The Ghosts of Paris
The Second World War is over, and although countries worldwide are still paying the price, trying to rebuild what was destroyed, Billie Walker seems to have finally found herself as a private investigator. Mostly making a living off the discovery of cheating husbands, Billie encounters something out of the ordinary when a wealthy client hires her to find her missing husband, to determine not only his whereabouts, but if the husband is actually missing.
Billie and her assistant, Sam, travel to London and then Paris, following in Mr. Montgomery’s footsteps, and hoping to make some leeway in uncovering his whereabouts. But Paris holds a lot of memories for Billie and she is torn between looking for Montgomery and uncovering the truth about her own missing husband, who was presumed dead in the war. Add to that a very angry group of men who don’t like Billie’s past hunting for Nazis, and both Billie and Sam are quickly in well over their heads.
“The Ghosts of Paris” is the second novel in the Billie Walker series by author Tara Moss. Billie is a grieving war widow, or at least she thinks she is (not knowing the fate of her own husband), following her father’s path into the world of investigation. From Sydney, to the streets of London, to Paris, “Ghosts” takes the reader on an emotional journey that also serves to quench some wanderlust.
Right off the bat this book reads like the sequel it is, although it is not necessary to have read “The War Widow” first (though I highly recommend it!). Moss gave me enough of Billie’s background to be able to piece together anything I might have missed by not reading the first book. Although some of the plot points were predictable (the romance between Billie and Sam was brewing from page one), the powerhouse twist at the end was a complete surprise!
Moss is a self-touted Feminist, and this novel reinforces that. Referring to a “God” as a “goddess” (for example Moss will say “good goddess” instead of “good God”) and having Billie insist on being called “Ms” instead of “Miss” are just a few. Granted, the novel takes place in 1947 so although some things have changed (not enough, unfortunately), I both laughed and cheered when Billie took charge, leaving her male companions baffled and flustered.
I love Billie as a character; not only is she an independent woman who is trying to make a name for herself in a business where, as a female, that just isn’t done, but she blasted stereotypes without thinking twice (and wearing “Fighting Red” lipstick to boot!). Sam, too, was completely atypical as a male “assistant”, but he was charming, dapper and utterly competent, the perfect match to Billie’s personality.
Set in a post-war Europe, with an emotionally gripping storyline and well-developed and relatable characters, “The Ghosts of Paris” (and the entire Billie Walker series for that matter) not only turns the world of private investigation on its head, but it provides ample entertainment and gripping twists and turns to boot!
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