The Ghosts of Paris by Tara Moss, Review: Fabulously feisty

The Ghosts of Paris is the thrilling second novel in Tara Moss’ wonderfully engaging Billie Walker PI historical mystery series. Read my full review.

The Ghosts of Paris Synopsis

The Ghosts of Paris Review - Tara Moss, Billie Walker #2

Billie Walker #2

A gripping story of secrets and intrigue set in postwar London and Paris. The search for a missing husband forces investigator and former war reporter Billie Walker to face the ghosts of her own painful past, and sets her on a collision course with an underground network of Nazis …

It’s 1947. The world continues to grapple with the fallout of the Second World War, and former war reporter Billie Walker is finding her feet as an investigator. When a wealthy client hires Billie and her assistant Sam to track down her missing husband, the trail leads Billie back to London and Paris, where Billie’s own painful memories also lurk. Jack Rake, Billie’s wartime lover and briefly, husband, is just one of the millions people who went missing in Europe during the war. What was his fate after they left Paris together?

As Billie’s search for her client’s husband takes her to both the swanky bars at Paris’s famous Ritz hotel and to the dank basements of the infamous Paris morgue, she’ll need to keep her gun at the ready, because something even more terrible than a few painful memories might be following her around the city of lights …

(Harper Collins, June 2022)

Genre: Historical, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Drama

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Book Review

I adored Tara Moss’ Makedde Vanderwall PI crime series and wholeheartedly recommend it to those who enjoy feisty and intelligent leading ladies. Titles in that series reviewed on this website include Siren #5 (2009) and Assassin #6(2012). But in 2019, Moss significantly expanded her fanbase with the release of The War Widow (aka Dead Man Switch), the first title in this historical PI series starring Ms. Billie Walker.

For readers like me, who fell in love with the fabulous feisty Billie and her eclectic good-hearted posse (read my review of Book 1), it has felt like a long wait for Book 2 The Ghosts of Paris. While I’ll strenuously avoid spoilers, suffice to say the events in this novel were worth that wait!

Dear Alma, wily flamboyant Ella, resourceful Shyla and the enigmatic Hank Cooper all make delightful return appearances, but it is the wonderfully steadfast, loyal and handsome Sam Baker (her assistant) that shares top billing in this outing as Billie’s European travel companion – and the energy between them is utterly delectable.

The Ghosts of Paris Quote - Tara Moss, Billie Walker #2
Book Quote – The Ghosts of Paris

True to form, Moss peppers this novel’s text with vivid descriptions of place and evocative character-building turns of phrase,

“…she and trouble knew each other rather intimately.”

and weaves stirring social commentary into Billie’s inner narrative.

“Ah, here she is now. May I present Ms. Billie Walker,” Samuel Baker, her tall secretary announced, right on cue. “Ms. Walker, this is Mrs. Richard Montgomery.”

She still had no first name of her own, Billie thought. Shame.

Our leading lady Billie still swears by the restorative powers of tea, but imbibes (stylishly, of course) some more bracing beverages during her European sojourn with varying consequences. Indeed in several page-turning scenes, despite ‘the little woman in her gut’ instinct, the forthright expression of her open-minded opinions leads her into perilous situations. 

But, never fear, not all shadows are enemies… And, earlier this month Tara Moss announced a two-book deal for two more Billie Walker novels!

In The Ghosts of Paris, the gutsy Billie Walker walks toward danger, finding answers aplenty and new invigorating doorways to future puzzling mysteries and compelling personal adventures. 

I unreservedly recommend this sequel but urge those who have not yet read Tara Moss’ The War Widow, to purchase both in the same order. You’ll want to start The Ghosts of Paris as soon as you’ve finished Book 1, so you may as well just save on postage at the outset…

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

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More The Ghosts of Paris reviews

‘The romance of Paris, the adrenaline rush of a deadly chase, a soul-shattering secret, and a resilient heroine make for a gripping read’ – Booklist

‘A richly detailed historical mystery that spotlights social issues like postwar persecution of LGBTQ communities in both Sydney and Paris. riveting series.’ – Library Journal, starred review

‘This is a story sure to command any reader’s interest. It is full of derring-do, luscious descriptions in the cities of England and France, and appealing and not-so-appealing characters.’ – New York Journal of Books

The Ghosts of Paris is a captivating, heart-tugging, atmospheric tale by Moss that transports you to another time and place…’ – What’s Better Than Books

About the Author, Tara Moss

Tara Moss is a best-selling author of 13 books of fiction and non-fiction, published in 19 countries and 13 languages, a documentary host and award-winning human rights advocate. Moss is an outspoken advocate for the rights of women and children, and people with disabilities. She has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007 and as of 2013 is UNICEF Australia’s National Ambassador for Child Survival.

In the media and through her social media page Tara and Wolfie, she brings advocacy and visibility to issues of disability and chronic pain, and the need to normalize mobility aids. Her in-depth novel research has seen her acquire her PI credentials, tour the FBI Academy at Quantico, spend time in squad cars, morgues, prisons, the Hare Psychopathy Lab, the Supreme Court and criminology conferences, take polygraph tests, shoot weapons, conduct surveillance, pass the Firearms Training Simulator (FATSII) with the LAPD, pull 4.2 G’s doing loops over the Sydney Opera House flying with the RAAF, and acquire her CAMS race driver licence.

Moss is a dual Australian/Canadian citizen, and divides her time between NSW and Vancouver with her husband and daughter. Check out her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2022.

* My receipt of a review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.