"Eve Swift and the Cypher Sore Eyes" By M.K. Crane: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a Kindle copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

M.K. Crane premiered his Eve Swift Wartime Mystery series in 2020 with Eve Swift and the Blitz Bad Wolf which introduced a strong and clever young woman, Evelyn Swift, navigating the pleasures and perils of World War II. He followed up with Eve Swift and the Home Front Horror (2020), then Eve Swift and the Reich Way to Die (2021) and Eve Swift and the Cypher Sore Eye (2022). Set in Norwich, England, northeast of London, the town is plagued by bombing raids by the German Luftwaffe, closely enforced blackouts, daily and nightly air raid sirens, and complications from holing up in a shelter.

Our heroine works as a librarian at the Colman Stree branch with her good friend Joan Popkin and head librarian Mr. Bennett. Eve is also a member of the WVS, Women’s Voluntary Service, doing her part for the war effort serving up a hot cuppa, a warm bun, and a cheery smile and a comfortable shoulder to first responders and the, now, homeless survivors. She’s not shy about diving into the dangers by putting out fires, digging out survivors, or recovering bodies. She lived at home with her mother and father and two younger brothers, but one well-placed afternoon bomb changed everything. PC Harry Giles, a man she’s known since they were kids, is one on whom she can rely, partner with on his or her investigations, and one to whom she’d said yes to marriage. Eve Swift is one of the ‘unsung” heroes.

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Eve Swift and the Cypher Sore Eyes
Earns 5+/5 Secret Codes … Compelling Gem!

Sadly, Eve and Harry’s date was interrupted by the all too frequent sirens sending them instead to an underground shelter. Eve had seen a former schoolmates, Christine, at the pub, but didn’t see her with the others in this particular shelter. The couple she’d been with were there, Matthew and Jenny, and getting Mr. Chapman, the warden frustrated by their drunken playfulness. They’d drawn a caricature of a warden on the wall with the letters “GRG,” and Mr. Chapman loudly took it personal. Harry resisted interfering, but was soon forced to intervene. Eve asked the two about her friend, and the young woman let slip Christine was one always solving puzzles, and the young man explained the letters in the drawing were part of an Atbash cypher; not really appropriate for mixed company.

When the all-clear signal came and partiers returned to the pubs, Eve and Harry sat taking in the fresh night air. Eve thought she saw Jenny going into the pub with a Yank, and wondered about Matthew. Just then, in the distance, coming from the river, they heard a faint whistle and set out to investigate. It was Mr. Chapman who’d blown the alarm about a body he was adamant he saw floating in the shallows. Harry knew Chapman wasn’t one to succumb to a prank, but he swore he’d not be happy splashing in the freezing waters only to retrieve a mannequin. It didn’t take long to find Chapman was right. It was the young man from the shelter … Matthew was dead.

Tip Top! M.K. Crane’s fourth book in his Eve Swift Wartime Mystery series is an exciting drama focusing on life during WWII through the eyes of an idealistic, yet talented, protagonist, Eve Swift. She’s very clever, smokes cigarettes, enjoys wearing pants, sees her investigating as more than just a hobby, rarely jumps to conclusions, and relies on some unconventional resources: Ma Stanley’s third eye visions. Of course, it’s obvious that the one who discovers the body is the first to be scrutinized, and Mr. Chapman did have a conflict with the victim, but Eve disagrees with his arrest and is much more curious about the victim’s friends, encrypted notes, shocking secrets, and a young girl missing. It gets more complex at Ivybank, where Matthew lived along with his friends, where Eve and Harry are met with more subterfuge, the enigmatic Mr. and Mrs. Mann, and the feeling that more is going on “for King and Country.” Several cyphers are explored in the story which was a fascinating element.

M.K. Crane has an easy-to-read style, in Eve’s first-person perspective, with a clever and entertaining mystery playing out with WWII as a backdrop. The manner under which the characters live is filled with dangers from the bombing raids and loss of loved ones, of course, but readers are submerged into the other issues surrounding food shortages, black market, Yanks involvement, and limited tech methods in their investigation. Albert Stanley is a great character, a bit of a cheeky devil, and enamored with Eve, but she’s not a push over to his sexual innuendos, and will give as good as she gets with snarky retorts and is not shy of kicking him in the shins. Excellent!

Eve Swift Wartime Mystery

Eve Swift and the Blitz Bad Wolf (2020)

Eve Swift and the Home Front Horror (2020)

Eve Swift and the Reich Way to Die (2021)

Eve Swift and the Crypt Sore Eye (2022)

To enter to win a Kindle copy of Eve Swift and the Cypher Sore Eyes, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "swift,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 15, 2023. US & UK residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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