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The First Casualty by Ben Elton
In The First Casualty, Douglas Kingsley is a top police detective sentenced to jail for being a conscientious objector during World War I. Viscount Abercrombie, an aristocratic poet and war hero with a not-so-secret gay life is found murdered in France. The government fakes Kingsley's death, gives him a new identity, and sends him to France to find the truth behind the murder. Kingsley quickly ascertains that the main suspect, a shell-shocked soldier, is innocent, and his investigation results in his involvement in the third battle of Ypres. While trying to recover evidence from the battlefield, he becomes a war hero himself. Kingsley finds himself caught in the world between the sanctioned murder of war and the illegal act of homicide. Ben Elton's novel has received mixed reviews with The Telegraph saying, "It is naive to criticise a novel for having too novelistic a structure - the very thing that makes it a commercial success - but elsewhere the writing is so good, the language so surprisingly subtle and the characters so beautifully delineated that you cannot help but think of it as a chance for a really brilliant novel gone begging."