These mysteries set post WWI are becoming a genre in their own right - think Jacqueline Winspear, Frances Brody, Charles Todd ... no doubt there are others I haven't discovered yet. Elizabeth Speller chucks in all the usual ingredients of shell shock, firing squads, feisty nurses etc etc - in fact I think she throws in a bit too many of these elements and I wonder what is left for her second book. She writes well though, perhaps the best among the above named, and both I and my husband enjoyed this book - I always think it is a good sign when a book appeals to both men and women. These books set in the aftermath of war can have a tendency to incline towards "misery fiction" but Elizabeth Speller does allow at least some of her characters to have some glimmers of light and hope in their lives and I like the way she shows over the course of the book how Captain Bartram begins to look to the future again. This makes the book a more enjoyable read (to me at least) than say the Charles Todd books where the unfortunate policeman Rutledge has to endure having the voice of the dead Hamish in his head. Having said that it does none of us any harm to remember what this generation had to go through; the horrors of WWI, the ghastliness of life without the welfare state in the 20's and 30's, and then, after a mere 20 years, the apocalypse of fascism and war yet again. People of my generation need to remember how lucky most of us have been ... how would we have fared had we been tested as these poor souls were? In conclusion, I'd recommend this book as a good mystery , exploring serious issues, and sensitively written.
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