2015: Out of the Blackout

"When the train containing the children pulled into Yeasdon Station it was nearly fours late."

Out of the Blackout, Robert Barnard

So, I did something a little shady, which was to read about it in the Bas Bleu catalogue, and then buy it on Amazon.com, but my mom didn't give me a Bas Bleu gift card she gave me an Amazon card.  Sorry, ladies who curate my reading at the Bas Bleu catalogue - I will make it up to you at Christmas time. And I will link your site here, in case anyone reads this.  

Regardless, this is a good mystery - in fact, I've enjoyed everything I've read from this Felony & Mayhem press, and I encourage you to seek them out if you like mysteries generally.  The premise is that, during the blitz and evacuations to London, a small boy shows up in a rural town with no identification.  He's not on the list, and he refuses to tell his name.  A nice family takes him in (a childless couple that always wanted a boy), and though they try to figure out who he is, eventually he becomes one of them.  Wartime strictures make it difficult to solve the mystery of his identity, and he moves on.  And he thrives!! He gets a scholarship to Oxford, he becomes a zoologist.  Basically a happy tale.  But one day, in the 1960's, when he is visiting London, he turns down a street and sees a door that is familiar, and soon he finds himself trying to unpack his own past, despite himself.

I just loved the premise (reminded me of the young adult classic Searching for Shona!), and I loved the writing.  Despite a sort of implausible situation, the people seemed like real people - some pleasant and some very unpleasant.  And though there is a mystery at the center, it's not super violent - I was worried at one point that it was going to go all thriller-y, in a boring unrealistic way, but it didn't - instead the outcome was realistic and interesting.  I'll definitely read another book by Barnard - he seems to specialize in period mysteries, and I'm always interested in that. 

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017