurry up and get here!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carly Findlay

    Tara asked me to launch her latest book War Widow at Wednesday Night Book Club - what an honour! Billie Walker was a strong female lead - smart, funny, independent and a feminist. She was such a can-do character, and the supporting characters were wonderful too. I loved the feminism and social justice issues within the book - especially the coverage of the Stolen Generation. There was also mention of war-related disability which was interesting. And the fashion content was wonderful. While it was Tara asked me to launch her latest book War Widow at Wednesday Night Book Club - what an honour! Billie Walker was a strong female lead - smart, funny, independent and a feminist. She was such a can-do character, and the supporting characters were wonderful too. I loved the feminism and social justice issues within the book - especially the coverage of the Stolen Generation. There was also mention of war-related disability which was interesting. And the fashion content was wonderful. While it was set in 1946, War Widow has many issues that are relevant today. I listened to the audiobook of War Widow - though as Dead Man Switch. It was so well narrated, almost like a radio play. It was such a good escape. I devoured War Widow in 2.5 days.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A new series from another 'aussie' crime writer, set in Sydney in 1946. A journalist turned private investigator takes up a case of a missing migrant and a new heroine of typical Australian panache emerges. Previously published as 'Dead Man's Switch', 'The War Widow' is the first of Billie Walker mysteries and further adventures beckon. A great protagonist and well written romp, 4 stars. A new series from another 'aussie' crime writer, set in Sydney in 1946. A journalist turned private investigator takes up a case of a missing migrant and a new heroine of typical Australian panache emerges. Previously published as 'Dead Man's Switch', 'The War Widow' is the first of Billie Walker mysteries and further adventures beckon. A great protagonist and well written romp, 4 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    =^.^= Janet

    When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!) I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the aut When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!) I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker's search for a missing young immigrant man will plunge her right back into the danger and drama she thought she'd left behind in Europe in this thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous postwar Sydney. Sydney, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, for her the heady postwar days are tarnished by the loss of her father and the disappearance in Europe of her husband, Jack. To make matters worse, now that the war is over, the newspapers are sidelining her reporting talents to prioritize jobs for returning soldiers. But Billie is a survivor and she's determined to take control of her own future. So she reopens her late father's business, a private investigation agency, and, slowly, the women of Sydney come knocking. At first, Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating husbands. Then, a young man, the son of European immigrants, goes missing, and Billie finds herself on a dangerous new trail that will lead up into the highest levels of Sydney society and down into its underworld. What is the young man’s connection to an exclusive dance club and a high-class auction house? When the people Billie questions about the young man start to turn up dead, Billie is thrown into the path of Detective Inspector Hank Cooper. Will he take her seriously or will he just get in her way? As the danger mounts and Billie realizes that much more than one young man’s life is at stake, it becomes clear that though the war was won, it is far from over. First off ... this book also has been title "Dead Man Switch" with a decidedly different non-historical-fiction-friendly cover ... is the author trying to appeal to people who think that historical-fiction is, well, chick-lit? The author, Tara Moss is Canadian-Australian and has written a lot of books and is also a documentary maker and presenter, journalist, former model and UNICEF national ambassador for child survival. Whew. This girl has brains. This book was a great read: the characters were engaging and the plotline stellar: I cannot wait for future books to come out in this series! (There was a certain very highly paid mystery Irish-American writer who I generally guessed who the killer was the moment that they are introduced! However, as she recently passed perhaps I can pass on this advice: it is the same with your daughter's books. ... lol) A great read: skip your New Yaar's plans as this comes out on December 29th and stay in and read!! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🦘🦘🦘🦘🦘

  23. 5 out of 5

    Davida Chazan

    Well, well, well... I think I finally found a book that's the first in a series that might be able to fill that Agathe Christie gap in my reading list. I hope you'll visit my blog and my #bookreview here to see why I'm saying this. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2020/05/2... Well, well, well... I think I finally found a book that's the first in a series that might be able to fill that Agathe Christie gap in my reading list. I hope you'll visit my blog and my #bookreview here to see why I'm saying this. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2020/05/2...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bree T

