A Study in Stone by Michael Campling was (surprise, surprise!) a free ebook from Amazon's Kindle store - again, the first of a series, to make readers interested in the following books. I liked it well enough to consider reading on, also because this freebie was relatively short at 126 pages, and the main characters are interesting and a bit off the beaten track for me.
Dan Corrigan seeks the peace and quiet of a remote village after suffering the pressures of corporate life for too long. On a visit to the nearest town, a coded message engraved on a slab of stone piques his interest - and he discovers not only the truth behind the message, but also that he has not really lost his sharp mind and problem-solving skills.
I liked the way Dan's character is portrayed and how he strucks up a friendship with one of his new neighbours, also how the practicalities of the remote village setting are addressed (peaceful and quiet it may be, but where does one get a decent coffee here?).
The mystery involved is not about a current murder investigation, like most other mysteries I have been reading, but touches on subjects in the not so distant past - we are talking the Great War here, and how deserters were treated. What we know today as post-traumatic disorder was not really understood back then, and same as refusers, deserters were considered cowards and criminals, deserving the severest punishment.
I remember that during my visit to Richmond in 2016, we briefly looked at an exhibition in one of the ground floor wings of the buildings there. The centenary of the Great War was only 2 years ago then, and the exhibition from 2014 showed the cells where refusers were held and offered information about how they were dealt with. It was all rather horrible and sad, and at the time I did not blog about that particular aspect of my visit, but it has certainly had an impact on me.
Back to the book and the author: As I said, this was the 1st of a series, The Devonshire Mysteries. Michael Campling has his own website here; it is well worth a visit.