Thursday, 23 August 2007

Puppet Maker by P M Mason

I had seen a review of this book in a copy of the Pharmaceutical Journal several years ago. I recently purchased this one and devoured in about 2 days!

Arnis is a widower, with two grown up sons who lives with his mother in London. He has a small GPs practice. Arnis never knew his father, who was deported to Siberia in 1941 before he was born. He meets the relative of a friend who knew his father and shows Arnis an old photo. Inspired by the photo to find out exactly what happened to his father, Arnis starts to make gentle enquiries. Latvia is now free from Soviet power and gradually the KGB files are being opened and are now to some degree accessible. Arnis and his mother return to Latvia to live, Arnis builds up a small medical practice whilst gently making further enquiries about his father, keeping the details from his mohter, who is always very careful about what she discloses. They visit the village where his mother and father lived, and having been requested to pack a shovel in the boot of the car, start digging in the garden area of their former home. There under the ground is a sack which is removed to the safety of the car. Having explored the contents of the sack they discover a tea set hidden by his mother and a note from his father who had returned to Latvia in 1947 only to find his wife and son have gone. Is the note genuine? As research reveals the note is genuine, and there are further clues to Arnis' genealogy in an old puppet carved by his father. As in all cases of researching this kind of history with each answer several more questions and mysteries appear, but does Arnis solve his genealogical puzzle in the end?

This is a gentle story of identity and roots.

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