Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea." Francois La Rochefoucauld
It is 1921, England is still recovering from WWI and war wounded are visible throughout the land. What cannot be seen is those who are psychologically wounded and in need of help.
Colonel Fletcher and his wife and two staff members are murdered in Surrey, England.
The local police believe that this was a case of robbery and violence. Inspector John Madden is brought in from Scotland Yard. He sees the scene and knows it is something more. He's spent time in the trenches and knows that this is the crime of a psychopath who will probably strike again.
John Madden is a well developed protagonist. He's knowledgeable and determined to find the killer. His personal history is brought in nicely so that the reader gets to know him and sympathise with him as a character. The respect in which he is held by his assistant, Billy Styles, gives credibility to his keen knowledge both of people and of crime.
The setting is rural England, which is nicely described and realistic. In fact, the author could be writing a screen adaptation because his descriptions are so vivid.
As is the case with many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan today, I believe that the author is telling his readers how little post traumatic syndrome is known and what psychological impact it can have on a person.
A most enjoyable read.