Rag and Bone

by James R. Benn (a Billy Boyle mystery)

From: Debbie Majka, ACPC President

[pix here] I have just finished reading an historical novel entitled, "Rag and Bone", authored by James R. Benn. It's described as a WWII mystery, which you might find enjoyable, but why I bring it to your attention is that it includes a great deal of information about the Katyn massacre--accurately--I might add.

From the description, "Billy Boyle, an Irish-American Boston cop turned U.S. Army detective is sent to London to investigate the murder of a Soviet embassy official. Billy's uncle Ike--aka General Eisenhhower--is taking the murder seriously, wanting to avoid a breach with the Russian allies.

But just a little digging reveals to Billy that this is no ordinary murder. The Russian was killed in exactly the same way 20,000 Polish officers were executed at a recent hushed-up massacre at Katyn Forest--by Soviet secret police, under orders from America's ally, Stalin. Is a killer out there targeting Soviet officials as revenge for the Polish lives lost at the Katyn massacre?

I hope I've piqued your interest. I wrote to the author to thank and commend him for including the Katyn massacre into his novel. His response below:

From: James R. Benn


Thank you very much for your note. It means a lot to me to hear from you and that the story I told may help illuminate the truth.

I was moved to base one of the Billy Boyle mysteries on the Katyn Forest Massacre because I wanted to personalize the story for those who don't know of it. There have been other books which have used the incident as background, but I wanted to show readers what it was like - hence the story of poor Tadeusz, a fictional 'survivor'.

When I give book talks about Rag and Bone, I ask the audience to raise their hands if they know what happened at Katyn. Maybe ten percent do so. Then I ask how many people remember the airplace crash back in April when numerous members of the Polish government were killed. Almost all raise their hands. They remember the TV image, but not the reason for it. I think it terribly important to repair that disconnect between our past and our present, not only in regard to Katyn but to all of past that is forgotten. History has a long hand, and still reaches out to us.

Again, my humble thanks for your note.

Jim Benn