The French Resistance and German Defiance at the Liberation of Paris

 

Billy Boyle was a detective in the Boston Police Department when the US entered World War II. He came from the stereotypical cop Irish Catholic family. His family mistrusted the English. His father and uncle wanted him to serve their country, but want him safe. To do this they get Billy a posting with Uncle Ike, an obscure brigadier general, assigned to the General Staff in Washington, DC.

“When Hell Struck Twelve: A Billy Boyle WWII Mystery,” by James Benn, is the fourteenth novel about the results of this pairing.

Uncle Ike was Dwight Eisenhower. Shortly after Billy joins Eisenhower’s staff, Eisenhower gets tagged as Commanding General European Theater of Operations. Uncle Ike is delighted to have Billy, a trained detective, around. Eisenhower needs someone for sensitive (and frequently dangerous) confidential investigations. Billy finds himself in a world of military intelligence, counterintelligence, and espionage. He becomes Ike’s go-to guy when the general needs of unquestioned loyalty for a quiet look.

By the time the events of “When Hell Struck Twelve” take place, it is August 1944. Billy and his colleague and close friend, Lieutenant Piotr Kazimirerz are interrogating German POWs in Normandy. Kaz is a member of the Polish Army-in-Exile.

The two are assigned to track down Atlantik, the code name of a French traitor working for the Germans. Boyle’s superiors do not know who Altantik is but suspect the traitor is a leader in one of the competing French resistance units.

They bait the trap with phony plans for the Allied liberation of Paris. The plans will be discussed at a meeting with French resistance leaders. Boyle has to identify who tries to steal the plans and hopefully capture the person. Eisenhower plans to bypass Paris, so it does not matter if the Germans get these. If they do, they will end up sending troops to defend a spot the Allies are not attacking.

The first part goes as planned. Atlantik reveals himself. Then things go wrong. Atlantik escapes with the plans. Billy and Kaz set off in chase, one step behind him. Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

A worthy addition to an excellent series, “When Hell Struck Twelve” offers fast-paced adventure tied realistically into actual events and people. It is fun and entertaining.

“When Hell Struck Twelve: A Billy Boyle WWII Mystery,” by James Benn, Soho Crime, 2019, 360 pages $27.95 (hardcover)

This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

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  1. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I’m looking for a new writer. WEB Griffin (William Butterworth) died and Andrew Wareham is not writing new novels fast enough

    • #1
  2. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Whoops, no Kindle edition. I only buy hard copies of non-fiction. I even did a Kindle edition of my medical history.

    • #2
  3. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    The Billy Boyle books are good.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    • #4
  5. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    And the Germans had lost almost the entire 7th Army in the Falaise Pocket. They had nothing to defend Paris. 

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    And the Germans had lost almost the entire 7th Army in the Falaise Pocket. They had nothing to defend Paris.

    The Falaise pocket is presented in the book.

    And Eisenhower actually intended to bypass Paris. De Gaulle and the Resistance forced his hand. So it really is not a plot hole. Any “bogus” plan potentially leaked to the Germans had to be convincing, so it would have been close to what was actually done.

    • #6
  7. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I found Kindle editions and ordered the first two. The page on my own book does not link to the Kindle version. I don’t know why Amazon does that.

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    And the Germans had lost almost the entire 7th Army in the Falaise Pocket. They had nothing to defend Paris.

    The Falaise pocket is presented in the book.

    And Eisenhower actually intended to bypass Paris. De Gaulle and the Resistance forced his hand. So it really is not a plot hole. Any “bogus” plan potentially leaked to the Germans had to be convincing, so it would have been close to what was actually done.

    They drove on past it and didn’t wait for the French to take it in order to try to catch as much of the garrison as they could when they retreated.

    • #8
  9. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    And the Germans had lost almost the entire 7th Army in the Falaise Pocket. They had nothing to defend Paris.

    The Falaise pocket is presented in the book.

    And Eisenhower actually intended to bypass Paris. De Gaulle and the Resistance forced his hand. So it really is not a plot hole. Any “bogus” plan potentially leaked to the Germans had to be convincing, so it would have been close to what was actually done.

    They drove on past it and didn’t wait for the French to take it in order to try to catch as much of the garrison as they could when they retreated.

    The failure of the Falaise Gap was the worst part of Bradley’s war.

    • #9
  10. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    And the Germans had lost almost the entire 7th Army in the Falaise Pocket. They had nothing to defend Paris.

    The Falaise pocket is presented in the book.

    And Eisenhower actually intended to bypass Paris. De Gaulle and the Resistance forced his hand. So it really is not a plot hole. Any “bogus” plan potentially leaked to the Germans had to be convincing, so it would have been close to what was actually done.

    They drove on past it and didn’t wait for the French to take it in order to try to catch as much of the garrison as they could when they retreated.

    The failure of the Falaise Gap was the worst part of Bradley’s war.

    Not a Bradley fan. But, in his defense, the failure to close the pocket is rightfully laid at the feet of the overall land force commander. Whose initials are Bernard Law Montgomery.

    To prevent fratricide, a double envelopment requires strict control measures including a limit of advance and no fire areas. Bradley would have been negligent to permit forces to violate those control measures. It would have been nice to bag more prisoners, but the long term impact of the ones who got away was negligible.

    • #10
  11. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Then Allied plans suddenly change, and Allied forces are now heading to Paris. The path to be used is close to those in the formerly bogus plans.

    Okay. That’s a bit of a plot hole right there. Otherwise it sounds pretty good.

    And the Germans had lost almost the entire 7th Army in the Falaise Pocket. They had nothing to defend Paris.

    The Falaise pocket is presented in the book.

    And Eisenhower actually intended to bypass Paris. De Gaulle and the Resistance forced his hand. So it really is not a plot hole. Any “bogus” plan potentially leaked to the Germans had to be convincing, so it would have been close to what was actually done.

    They drove on past it and didn’t wait for the French to take it in order to try to catch as much of the garrison as they could when they retreated.

    The failure of the Falaise Gap was the worst part of Bradley’s war.

    Not a Bradley fan. But, in his defense, the failure to close the pocket is rightfully laid at the feet of the overall land force commander. Whose initials are Bernard Law Montgomery.

    To prevent fratricide, a double envelopment requires strict control measures including a limit of advance and no fire areas. Bradley would have been negligent to permit forces to violate those control measures. It would have been nice to bag more prisoners, but the long term impact of the ones who got away was negligible.

    It might have prolonged the war. Those escapees were part of the German army that waged the “Bulge” offensive.

     

    • #11