Friday, January 8, 2021

Book Review: The War Widow by Tara Moss

 Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: December 29, 2020
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."


Billie Walker isn't your usual woman living in post WWII Australia.  She was a war correspondent and saw the atrocities of war first hand; now she finds herself as a private eye, taking over her father's business.  Her heart still aches for her husband, who went missing on a job during the war.  She hasn't heard from him since.  Meanwhile in Sydney, Billie finds herself, along with her assistant, helping with some cases here or there, specifically when it comes to divorces.  However, this all changes when Mrs. Brown pays Billie a visit asking her to help find her missing son, Adin.  He is young and doesn't usually get into trouble, but the cops haven't been able to track him down.  Billie takes on the case and it leads to The Dancers, a fancy club in town. What could have Adin been doing at The Dancers? Also, Shyla, Billie's informant, also gives her a case that involves missing women and a creepy house in the country.  Now Billie and her assistant, Sam, find themselves filled to the brim with dangerous cases.  Billie will encounter glamorous clubs, dark back alleys, Nazis, war criminals, gangsters, and more in The War Widow, a suspenseful historical mystery with a film noir vibe.  

As soon as I "met" Billie Walker in The War Widow, I knew I was a fan. She is just what I would want in a spunky protagonist.  I loved her feminist views, her bravery, her fashion, and her determination to help people, especially other women.  I wanted more on her backstory in Germany during the war and more about her husband's disappearance, but hopefully that will come as the series unfolds.  I also was a fan of her assistant, Sam, who at first seemed rather ordinary; however, as the story progresses, I became more and more impressed with him, especially since he is a former solider.   I loved that they worked together to solve cases and had each other's backs. 

Moss paints an amazing picture of Sydney post WWII in The War Widow.  The book was very atmospheric and was steeping in historical details. I also loved Moss's descriptions of the fashion, which really brought the time period to life.  As I mentioned before, The War Widow had a film noir vibe, which I thoroughly loved.  The story felt moody and dark at times all while Billie was trying to solve her dangerous case. Each dark alley she turned down, I was worried for her, but I loved being on the edge of my seat.

If you enjoy stories involving private eyes and are a fan of historical mysteries, you must check out The War Widow. It's the perfect book to cuddle up with this winter season and I guarantee you'll love Billie as much as me. I will am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series and Billie's next exciting case.

Are you a fan of historical mysteries? Do you like film noir? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. I also really enjoyed War Widow, though it was published as Dead Man Switch here in Australia.

  2. This sounds so interesting and different! Definitely adding to my TBR!

  3. I just added this one to my TBR - so many intriguing elements!


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