Book of the month
Stephanie Graves is the author of Olive Bright, Pigeoneer and its forthcoming sequel, as well as four novels under the pseudonym Alyssa Goodnight. As a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, she worked in Austin as a product engineer on automotive application microcontrollers before returning to Houston and becoming the mom of two boys. She is a self-professed connoisseur of British mysteries of all sorts and has done extensive research on the little-known role of pigeons during the war, as well as the Special Operations Executive, particularly their school for sabotage, Station XVII: Brickendonbury Manor.

Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.


Pigeons and the role they played in WWII prompted a long-standing fascination for author Stephanie Graves, and the idea of a novel centered on the heroic efforts of these amazing birds had been fluttering in the back of her mind for fifteen years. The result of that fixation is the captivating historical mystery Olive Bright, Pigeoneer, the story of a vibrant 22-year-old veterinary student and pigeon fancier. As WWII breaks out, she’s evacuated from London back to her small hometown village in the English countryside, but her desire to make a difference in the world only grows stronger… 


Adrift since her best friend, George, joined the Royal Air Force, Olive Bright fills her days in Pipley by helping at her father’s veterinary practice and tending to her beloved racing pigeons. Desperate to do her bit, Olive hopes the National Pigeon Service will enlist Bright Lofts’ expertise and use their highly trained birds to deliver critical, coded messages for His Majesty’s Forces. But the strangers who arrive in Pipley are not from the NPS—instead, Jameson Aldridge and his associate are tied to a covert British intelligence organization known as Baker Street.


If Olive wants her pigeons to help the war effort, she must do so in complete secrecy. But the village of Pipley in Hertfordshire soon must deal with another mystery when local busybody Miss Husselbee is found dead outside Olive’s pigeon loft. Is the murder tied to Olive’s new assignment? Or did Miss Husselbee finally succeed in ferreting out a secret shameful enough to kill for? With the gruff, handsome Jameson as an unlikely ally, Olive intends to find out—but homing in on a murderer can be a deadly business…


For more information on the role of pigeons in WWII, the history behind this novel, extra content from the author, and even the infamous Spam Cake recipe, download your free copy of the Olive Bright, Pigeoneer companion booklet HERE!:

This discussion guide was posted in partnership with Kensington Publishing.


Before reading Olive Bright, Pigeoneer, what did you know about homing pigeons used in World War II? Can you name additional animals that have served in times of war? After reading this book, do you feel the same about pigeons as you did before?

In the first chapter, Olive’s father tells her, “You always did want to be smack in the centre of things. Just like your mother. Sometimes, my dear, it’s more courageous to be the one left behind.” What does this quote mean to you? Literally and metaphorically, is it sometimes more courageous to be left behind? Why?

After setting up for the Daffodil Dance, Olive tells the shy librarian Rose Darling, “The world is in an uproar as it is—I suspect there’s not one of us who will emerge from this war unchanged—so you may as well take advantage. Let them see who you really are and what you’re capable of.” In what ways did Olive take her own advice? How does this quote apply to what is going on in today’s world?


Olive Bright, Pigeoneer

“A delightful classic village mystery studded with little-known World War II facts: a promising series debut.” Kirkus Reviews


“Graves smoothly integrates the little-known story of the wartime pigeon service into the intriguing plot. Readers will look forward to seeing more of smart, energetic, and witty Olive.” —Publishers Weekly


Olive Bright, Pigeoneer is the perfect escape read for troubled times. The classic village mystery with its quirky cast of characters, including pigeons, plus the heightened danger of WWII.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of the Royal Spyness mysteries plus the #1 international bestselling The Tuscan Child


“From literary-themed pigeons to a cozy village seething with dark secrets and populated by a delightful cast of characters, Olive Bright, Pigeoneer is fresh, original, and sure to enchant. An absolute winner!” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of A Murderous Relation