IT BEGINS IN BETRAYAL by Iona Whishaw: Book Review

Do wars ever really end?  That’s one of the questions to be answered in It Begins in Betrayal, the fourth book in the Lane Winslow series by Iona Whishaw.

As the novel opens, it’s 1947 and life has moved on in western Canada.  Lane Winslow, who is keeping her past life as part of the British Special Branch secret, and Frederick Darling, former British Royal Air Force pilot and current police inspector in King’s Cove, British Columbia, are about to become involved in two unrelated incidents that have long-buried tentacles in England.

The first is the apparently motiveless murder of Agatha Browning, an elderly woman originally from the British Isles.  Although she’s lived in King’s Cove for decades, no one seems to know much about her early life or what brought her to the far western part of Canada.  Her body is found in the woods near her remote cabin by the priest of the village’s Catholic Church.  Although it’s possible that the woman stumbled to her death on the rocky soil, neither the priest nor Constable Ames likes the look of the way the body has fallen.

At virtually the same moment that Inspector Darling receives the phone call from Father Lahey about his discovery of the corpse, Darling gets a visitor from the British government who has arrived to ask him questions about the crash of the plane he was piloting in 1943.  Darling had made a very complete report of this crash, which ended in tragedy with the death of one of his crew and the disappearance of another, presumably captured by Nazi soldiers.  In fact, he had received a medal for bringing the plane down safely and bringing the rest of his crew safely out of German-occupied France.  So why is this incident being investigated again, and why must he return to England to answer questions about it?

Darling (he’s always called by his last name) and Lane are romantically involved, but even he doesn’t know that she was an intelligence agent during the war.  But when he’s recalled to London for the re-opened investigation into the crash and what followed, Lane determines to follow him and find out the reason that the case has been reopened.  Certain events that took place during the war are still hidden under the Official Secrets Act, making it difficult for Darling and Lane to get to the truth of why he was asked, aka commanded, to return to England.  Meanwhile, the investigation into Agatha Browning’s death continues, with its own secrets and roots deep in the English countryside.

Iona Whishaw has written a mystery with a wonderful sense of time and place in It Begins in Betrayal.  The characters are alive and vibrant, the settings realistic, and the plot will pull you along until you find the reasons for the death of the Englishwoman in Canada and the forced return of the Canadian police inspector to England.

You can read more about Iona Whishaw at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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