A Fool’s Errand by D R Bailey
The hero of the novel is
Flying Officer Angus Mackennelly.
In many ways, he’s a Second World War’s Biggles (if you exclude the sex scenes).
Back to A Fool’s Errand.
Angus is part of the Maverick’ Squadron 696 (Spitfire squadron). The outfit is worthy of their name; Anyone flying with the mavericks has been given a sideways transfer for a good reason.
The time is 1941. The Battle of Britain is over, and RAF Fighter Command turns its attention to France
Angus Mackennelly and the other mavericks are engaged in what they call rhubarb tactics to lure the Luftwaffe into battle.
Everyone in the squadron, including the commanding officer, thinks that Rhubarb is wasteful of men and machines. But orders from high command have to be obeyed.
Angus is ordered to carry out a sortie with a brand-new pilot, who dies on their first incursion. This causes Angus a great deal of distress. Eventually, tactics change but there are still heavy losses.
Is it suicide or murder?
Then there is the so-called suicide. One of the pilot officers is discovered swinging on a rope in one of the hangers. But despite the inquest’s verdict, Angus believes it was murder, and so do some of his associates.
In between bouts of furious dogfights in the skies, Angus becomes involved with two women and beds both. Well, these days it’s almost compulsory to have some bonking going on, isn’t it?
Angus also agrees to help Flying Officer Tomas Jezek work tirelessly to investigate the murder.
When they discover the most likely murderer, they become involved with the security services who believe the murderer could also be a German spy.
It’s a good yarn
Review By Andrew R Williams (Four Stars from me ****)
Author of The Tipham Trilogy and the Arcadia’s Children Series
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