Title: Stalag Sunflower
Author: Wes Brummer
Genre: Historical Mystery
Fifty years ago, Heinrich "Henry" Rohling was a German POW in Camp Conrad. Now widowed and in his seventies, he journeys back to Conrad, Kansas, to join in a POW reunion. And to correct the American verdict that his friend Novak died of suicide many years ago.
At the reunion, Henry meets familiar faces: Reinhardt, the former colonel who ran the inside of Camp Conrad with an iron fist, Emily, the farm girl Henry fell for and left behind, and Kimmel, his bitter rival—now married to Emily.
How can Henry convince the Americans that another prisoner killed Novak? What other secrets did the camp hold? And why did Emily remain married to an ogre like Kimmel? With clues falling into place, Henry believes the killer still lives. Can he uncover the mystery before the killer strikes again?
A murder mystery set in the past with implications in the present. The author must be commended for shining a light on a much-understudied area of World War II. There have been precious few written histories of German POWs held on US soil. This setting creates the fabric for a well-woven story.
Henry is a great main character. He exemplifies the challenges that can be faced when a person gets older. This is doubly complicated when you add the loss of a long-term mate. Stalag Sunflower is compelling and exciting in many ways. The excellent use of flashbacks via old war memories embellishes the tale. The reader is able to see what happened in 1943 as well as at the same time sees the unraveling of what really did happen.
Well researched, well written, Stalag Sunflower is a good read. Fans of murder mysteries will love this book. If you are a fan of detective work done by Jessica the novelist and Jane the gardener, then you will love this book. A book that just flows with excellent staging. A very good read.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Wes Brummer was born and raised in Kansas, now residing in Wichita. His parents, aunts, and uncles were all children of the Great Depression. And so, many family reunions contained a good share of storytelling—and retelling—about growing up in the 1930’s. Grandad Bullard’s story of being stalked by a cougar when he was always a favorite. After high school, he attended Hutchinson Community Junior College and Emporia State University, attaining an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling. Over the years, he worked in sheltered workshops, group homes, and vocational rehabilitation evaluation centers. Jobs included job placement worker, shelter workshop supervisor, counselor, and desk work as a Disability Examiner for the state. These days he’s working with his wife in her snack bar business in the county courthouse, serving a varied clientele, from judges to gangbangers. It makes for an interesting day. His first published work was in the Hutch JUCO literary annual called “The Tulgy Wood.” Other stories include an award winners from the Kansas Writers Association. The genesis for his first novel was a trip to find an old county asylum. Wondering what kind of people lived behind those walls became the idea behind Dust and Roses. Mr. Brummer is already researching his next historical novel set in rural Kansas during World War II.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N