I do not know why I have only read post World War I series. I do believe there was a more powerful sense of waste after that war which is reflected in each series. There were better reasons for fighting World War II.
The closest series involving World War II are the novels of Alan Furst but the books I have read by Furst either take place either before the war or early in the war.
Going by alphabetical order the post World War I series are:
1.) The Rennie Airth series with Inspector Madden;
2.) The Charles Todd series of Inspector Rutledge
and Hamish McLeod;
3.) The Charles Todd new series with nurse Bess
Crawford as the sleuth; and,
4.) The Jacqueline Winspear series with the
enigmatic Maisie Dobbs.
Each series is set in England and the sleuth had participated in the Great War and had been profoundly affected by the experience. The feelings of loss were intense for veterans of the First World War. The percentage of loss of life among the combatants was greater in World War I.
Possibly readers of the blog can suggest mystery series whose sleuths are World War II veterans similarly influenced by their war service.
Of the series quartet my favourite series has been the Inspector Rutledge series, especially the early books. The first time I read Hamish speaking to Rutledge inside his head a chill shivered down my spine.
Two of the books in different series have been Bill’s Best of the Year in Fiction. In 2001 it was Airth’s book The River of Darkness. In 2008 Maisie Dobbs was my favourite.
The generation that fought World War I was more literate than the soldiers who fought the remaining wars of the 20th Century. What other war had as many poets on the front lines? Much of the most powerful war poetry ever written came out of World War I.
In my next post on Tuesday I will review Anthem for Doomed Youth, an anthology of poetry from World War I. Wilfrid Gibson’s poem, Lament, from that anthology captures the post-war mood of the sleuths featured in the above four series:
We who are left, how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain,
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly, and spent
Their all for us, loved too the sun and rain?
A bird among the rain-wet lilac sings –
But we, how shall we turn to little things,
And listen to the birds and winds and streams
Made holy by their dreams,
Nor feel the heart-break in the heart of things?