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The Return of Captain John Emmett

The Return of Captain John Emmett - Elizabeth Speller, Matthew Brenher It is just after WWI, when Captain John Emmett returns home to his family, and finds he cannot adjust to his life. The tragedy of events that he witnessed, during the war, have severely damaged his psyche. After an assault arrest, he is sent to a nursing home where it is hoped he will get well.
Laurence Bartram, himself just returned from the war, discovering that his wife and child have died during his absence, is also lost in his own thoughts and private world. He and John were schoolmates once, years ago, and have lost touch. When he receives a letter from Mary Emmett, John’s sister, he is surprised. She wants him to investigate the circumstances surrounding her brother’s death so that she can understand what he did and why. He was the only friend, ever brought home by John, and so she reaches out to him. She and Laurence had met when they were younger and had emotionally connected, but the war intervened and the moment was lost.
During the war, a tragic event took place that sets a mysterious chain of events in motion. Looking for information about John’s suicide, leads Laurence on a labyrinthine journey, that with its myriad twists and turns will excite and hold the reader’s attention. Conspiracy theories abound and will have the reader guessing in one direction or another, usually, the wrong one, lol.
This mystery is loosely based on a real wartime event. The ending is quite surprising. As secrets unfold, you will ask yourself how far will a father go to avenge a son’s death? Is behavior during wartime acceptable even if it is unjust? Is unrequited love worth pursuing? Are the emotional consequences of wartime actions properly addressed, even today?
The reader is really good but this book would be better in print so the reader could look back to recall the importance and identity of the many characters in the narrative. That said, I simply listened to this book straight through, it was that engaging. I could not stop until the end.