The Return of Captain John Emmett
Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt, Jul 5 2011, $26.00
In 1920, Laurence Bartram still struggles though three years have passed since he saw combat on the continent. The war and a family tragedy have left the widower a shell of his former self. He hides in London not wanting to see anyone.
A former girlfriend Mary Emmett sends him a note informing him that her brother John who served as an officer committed suicide at a veteran’s hospital. She wants to know why her sibling killed himself. Thinking of Mary and John, Laurence accompanied by his only friend Charles Carfax investigates the death of John. They quickly learn Emmett was involved in the execution of an officer who was court martialed for desertion. More clues follow as the daunting duet deduce what happened, but more regiment deaths follow.
This is a terrific post WWI thriller starring a hero who suffers from battle fatigue, but regains some equilibrium when he receives Mary’s message. The deadly investigation forces Bartram to look inside at the demons from his combat experiences that haunt him. Although the inquiry depends on luck at key moments, fans will appreciate the two amateur sleuths seeking the truth as to whether Emmett was murdered or committed suicide.