Flanders, June 1917: a British officer and celebrated poet, is shot dead, killed not by German fire, but while recuperating from shell shock well behind the lines. A young English soldier is arrested and, although he protests his innocence, charged with his murder.
Douglas Kingsley is a conscientious objector, previously a detective with the London police, now imprisoned for his beliefs. He is released and sent to France in order to secure a conviction. Forced to conduct his investigations amidst the hell of The Third Battle of Ypres, Kingsley soon discovers that both the evidence and the witnesses he needs are quite literally disappearing into the mud that surrounds him.Ben Elton's tenth novel is a gut-wrenching historical drama which explores some fundamental questions. What is murder? What is justice in the face of unimaginable daily slaughter? And where is the honour in saving a man from the gallows if he is only to be returned to die in a suicidal battle?
As the gap between legally-sanctioned and illegal murder becomes ever more blurred, Kingsley quickly learns that the first casualty when war comes is truth.
©2005 Ben Elton (P)2009 Random House Audio
Brings out the horrors of war coupled with a great story. Can't wait to listen to the Two Brothers by the same author. Also very well read
I really enjoyed this intriguing "who dunit" set during the First World War. The background of history and politics added to an excellent murder mystery. Just one warning, there are a couple passages that are a bit explicit for the younger or easily embarrassed reader. Generally though Ben Elton did a great job of showing the stark reality of the Great War without descending into the gory.
"Excellent mix of crime and war"
Really enjoyed this mix of crime investigation set against the backdrop of the trenches in the first world war.
A little far fetched sometimes in that the hero of the story seems to be able to 'roam' around no mans land at will. Without coming to any harm but an easy read
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