Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

The Return of Captain John Emmett is a mystery novel set in post-Great War London. Laurence Bartram, an officer in the war, is trying to get on with his life when he receives a letter from a Mary Emmett, sister to John Emmett, an old school friend of Laurence's. She informs Laurence that her brother has killed himself while in a veterans' hospital and wants Laurence's help in understanding why.

Laurence, in a quest to help Mary, starts digging into John's past, which soon leads him in the mysterious pasts of others from the war. He starts thinking that perhaps John didn't kill himself, after all. He senses secrets are being kept and there is something much larger going on.

For a mystery novel, there wasn't much action. John, with the help of a friend named Charles, goes around asking questions. People seem to easily open up, perhaps relieved that they can unburden themselves with things they've kept inside for ages. There is a lot of dialogue.

As the story goes on, things start to steadily unfold, and I wasn't sure exactly where the story was going for a while, but I was intrigued. I found the end satisfying. While the mystery was solved, other parts of the story were not tied up in a neat little bow, which I liked, and it was a nice ending.