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Posted January 20, 2011
A mystery that gets deeper and deeper
The Return of Captain John Emmett is set in England about three years after WWI has ended. It's more than a mystery, it's an exploration of a whole set of societal issues resulting from the First World War, among them how to move on with life after so much death, how to mourn, and how to integrate one's self before the war into one's self afterward. I'd call it "psychological historical mystery."
Characterization and conversation carries the story as Laurence Bartram, a veteran of the war, tries to find out why John Emmet died as he did. His investigations spread outward through a far-ranging network of people with whom John interacted in his last years; the more knowledge Laurance has, the more complex the mystery grows, and the more he himself must face his own experience of the war.
I particularly enjoyed the well-integrated historical detail. Recommended.
9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 14, 2012
Posted May 24, 2014
I have been a big fan of books by Jacqueline Winspear, so when I
I have been a big fan of books by Jacqueline Winspear, so when I noticed another reader/reviewer recommend books by Elizabeth Speller, I gave them a try. I'm very glad I did. I like books based in this time period (pre- and post-WWI. What I really liked about this book and the next by Speller is the unfolding of the many stories in addition to the main one. Not really solving mysteries so much as uncovering facts. Keep reading to the last page to find the true ending. I very much look forward to the third in this series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2013
This could almost be labeled amateur sleuth, but it doesn't have
This could almost be labeled amateur sleuth, but it doesn't have the same feel as others I've read. It felt more like historical mystery along the lines of Maisie Dobbs, written by Jacqueline Winspear. That may only be because of the time the book is set, after WWI.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Soldiers have come home from the war in various states of wellness or injury. This is also a view of the class system in England and the changes that were occurring.
Laurence Bartram is at odds with his life. He's home from the war, his wife and child died while he was fighting. He has enough money to set aside to live reasonably well without having to immediately find a job. He's writing a book about the architecture of the churches in England. Then he hears from the sister of an old schoolmate. Mary wants Laurence to find out why her brother committed suicide. He came home mentally exhausted from the war, but was doing so much better at the convalescent home where he was recovering. Then Emmett's body is found, dead from what looks to be a self-inflicted wound.
Mary thinks that Laurence must have been closer to him than she. Added to the fact that they both fought in the war, maybe Laurence has insight into what might have caused the death.
Laurence and his friend Charles proceed to investigate, finding out more than they originally imagined would be the story.
There's human greed and pettiness causing more grief and death even among the allies.
I loved this slow moving book. I immediately bought the second in the series and I can't wait to read the next.
Posted July 22, 2013
Posted August 16, 2014
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Posted December 2, 2012
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