Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Information Officer by Mark Mills

Max Chadwick is the Information Officer. Based in Malta, he and his young assistant, Edward Pemberton, must make the war seem more palatable to the Maltese and the Allied forces in the way they disseminate the news. They are therefore “in the know”, but must be careful how to spin it. A few Maltese bodies - young women -  and the mystery of how they were murdered, isn’t helping their cause.
Set in Malta, the most bombed place on earth. Sieged during the Ottoman Empire, then again in WW2, this was an interesting read. It was insightful, and I enjoyed the characters - the mainly expat, military, medical and journalistic community, the risks they took and the friendships formed, mainly trying to avoid the harsh reality of air raids and  the ongoing risks of losing loved ones.
Told mostly from Max’s viewpoint, there was a little bit of romance (token, actually). We also discover what is in the killer’s mind through short chapters describing the deeds, without naming the villain. Dialogue is a little stilted and characters a bit cut-out, but not terrible.
It comes together neatly, and all is well again. The tone is nostalgic, and old fashioned, which adds to its beauty. I couldn’t help feeling a little like the Maltese may have felt at the end of the war - Is that it? Was the sacrifice worth the memory?
3 stars
ISBN: 9780007276882
You may also enjoy The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah  or  Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H Balson, or Two Brothers by Ben Elton.

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