Good mystery, Post WWII period, concerns the mysterious death of a former german prisoner of war living in england and other entanglements.
Best known in America for her brilliantly imagined twelfth-century Benedictine monk/detective, Brother Cadfael, Ellis Peters has also enthralled fans on both sides of the Atlantic with her superbly constructed stories featuring British police detective George Felse. Inspector Felse first appeared in what has since been called a classic of the genre, "Fallen into the Pit." Never before available in the United States, this multilayered, most ingenious whodunit is long-awaited and, as mystery fans will soon discover, well worth waiting for.
"Understand me once and for all, fighting is something not to be considered short of a life-and-death matter.... it proves nothing. It solves nothing," Chad Wedderburn tells thirteen-year-old Dominic Felse. A classics master who fought with the Resistance, Wedderburn came home to Comerford to teach school. Ironically, when the peace of the little village is shattered by the murder of a former German prisoner of war,, it is the peaceful Wedderburn who becomes the primary suspect.
Police Sergeant George Felse is deeply disturbed that his son Dominic is the one who discovers the body, and that the boy has begun doggedly pursuing clues in Comerford's isolated countryside. Murder is a deadly business, and the closer young Felse comes to the truth, the more likely he is to become a victim himself. His father knows this all too well, and for the first time in his career his personal life is threatened by his policeman's duties.
The author took the time to develop the characters before getting into the crime/mystery. The plot moved along more slowly than plots today, but had more substance. By reading the book, I got a feel for what post-WWII in England was like. And I learned some new terms (such as "collier"). Am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series.
This first book in the Sergeant Felse series is so different than Ellis Peter's Cadfael series that at times I thought it must be by a different author. At times it seemed to bog down into what I consider to be the least attractive characteristic of English mystery authors - too much discussion of matters not pertaining to the plot.
Still, other parts were fascinating - especially the last few chapters - and I plan to continue reading in this series. At least, the two other books that I have on hand, before I make a final decision on whether to read them all.