Bast Press (2008)
Reviewed by Sandie Kirkland for RebeccasReads (1/09)
The Woman In The Wing is a mystery that follows the adventures of Charlotte Mercer and other members of the WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) during World War II. This organization, made up entirely of women, was loosely attached to the Air Force and did routine flying missions within the United States, such as delivering planes to new locations, or towing targets for gun practice, so that male pilots in the Air Force would be freed for fighting missions overseas. The women in the WASP were not considered full service people, and had no benefits such as medical insurance or even money to cover funerals when a woman died during a mission. Still, women flocked to serve, as opportunities to fly and serve the country were rare. Charlotte, know as Char, is crushed when weeks from getting her wings, she encounters an Air Force Major who refuses to pass her for graduation unless she performs sexual favors for him.
When Char refuses, she is taken off the flying rotation and given an alternate assignment. She is assigned to work undercover in a plant that builds aircraft and has been experiencing sabotage and accidents. Char is to room with an FBI agent named Ellie, and they work at riveting plane wings while trying to discover the spy responsible for the problems. People start to die, both plant employees and women pilots, and the book revolves around the investigation until the spy is captured at the book's climax.
This book is recommended, both for mystery fans and for those interested in World War II history. While I'd heard of the stereotype of Rosie the Riveter, and the work these women performed, I had never heard of the WASP, and the women who served their country in this fashion. I found the history as interesting as the plotline, and welcomed the chance to learn more about a time that helped lay the groundwork for the women's liberation movement in the next generation.