Tag: Michael Gilbert

Review – Death in Captivity

Posted September 15, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Death in Captivity by Michael GilbertDeath in Captivity, Michael Gilbert

Oof, I find talking about this one… complicated. Michael Gilbert was a prisoner of war during World War II, so in this story set in a prison camp in Italy, he knows exactly what he’s writing about. And that shows. It’s not like some war stories written nowadays where the gritty detail is intended to evoke a sense of hopelessness and despair: instead, it’s his matter-of-factness about the details and the shape of daily life that makes me feel a little crushed, reading it. Things often don’t seem so bad, kind of normal, and then atrocities casually happen.

As a result, it was a reading experience that I more appreciated than enjoyed, if that makes sense. It’s an inspired setting for a murder mystery, and Gilbert’s writing is… perhaps not the most descriptive, picture-painting stuff, but it makes things very clear, and for all that it’s matter of fact, the sense of life in the PoW camp really did come through.

As for the mystery… well. I don’t want to say too much, but I was disappointed by the solution — not because it didn’t make sense or anything, but just because it was more of that awful war-time mood. Not unexpected, not a bad twist to the story, nothing like that. Just… very WWII.

Rating: 3/5

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