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A Lonely Death: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteryby Charles Todd
Synopses & Reviews
In the first installment of a compelling new series by Elly Griffiths, a band of magicians who served together in World War II track a killer who’s performing their deadly tricks.
Brighton, 1950. The body of a girl is found cut into three pieces. Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is convinced the killer is mimicking a famous magic trick—the Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old war friend of Edgar’s. They served together in a shadowy unit called the Magic Men, a special ops troop that used stage tricks to confound the enemy.
Max is on the traveling show circuit, touring seaside towns with ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. He’s reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate, but advises him to identify the victim quickly — it takes a special sidekick to do the Zig Zag Girl. Those words come back to haunt Max when the dead girl turns out to be Ethel, one of his best assistants to date. He’s soon at Edgar’s side, hunting for Ethel’s killer.
Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max are sure the answer to the murders lies in their army days. And when Edgar receives a letter warning of another “trick” on the way — the Wolf Trap — he knows they’re all in the killer’s sights.
"Scotland Yard Insp. Ian Rutledge returns to France for the first time since he survived the horrors of trench warfare in the pseudonymous Todd's fine 13th mystery featuring the tormented and all-too-human sleuth (after 2010's The Red Door). In 1920, with his spirits shaken by the suicide of a fellow veteran, Rutledge travels to Sussex to catch a killer who's already garroted three men, all of whom served in WWI. When Rutledge presses his inquiries aggressively, a local's complaint leads to his removal from the case. Frustrated at the internal police machinations, which appear aimed at keeping him from advancement rather than assessing the validity of the charges against him, the inspector joins a friend on a mission of mercy across the Channel. The mother-son writing team could have dispensed with a contrived subplot involving a cold case, but as usual their subtle prose and profound empathy for all their characters enhance a suspenseful and twisty plot. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“Todds Ian Rutledge mysteries are among the most intelligent and affecting being written these days.”
Critics have called Charles Todds historical mystery series featuring shell-shocked World War One veteran Inspector Ian Rutledge “remarkable” (New York Times Book Review), “heart-breaking” (Chicago Tribune), “fresh and original” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel). In A Lonely Death, the haunted investigator is back in action, trying to solve the murders of three ex-soldiers in a small English village. A true master of evocative and atmospheric British crime fiction, Charles Todd reaches breathtaking new heights with A Lonely Death—a thrilling tale of the darkness in mens souls that will have fans of Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, and Anne Perry cheering.
In the first in a compelling new series from Elly Griffiths, a band of magicians who served together in WWII track a killer who’s performing deadly tricks
A breathtaking blend of psychological complexity, haunting atmosphere, compelling twists, and impressive detail, the novels in the Ian Rutledge mystery series have garnered their author widespread acclaim and numerous honors and awards. At the heart of the series is the compelling Scotland Yard detective inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of the Great War who understands all too well the darkness that lies within men's souls.
Now three men have been murdered in a Sussex village, and Scotland Yard has been called in. It's a baffling case. The victims are soldiers who survived the horrors of World War I only to meet a ghastly end in the quiet English countryside two years later. Each had been garroted, with small ID discs left in their mouths.
But even Scotland Yard's presence doesn't deter this vicious and clever killer. Shortly after Inspector Ian Rutledge arrives, a fourth soldier is found dead. With few clues to go on and the pressure building, Rutledge must gamble everything—his job, his reputation, and even his life—to find answers.
About the Author
Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.
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