Ireland, near Dublin
To thirteen-year-old Brendan Lavelle, his father is a hero. Highly decorated in the First World War, John Lavelle is now the town's respected doctor. But then Brendan discovers pages of a diary his father had written during the Gallipoli campaign.
The evidence points to some sort of conspiracy involving other members of the small town community and the murder of one of their colleagues. Brendan sets himself the task of seeking the truth of this mystery – aided by the sassy Maura, a girl a little older than he with a reputation of being a bit strange - even though it leads to Brendan doubting his father's integrity. He and Maura slowly piece together the clues which lead them to a dangerous and chilling conclusion and denouement.
What I really liked about this book was the sheer consistency of the author's writing in presenting the world through the eyes of a young child, perfectly mixed with Maura's more worldly outlook and experience.
My only quibble is with the extracts from John Lavelle's diary which are printed in a different font, one that more resembles handwriting, which I found a little difficult to read, especially as many common words are reduced to abbreviations to add to the idea that it (the diary) had been written quickly and in difficult circumstances. However, there is not too much of this.
The cover is simple but effective: a young child, wide-eyed and innocent and two shadowy figures as a background.
All in all, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, well written , full of description and evocative.
© Richard Tearle
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