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The Return of Captain John Emmett by…

The Return of Captain John Emmett

by Elizabeth Speller

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3062536,480 (3.74)36

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Should be nearer 4 stars - so frustrating only having 5 stars to choose from..... Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very well written. Complicated but the author did such a good job of steering me through the complications I didn't need to do a flow chart as I do with many books. Took a long time wrapping up the story and at the time I thought too long - but a day later I'm not feeling in such a rush! Is she planning a sequel? I got quite excited at the description of Birmingham university clock tower which I was for the first time a week ago myself! And the poetry struck a chord too. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
I enjoyed this mystery overall and found it much deeper and more logical than the Bess Crawford series (also set around WWI) I read some months ago, but it still felt flawed. Speller has a fabulous eye for detail, and she truly makes the time period come alive. The mood is brilliant. Sometimes it seems overly complicated, though, and pages are spent on explaining things. The protagonist isn't the brightest bulb. I think I really would have preferred the book told through the POV of his friend Charlie, who is a much more engaging character.

There's also a brief visit with a prostitute early on that squicked me with gross detail--and it was utterly unnecessary to the book. It's there for realism, I'm sure, but it wasn't NEEDED.

I am glad I kept reading beyond that because the mystery was engaging, but at the same time, I really have no desire to read onward in the series. ( )
  ladycato | Jun 13, 2014 |
Well written, the feel of the era done so well. ( )
  joeyr | Mar 15, 2014 |
Good mystery! Good characters! Interesting background! I really enjoyed this book. I like books about this time period, just after WWI. There were a couple of times I had to reread a paragraph because the pronouns were unclear, but it didn't detract from the page turning quality of the book. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Just started this book and although I am only 20 pages in and some might find it a bit of slow-starter, I am enjoying this work.

Gave up forty pages later. The enjoyable slow start turned into complete and utter drudgery.

Do not recommend. ( )
  AutumnTurner | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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For my brother, Richard, and for my nephews Dominic, Tristan, William, Barnaby and Charlie, who, had they been born exactly one hundred years earlier, might all have found themselves on the Western Front.
You were only David's father,
But I had fifty sons,
When we went up in the evening
Under the arch of the guns.

Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh
(died Cambrai 1917)
First words
In years to come, Laurence Bartram would look back and think that the event that really changed everything was not the war, nor the attack at Rosieres, nor even the loss of his wife, but the return of John Emmett into his life.
They gathered in the dark long before the train arrived at the small station. (Prologue)
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1920. The Great War has been over for two years, and it has left a very different world from the Edwardian certainties of 1914. Following the death of his wife and baby and his experiences on the Western Front, Laurence Bartram has become something of a recluse. Yet death and the aftermath of the conflict continue to cast a pall over peacetime England, and when a young woman he once knew persuades him to look into events that apparently led her brother, John Emmett, to kill himself, Laurence is forced to revisit the darkest parts of the war. As Laurence unravels the connections between Captain Emmett's suicide, a group of war poets, a bitter regimental feud and a hidden love affair, more disquieting deaths are exposed. Even at the moment Laurence begins to live again, it dawns on him that nothing is as it seems, and that even those closest to him have their secrets ...
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Mary Emmett's brother John, an officer during the recently ended World War I, has apparently killed himself while in the care of a remote veterans' hospital, and Mary needs to know why. She contacts an old flame, Laurence Bartram, who has turned his back on the world to help her find answers.… (more)

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