World War I vet Bert Mowbray takes a train to Dorset one summer day in 1919, hoping to find a decent job. From the train window he sees his wife and two small children, in the company of a strange man—but his family was reportedly killed by bombs over London in 1916. Frantic and angry, he searches high and low, but they're nowhere to be found. He falls asleep under a tree, only to be awakened by the constable who is arresting him—for his wife's murder.

Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge, another WWI vet, to investigate the case. Rutledge is struck by several inconsistencies and begins to think Mowbray is delusional, suffering from shell shock. Haunted by his own war experiences, Rutledge delves deeper and discovers that other young women have been reported missing from the area.

With the local police demanding Mowbray's arrest, Rutledge pushes on, bringing the case to its tragic conclusion.

Sensitively written and intelligently plotted, SEARCH THE DARK is a magnificent story of the lost generation and the agonies they suffered. As compelling as a Hemingway novel, this book totally involves the reader in the characters and their fates. (May, 304 pp., $5.99—Hardcover published June 1999)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg