After a 10-year hiatus from print, during which he was seen only on television (in The Artful Detective), Detective William Murdoch resurfaces, older, wiser, and sadder, in 1917 Toronto, amid the fear and losses of World War I.
Murdoch’s beloved wife, Amy, was lost in childbirth years ago, but he still has his son, Jack, now 21 and back from the war in one piece, or so it seems. Jack’s physical ailments are no worse than a lingering cough from the gas, but he’s silent and withdrawn, spending all his time with his comrade in arms Percy McKinnon. Unbeknownst to Murdoch, Jack and Percy are gambling, drinking illicit hooch, and smoking opium in the back of a Chinese laundry and anywhere else they can get into trouble. Murdoch is distracted from the reunion with his troubled son by the apparently random murder of a young man while the city is buffeted by the pacifists who decry the violence of the war and those who shame the cowardice of young men not in uniform. Meanwhile, though a part of Murdoch will always mourn Amy, he does begin to notice how the clever work and kindness of Constable Madge Curnoe brighten his days. But when two more young men, both civilians, are found dead, a horrible pattern emerges. Can Murdoch prevent battlefield carnage from coming to the homefront?
Jennings (Dead Ground in Between, 2016, etc.) provides a melancholy and nuanced meditation on the war and a welcome return for fans of this long-dormant series.