Set in 1946, this spirted series launch from Canadian-Australian author Moss (the Makedde Vanderwall books) introduces Billie Walker, a former war correspondent who reopens her dead father’s private inquiry firm after the Sydney newspapers she works for sideline her. When German immigrant Netanya Brown hires Billie to find her 17-year-old son, Adin, Billie assumes the boy is off with friends or a secret lover; then she discovers that before Adin disappeared, he’d been nosing around an exclusive night club and expressed uncharacteristic interest in a high-end auction. After a potential source is murdered and an encounter with the cops suggests they’re on the take, Billie is forced to admit that she’s dealing with something much larger than a simple missing persons case. Meanwhile, a young Wiradjuri woman asks Billie to investigate a foreigner suspected of mistreating his Aboriginal employees. Rich period detail and a fierce, feminist heroine distinguish this stylish twist on the classic 1940s detective novel. Moss’s thoughtful, socially conscious plotting largely compensates for the contrived conclusion. Fans of Phryne Fisher will eagerly anticipate Billie’s next adventure. Agent: Chris Bucci, Cooke McDermid Literary. (May)
"Tara Moss's The War Widow is an excellent novel and an even better springboard for its crackerjack heroine: the indomitable Billie Walker. Like a harder-boiled Phryne Fisher meets Martha Gellhorn, Billie is the best kind of heroine: fun, flawed, smart, feminist, and feisty. Even down the darkest of paths—including but not limited to Nazi war profiteers, shady mobsters, cops on the take, and more—Billie is a beacon of light, never losing her sense of justice, or her enjoyment in life (and a good coupe of champagne!). Honestly, I'd follow Billie anywhere."
—Halley Sutton, author of The Lady Upstairs
"In Billie Walker, Moss has conjured up one kick-ass 1940s heroine: a tough-talking, glamorous feminist who’s as adept with a pistol as she is on the dance floor, haunted by a tragic past, and unafraid to take on the darkest of foes. An artful, original take on noir suspense that resonates in today’s times."
—Fiona Davis, nationally bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls
“A cracking thriller, with a marvelous, strong, flamboyant heroine.”
—Joanne Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange
"Billie Walker is the type of heroine I'd love to befriend: resourceful, clever, adventurous, and a true fashionista. With a gripping plot and the perfect dose of history and intrigue, The War Widow has all the elements of a great page-turner."
—Ellen Keith, nationally bestselling author of The Dutch Wife
"Enough page-turning suspense to keep you up reading far later than you intended!"
—Peter James, New York Times bestselling author
"A terrific read!"
—Lynda La Plante, internationally bestselling author
"Her novels are completely gripping and entertaining from beginning to end."
“I so enjoyed getting to know Tara Moss's wonderful new character, Billie Walker, in her 1940s Sydney-set mystery [The War Widow]. Immersive, well-paced, entertaining, thoughtful – so enjoyable!”
—Angela Meyer, award-winning author of Joan Smokes and A Superior Spectre
"Moss's ultra-cool prose and whip-smart plotting pull you along at cracking pace until suddenly you look up and realize with a gulp how deep you've gone and how very dark it is down there."
—Emily Maguire, author of Taming the Beast
“Brilliantly atmospheric and completely immersive—this stylishly fierce adventure into post-war darkness will hold you captive on every page. The amazing Tara Moss has created a cinematic and important feminist noir—dark as midnight velvet, and tough as steel. Do not miss this!”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of The First to Lie
“The setting feels simultaneously familiar and exotic. Neatly incorporates history, social commentary, and a satisfying mystery in one appealing package. More, please!”
"Spirited...thoroughly researched and anchored by the spunky, sympathetic heroine at its heart....Readers will finish the book clamoring for Billie's next case."
"Rich period detail and a fierce, feminist heroine distinguish this stylish twist on the classic 1940s detective novel."
“True to its era down to the very fabric around Billie’s shoulders, this is a smartmouthed shot straight to the chest.”
“Tara Moss has created a streetwise, seductive and staunchly feminist sleuth who even darns her own stockings…[Billie Walker] is a former war correspondent, whose photojournalist husband is missing, presumed dead…The war might be over, but the novel is deeply interested in its wreckage.”
—The Sun-Herald (Sydney)
“Tara Moss’s sympathy for the oppressed and voiceless runs firmly through this tale of underworld crime, thuggery, cruelty and greed. It is a pleasure to find women steering this story as heroines not sidekicks. One very much hopes that [The War Widow] is the first of many Billie Walker mysteries and that, in time, our plucky heroine, her lips daubed with Tussy’s Fighting Red, will find her way onto a screen near us.”
—Living Arts Canberra
Following the end of World War II, former war correspondent Billie Walker makes her way home to Sydney, Australia, and reopens her father's private investigation office. Even though her husband, Jack, is still missing somewhere in Europe, she ties to put the trauma of the war behind her and steps into the role of detective—tracking down small-time criminals, following cheating husbands, and searching for missing people. But when a young man, the son of Jewish immigrants, goes missing, Billie must deal with a situation that quickly becomes just as dangerous as anything she had faced during the war. The case of Adin Brown involves stakeouts at glamorous nightclubs, romance, fugitive Nazi war criminals, and 50mph car chases, adding suspense and drama to this superb page-turner. VERDICT Moss ("Makedde Vanderwall" series) has created a thrilling historical novel of post-war Australia that will engross readers from the first page to the last. This book deserves to be added to the top of the list of must-read titles. Book clubs may wish to consider this title as well.—Jane Henriksen Baird, formerly at Anchorage P.L., AK
A fashionable Australian private eye finds herself embroiled in a difficult case just after World War II.
As a war correspondent, Billie Walker witnessed some terrible things in Germany and still carries many burdens, including the disappearance of her journalist husband. Back home in Sydney, however, she has returned to full-time work as owner and investigator of a private inquiry agency she inherited from her late father. She even has Sam, a brave and affable secretary-cum-assistant, himself a former soldier. When a woman asks Billie to find her missing teenage son, clues lead to The Dancers, an elite club, and Georges Boucher, owner of an expensive auction house. It seems that an old family photo of a particular necklace is at the heart of the case, but who has taken Adin Brown, and to what end? At the same time, Billie's secret informant Shyla reports on a man in the country who has been mistreating girls. Of course, both cases are related, and the truth behind Adin’s abduction, in a very Dashiell Hammett–like turn of events, involves Nazi war criminals, stolen treasures, and a prostitution ring. Billie is a smart, glamorous, kind, and well-turned-out woman, and her addition to the world of literary private detectives is welcome and deserved. She carries a bit of the hard-boiled tradition on her shoulders—the vulnerability, the brashness—while providing a completely feminine perspective on both the crimes and the approach to crime-solving. Moss clearly did a lot of research for the novel, including a great deal in fashion and sewing, so sometimes the details and descriptions can be lengthier than necessary, but gradually, as the pace picks up, these details serve to help us get to know the characters on multiple levels. The setting feels simultaneously familiar and exotic.
Neatly incorporates history, social commentary, and a satisfying mystery in one appealing package. More, please!