    This new series from prolific Canadian-Australian author Tara Moss is set in Sydney in 1946, right in the fallout of the Second World War. Those that survived are returning home and walking straight back into jobs that women took over during the war. Women are expected to head back to the home and the kitchen now that the men have returned, although Billie Walker isn’t one of those. The daughter of an ex-cop and former Private Investigator, Billie worked as a journalist overseas during the war a This new series from prolific Canadian-Australian author Tara Moss is set in Sydney in 1946, right in the fallout of the Second World War. Those that survived are returning home and walking straight back into jobs that women took over during the war. Women are expected to head back to the home and the kitchen now that the men have returned, although Billie Walker isn’t one of those. The daughter of an ex-cop and former Private Investigator, Billie worked as a journalist overseas during the war and now that she’s back in Sydney, she’s opened her father’s former office and is working as a PI herself. Infidelity cases are mostly how she keeps her head above water but then she gets an interesting assignment about the disappearance of a young man, a boy almost really. Everything Tara Moss does is meticulously researched and I’ve read a lot about what she put herself through to authentically write the Makedde Vanderwall books. This probably involved less trauma but the streets of 1946 Sydney and its surrounds feel very real. I enjoyed Billie as a character – it feels as though she’s had an interesting life but one that is not without its tragedy. She lost her father, obviously a very important and admired influence in her life. During the war she was lucky enough to fall in love amidst all that horror but now her photojournalist husband Jack is missing, believed to be dead. Nothing has been heard from him in the longest time and Billie is struggling with that. She’s being urged to move on, especially from her mother but it’s not that easy. She doesn’t have any definitive proof that Jack is dead, apart from the fact that no one has heard from him and the war has been over for a while now. I think there’s always hope when there isn’t proof and maybe Billie feels he’ll come striding down the street toward her one day. At the same time, she’s also a realist and if that has not happened already in this time since the war ended, it probably isn’t likely to. I really enjoyed the mystery element to the novel. Billie is fun to observe doing her job and I love her assistant Sam, who has layers and layers to explore there. There’s a police detective who has all the possibilities of being someone interesting as well. Billie has a lot of hidden talent and depth and she does occasionally I think, take all of that and put herself into situations she should definitely not. Sometimes it’s much better to wait for back up, or the novels tend to stray into this varieties where the main characters end up being far too capable to really be believable but also you feel that they might be a bit thick for continuously believing themselves able to do the things on their own that really only a team of experts should be taking on. I think that the story went in a really interesting direction and it’s not something I’ve really thought about much before in connection with Australia. Definitely in stories of post-WWII Europe and even places like South America, where it’s well known that a lot of Nazis fled to escape prosecution but I haven’t really read many books that involve Australia in this way so it felt fresh and well written. What started as a seemingly innocuous disappearance of a teenage boy, who might’ve found a girlfriend his parents wouldn’t approve of or been on a bender with some mates escalated in some really unexpected and intriguing ways and Billie put the pieces together really well. There are some truly chilling scenes in this book as well, definitely the one where Billie sleeps (or is more like unconscious) through something. But even in a fog, she can think really quickly and has good instincts on what is going to come next and how it’s going to affect her and how she can manoeuvre to get herself out of such situations. All in all, this was a promising start to a new series and quite a few things about it have me intrigued and interested to read more. I definitely hope there’s more about Jack, Billie’s missing husband in the future. I am also interested in the progression of her working relationship with Sam and perhaps also a mutually beneficial working relationship with the police detective. I’m definitely interested to read the next book and see where it goes from here. ***A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review***

