"Rag and Bone" is author James Benn's fifth novel in his Billy Boyle series. Boyle, a Boston cop drafted into the US army during WW2, is saved from front-line duty by his relationship to an American general, who pulls some strings in book #1 and places Billy on his staff as a sort-of "personal cop". The general - "Uncle Ike" to Billy - is, of course, Dwight Eisenhower.
Ike is only one of the real-life characters Benn blends in with his fictional ones. Billy, from a family of smart Irish cops, finds himself involved in crimes from Ireland to north Africa. His "solve rate" is pretty good because he keeps returning, book after book. Benn's series writing is not always even. I've liked some books slightly better than others, but in this one, Benn turns in five-star writing.
Billy's job in "Rag and Bone" is to solve a murder of a Russian diplomat in London in 1944. About this time, news of the Katyn Massacre, the murder of 22,000 Polish officers by the Russians in mid-1940, has been leaking out. The Russians have blamed the Germans (who actually found the bodies in the Katyn forest near Smolensk) but the Poles know the truth about Soviet responsibility and are trying to get the British and the Americans to acknowledge the Russian complicity. Not so easy, as the Soviet Union is an ally of the British and the Americans and are fighting the Germans on the Eastern Front. The Soviets are keeping the Germans busy on in the east while the allies are planning the invasion of France, to make a two-front war for the Germans.
Politics, history, and patriotism all combine to make Billy's job difficult. More Russian diplomats are killed, smuggling-rings are exposed, and everyone's allegiance is suspect. Benn gives an excellent accounting of civilian life in England as well as military maneuvers of the war. This is Benn's best book so far. And an altogether excellent read.