A young codebreaker at Arlington Hall - the secret WWII Signals Intelligence unit in Washington DC - joins forces with other female codebreakers to hunt a murderer who is killing US government girls. Another page-turning YA thriller from the author of None Shall Sleep, perfect for fans of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.
'Miss Sutherland … what would you say if I told you I might be able to offer you a job helping the war effort?'
1943. World War II is raging across Europe and on the Pacific front. Kit Sutherland is hiding a huge secret when she is unexpectedly recruited to work as a young codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a US Signals Intelligence facility.
When Kit's roommate doesn't return home from a dance, it sparks a search that ends in a gruesome discovery. And soon it turns into a horrifying pattern: Government girls are being murdered in Washington, DC.
Kit joins forces with three other girl codebreakers, Dottie, Moya and Violet, and as they work to crack the killer's code, two things become terrifyingly clear: the murderer they're hunting is getting closer every moment … and Kit's own secret could put her in more jeopardy than she ever imagined.
Kathleen and Katherine have gone everywhere together for the last few years. Kathleen, who comes from a very poor family, was hired to be a maid and carer for Katherine Sutherland, a girl suffering from a terrible illness, who comes from a very wealthy family. But after spending four years together, Kathleen and Katherine had become close friends too during their time living at the boarding school Arlington Hall. Now, with Katherine on death’s door, she insists that when the time comes Kathleen must assume her identity and build a better life for herself - and not remain as a maid forever.
When Katherine passes away just as the school is being closed, Kathleen decides to take a chance and become Katherine or “Kit”. When she meets two incoming girls who are to work at Arlington Hall as government code breakers, they soon convince Kit to work there too. The team are making progress, and Kit is making friends and enjoying herself - well, at least she was until a girl is brutally murdered, and she discovers the crime scene.
When Kit’s ruse is discovered by Violet, a fellow code breaker working in the African-American Unit who used to work at the school, her new identity is also in danger. When Violet tells Kit that her friend has also been murdered, suddenly they have a serial killer on their hands, and the police are doing nothing about it. No one is safe. The girls must attempt to crack the Japanese codes during their work hours, whilst trying to unmask the killer in their spare time. Can they succeed before more girls die?
Set in 1942, when America had entered the war and were fighting the Japanese, this is a terrific work of historical fiction. With themes of war, code breaking and the power of working together it is a wonderful mystery thriller, however with some rather graphic crime scene depictions it would be best suited to readers 15 and older.
Reviewed by Rob