  25. 4 out of 5

    Terry Maxwell

    It was a fantastic read. Grabbed you from the start. Being the first is what I’m assuming will be a series for Billie Walker it starts of fast then introduces you the main characters. Unlike a lot of books that are starting a series it doesn’t get bogged down with everyone’s backstory but does give enough so you know there will be more backstory in future books. The story was great that brought all the parts together to wrap up the story but leave a few threads loose for a follow up book. The st It was a fantastic read. Grabbed you from the start. Being the first is what I’m assuming will be a series for Billie Walker it starts of fast then introduces you the main characters. Unlike a lot of books that are starting a series it doesn’t get bogged down with everyone’s backstory but does give enough so you know there will be more backstory in future books. The story was great that brought all the parts together to wrap up the story but leave a few threads loose for a follow up book. The story flowed well & didn’t feel like it struggled to get to where it needed to go. There was always a reason for Billie to be where she needed to be & let the story flow. Ms Walker has a great supporting cast to help her with her cases especially Sam her assistant. I’m hoping his story will grow more in future books. For when the book was set I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did seeing I don’t read books set in that time period (post WW2) I’m glad I got an early copy from Better Reading Preview campaign. I enjoyed Dead Man Switch & recommend it to anyone who enjoys PI books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    “’He looks a lot more like a body rolled in a rug than I was hoping.’ Ella observed quietly as she and Alma inspected their handiwork. ‘Let's hope we don't run into any neighbours or the next tenant meeting will be hell.’” Dead Man Switch is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series by award-winning Australian/Canadian author, Tara Moss. The audio version is narrated by Danielle Carter. It’s 1946 in Sydney, and the climate favours returned servicemen in jobs while the women who filled t “’He looks a lot more like a body rolled in a rug than I was hoping.’ Ella observed quietly as she and Alma inspected their handiwork. ‘Let's hope we don't run into any neighbours or the next tenant meeting will be hell.’” Dead Man Switch is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series by award-winning Australian/Canadian author, Tara Moss. The audio version is narrated by Danielle Carter. It’s 1946 in Sydney, and the climate favours returned servicemen in jobs while the women who filled those roles during the war are relegated to domestic duties. Formerly a war journalist, Billie Walker’s current profession is already seen as a masculine one, so she’s going emphatically against the grain by running her deceased father’s private inquiry business. But there’s a call for female investigative agents: obtaining evidence to allow wives to divorce errant husbands makes up the majority of her work, but Mrs Netanya Brown has come about her missing seventeen-year-old son, Adin. “A good boy”, she insists. Billie intuitively knows there’s something not being said, but a near empty work agenda means she can hardly be choosy. She takes the case. Meanwhile, her confidential informant asks her to look into the welfare of four young women from her mob who have been assigned to work for a man in the lower Blue Mountains. And just why is Vincenzo Moretti, a PI with a grudge against the late Barry Walker, watching her flat? Moss gives the reader a fast-paced plot filled with intrigue, some nasty villains and a heart-thumping climax. With mentions of fashion, petrol rationing, disfigured veterans, social attitudes and the scarcity of certain commodities, Moss easily evokes the era and ambience of immediate post-war Sydney. Billie is feisty and determined, and manages to hold her own, although she does end up ruining several frocks and quite a lot of (difficult to come by) stockings. Luckily, she’s a dab hand with a sewing machine as well as a lockpick and her little Colt 908. Moss gives Billie a marvellous support cast, with a hint of sexual tension between Billie and two of the male characters and occasional moments of dark humour. Some background matters remain unresolved, no doubt to be addressed in later books. Certainly, more of this excellent post-war Aussie noir series will be most welcome.

  27. 5 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    An intense case and spunky heroine made The War Widow by Tara Moss, a page-turner. Moss takes us to Sydney, 1946 postwar. Billie has returned after losing her father and the disappearance of her husband, Jack. It’s a time of rations and women finding them in themselves, in the position of supporting themselves. Even as society frowns upon it. Armed with her favorite shade of red lipstick, Billie takes over her father’s detective agency. Until now she has handled domestic matters like cheating hus An intense case and spunky heroine made The War Widow by Tara Moss, a page-turner. Moss takes us to Sydney, 1946 postwar. Billie has returned after losing her father and the disappearance of her husband, Jack. It’s a time of rations and women finding them in themselves, in the position of supporting themselves. Even as society frowns upon it. Armed with her favorite shade of red lipstick, Billie takes over her father’s detective agency. Until now she has handled domestic matters like cheating husbands. Her newest case has her searching for the son of an immigrant couple and navigating the underbelly of the city. Do you read in color? I do, and this story unfolded in black and white as I became swept up in the investigation. I adored Billie. She has nerves of steel and an eye for making connections. Her secretary and muscle Sam was sweet and good with his fists. The case had ties to the war and spotlighted some profiting that occurred as they search for this young man. I found it all riveting. I love noir crime novels and devoured collections of hard-boiled PI novels my grandparents had in their library. This tale offered a twist with a female PI, that I found refreshing. A solid case, well-developed characters set against the backdrop of Sydney were delightful. I am looking forward to the next Billie Walker Mystery. I cannot wait to see what case Billie and Sam deal with next! This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  28. 4 out of 5

