Serendipitously I came across the first Charlie Bassett novel, "Tuesday's War", whilst googling on the BOAC wartime flights to Portugal that featured in the novel "The Eldorado Network" by another gifted author of WWII stories, Derek Robinson. On the evidence of his first book and this one, Mr Fiddimore deserves to be ranked up there with the great DR - his novels crackle and fizz with wit and humour, some of it deep black.
Charlie's War (which also echoes the title of one of my favourite comic strips, "Charley's War" by Mills & Colquhoun) follow the progress of Charlie Bassett across France, Holland and Germany in a Humber staff car called Kate, during the tail end of WWII. This unusual road-trip take place at the behest of the parents of the enigmatic Grace Baker, the heroine of the previous novel who disappears from Charlie's life at its end.
Fiddimore borrows from his own family background with the plot of this novel, and that intimate knowledge shows in the rich, detailed description of the anarchic world of the newly-liberated "rear areas" through which Charlie passes on his quest. A world where anything and everything is for sale, and fortunes can be made if you know the right people. Where life is vivid, dangerous, and lived for the minute. A number of real-life people make cameos, and along the way Fiddimore comes up with a more than plausible conspiracy theory too.
Highly recommended. Can't wait for the final novel of the triolgy!