A British Mystery
THE JOURNAL OF HARRY SOMERVILLE
by Haydn Jones
This book starts a little slow, but within a few brief chapters a twenty-year old mystery is revealed. It will take another ten years to solve it.
There's a dark mystery in the English countryside and a young transient named Luke must search through the past and the present to uncover the man who wronged both him as well as his only friend.
The book consists of numerous short chapters and it hops to and from different time periods. But this is intended, and adds to the mystery. Luke and the other characters are sympathetic and likable and you care what happens to them.
About three-quarters of the way in, the mystery seems to solve itself rather neatly and with virtually no effort by the main characters. But in fact, this only leads to a new mystery—or rather, a revelation that would put any soap opera to shame!
I call this book a mystery because the hero spends a great deal of time trying to find the truth. But there's also a spectral presence, though I'd be loath to call it a horror story. The ending is a tad soap-opery, but nicely handled. A few loose ends are left unanswered, like who stabbed Luke and what ever happened to his friend who supposedly kills the bad guy?
There are quite a few unnecessary commas throughout. And a couple things got past the spellchecker, like “her” for “here”. At one point, Christmas of 1971 is amusingly followed by January, 1970. And did the British use the word 'okay' in 1942? They certainly use it today. But these errors are few and detract very little from the story.