    SuperWendy

    I love female private eyes, but this one ended up being a slog of a read for me featuring a (quite frankly) obvious mystery thread. Billie Walker was a reporter during World War II, fell in love, her husband is presumed dead (gee, wonder what's going to happen there if the series continues /end sarcasm) and she's taken over her father's private inquiry agency. She's hired by the Brown family to find their missing son. The Browns are Jewish and Billie quickly realizes that the boy saw an ad for a I love female private eyes, but this one ended up being a slog of a read for me featuring a (quite frankly) obvious mystery thread. Billie Walker was a reporter during World War II, fell in love, her husband is presumed dead (gee, wonder what's going to happen there if the series continues /end sarcasm) and she's taken over her father's private inquiry agency. She's hired by the Brown family to find their missing son. The Browns are Jewish and Billie quickly realizes that the boy saw an ad for an auction at a local auction house that "upset" him (according to a friend). So right away I'm no longer puzzled about the mystery angle. Then the author brings in a second mystery involving a mysterious foreigner hiring Aboriginal girls for domestic work and through an amazing set of coincidences the two threads tie together. Compounding the lack of suspense in the mystery is that the ending is a mess. Billie bungles around endangering her informant, it drags out for several chapters and whamo! Ends super abruptly. I go from my eyes glazing over to a slap in the face. There's lots of historical detail in case you forget you're reading about post-WWII Sydney and the heroine refers incessantly to the "little woman in her gut" re: intuition and that got old quick. Unlikely that I'll continue on with the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    4.5 stars! Sydney 1946 Wartime journalist Billie Walker has returned home to re-open her late Father's Private Inquiry agency. Billie's latest case, the disappearance of a teenage boy, is not as open/shut as she hoped with each lead uncovering another piece of the puzzle that refuses to fit. Billie, along with her trusted assistant Sam, are hurled into the underground of criminal activity and find themselves closing in on a case that is more then Billie bargained for. As for some, the war isn't ov 4.5 stars! Sydney 1946 Wartime journalist Billie Walker has returned home to re-open her late Father's Private Inquiry agency. Billie's latest case, the disappearance of a teenage boy, is not as open/shut as she hoped with each lead uncovering another piece of the puzzle that refuses to fit. Billie, along with her trusted assistant Sam, are hurled into the underground of criminal activity and find themselves closing in on a case that is more then Billie bargained for. As for some, the war isn't over. Billie Walker is one bad-ass detective. With her signature red lipstick and a pearl-handled Colt strapped to her thigh, she is a woman in a mans world. Dead Man Switch is a nod to noir mysteries and the beginning of a new detective series. Tara Moss has captured the essence of a post-war Australia, along with the grueling nature of skilled detective work in her latest novel. I loved every second of this book that had me hooked from the start.

  30. 5 out of 5

    The Book Squirrel

    Update a year after my review below: what's with the new title, "The war widow"? "Dead man switch" is SOOOOO much better! And the cover of Dead man is more bad-ass. Also, from a public library perspective, we hate it when books are published under two different titles. This story is set in Sydney after World War 2. The historical details are researched and definitely add a layer of interest to the story, including the buildings that were around, the style of dress, the attitudes of and towards wa Update a year after my review below: what's with the new title, "The war widow"? "Dead man switch" is SOOOOO much better! And the cover of Dead man is more bad-ass. Also, from a public library perspective, we hate it when books are published under two different titles. This story is set in Sydney after World War 2. The historical details are researched and definitely add a layer of interest to the story, including the buildings that were around, the style of dress, the attitudes of and towards war returnees, etc. I enjoyed the details of Billie's car (coinciding with Tara's recent Mustang ads talking about her own love of cars). The plot didn't lose momentum and the ending was very satisfying. I'll look forward to more in the series!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...