Lark Farm – In Flanders Field
Short, charming, and captivating, Lark Farm is a delightful tale of a retired Scotland Yard inspector who decides to take a cycling trip of some of the WWI battlegrounds in Belgium. A loose itinerary emerges, shaped by the inspector reconnecting with a former colleague as well as touring battle sites and historical locations. As we get further into the story, we find that the bicycle itself (Max) takes on a persona that seems to draw out some of the ghostly figures left over from the time of the war, and thus elucidate some of the local history. A murder suddenly brings the story back to its first stopping point on the trip, and Max plays a key role in shining a light on the crucial elements in a disturbing case.
Johnson does a solid job of weaving modern historical facets through each of the story’s locations. Local food, language, and customs are sprinkled throughout, and hand-drawn illustrations of key landmarks help to personalize the story. The story is easy-going and fun, although some of the medical terminology slips into jargon. The plot has a confident and consistent pace, and the clean layout adds to the presentation.