- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This title in other editions
A Long Shadow: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries)by Charles Todd
Synopses & Reviews
New Year's Eve, 1919. Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge has accompanied his sister to the home of mutual friends for dinner but is called away by work. On the steps outside, he finds a brass cartridge casing that is seemingly identical to the countless others he'd seen during the war he still cannot forget. But this one has an engraving in the metal. Curious, he pockets it. Soon he finds another — in a most unexpected place.
These cartridge casings seem to point to unfinished business involving the war. A man with a dark secret, Rutledge already walks on the edge of sanity. Now someone is hunting him. But who? And will Rutledge live long enough to discover why?
A Long Shadow is a deeply evocative, atmospheric, and gripping novel that will keep readers hooked until the very last page.
"Set in 1919, Todd's excellent eighth psychological whodunit to feature the insightful but haunted Insp. Ian Rutledge picks up shortly after the harrowing events chronicled in A Cold Treachery (2005). Rutledge travels to the remote and desolate English village of Dudlington after the town constable is shot in the back with an arrow while exploring a forest shunned by the locals. The inspector suspects a connection between the attack and the disappearance of a young girl, but he finds himself in an unfamiliar role when an unknown stalker targets him, leaving ominous clues that indicate that he's vulnerable at all times. Rutledge's fragile psyche comes in for additional battering from an enigmatic woman who claims to be able to contact the dead. Todd's plotting and characterization are, as usual, first-rate, and the tormented motivations behind the novel's dark acts are presented with a sensitivity and refinement reminiscent of the best of P.D. James. The ambiguous ending will leave both longtime fans and new readers anxiously awaiting the sequel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Strictly speaking, Charles Todd's 'A Long Shadow' is a police procedural, but in most ways that matter it's a ghost story. It's the seventh novel in Todd's series about Inspector Ian Rutledge, who served in the Great War and has returned to Scotland Yard. Like just about everyone in the story, Rutledge is haunted by the war. He was an officer, in the trenches for four years, sending men to die and... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) expecting to die himself. When the war ended, he was hospitalized for several months, overcome by anger and survivor's guilt, racked by nightmares, depressed, tempted by suicide. Most dramatically — or peculiarly — he is haunted by a soldier named Hamish MacLeod, whom he executed on the battlefield for disobeying an order. Hamish now lives in the inspector's head. They carry on a running dialogue, with Hamish offering endless commentary and criticism, on the order of: 'You canna' be sae sure she's telling the truth.' The novel opens in London on Dec. 31, 1919, and continues into the early months of 1920. At a New Year's Eve party, after dinner, a woman is invited to preside over a seance. Rutledge, alarmed at this 'reaching behind the veil of death,' finds an excuse to leave. Out on the sidewalk, he finds a cartridge casing, from a type of machine gun he knew in the war, that seems to have been left for him. Several more times, someone (or something) unseen will leave these casings in Rutledge's car or even his bed, to taunt and threaten him. He is sent to the village of Dudlington, several hours north of London, to investigate the case of a police constable who has been shot in the back with a bow and arrow. The attack occurred in Frith's Wood, which local legend says has been haunted ever since a Saxon massacre there many centuries before. Rutledge has not been in Dudlington long before he suspects that the attack on the constable was connected to the disappearance of a teenage girl three years before. The constable may have been looking for her body buried in the haunted wood — or he may have killed her himself and gone back to cover up evidence. Rutledge finds no shortage of other suspects in the village. Most are casualties of the war: men who lost brothers, women who lost husbands and lovers, a man who is slowly dying of the lung damage caused by German gas. These people are variously surly, suspicious, embittered and possibly capable of murder. Rutledge reflects 'in the dark corners of his mind, that the dead were the lucky ones. They hadn't been disillusioned.' Soon enough, Todd has given us five or six characters who are capable of having shot the constable or killed the missing girl. (Todd, incidentally, is actually an American mother-and-son writing team.) We reviewers like novels we can love or hate, praise or damn, but in truth most books fall somewhere in the middle, possessed of both strengths and weaknesses. 'A Long Shadow' is one of those. One of the things I like least about it is Hamish. It's certainly true that the brutality of the trenches could produce just about any kind of mental illness, but Rutledge's endless dialogue with his invisible Scot friend grows tiresome. Moreover, while the novel moves along briskly, the plot is overly complicated, and all the pieces don't quite fit. And such are the demands of the plot that the authors give the characters little depth. Yet I admire not just the book's pace but also its seriousness, its darkness. The First World War was a cataclysm unlike any England had known before, and Todd does not stint on the harm it did. Rutledge and other veterans in the story will always hate the high-ranking officers 'far from the carnage of No Man's Land' who had 'ordered charge after charge into the teeth of the machine guns.' The authors also do a nice job of capturing the era. A character declares, 'I don't give a dance in hell where you've come from.' Before Rutledge gets into his car, he has to crank it up. Dudlington is a village without electricity or telephones, a place where people don't lock their doors at night, not always a wise policy when a killer is at large. Rutledge does not carry a weapon, despite several attempts on his life. It is a compliment to the authors that I found myself thinking of Agatha Christie as I read their book. Their Dudlington is not unlike the villages where Christie set 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' and other novels, although the two Americans do not provide the wit, originality and depth she brought to village life. As in the British classics of the 1920s, the authors deal in murder most foul, virtue imperiled, gossip, poison, ancient grudges, revenge, social status, altered identities — even spiritualism. Like the classic authors, they avoid profanity and sex, and keep most violence offstage. Perhaps the greatest difference is that Christie, writing immediately after the Great War, used the foibles of Inspector Poirot and Miss Marple to help her readers forget its horrors, while these writers, with the added grief of nearly another century of war, are quite willing to remind us of its realities. 'A Long Shadow' is not an outstanding novel, but it is readable, serious, admirably haunted." Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
(hide most of this review)
"Another winning story from the East Coast mother-son duo." Library Journal
"Its ever-thickening plot is sure to please serious puzzlers who thrill to a large cast of wary villagers spinning complex webs of rumor and deception. Add to this an eerie dash of Grimpen Mire reminiscent of the gothic feel of Anne Perry's Monk series, and you have a traditional mystery buff's delight." Booklist
On New Year's Eve, 1919, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge finds engraved brass cartridges that seem to point to unfinished business involving the war. A man with a dark secret, Rutledge already walks on the edge of sanity. Now, someone is hunting him, but who?
“Seamless in its storytelling and enthralling in its plotting.”
—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Dark and remarkable….Once [Todd] grabs you, theres no putting the novel down.”
The Winston-Salem Journal declares that, “like P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Charles Todd writes novels that transcend genre.” A Long Shadow proves that statement true beyond the shadow of a doubt. Once again featuring Todds extraordinary protagonist, Scotland Yard investigator and shell-shocked World War One veteran, Inspector Ian Rutledge, A Long Shadow immerses readers in the sights and sounds of post-war Great Britain, as the damaged policeman pursues answers to a constables slaying and the three-year-old mystery of a young girls disappearance in a tiny Northamptonshire village. Read Todds A Long Shadow and see why the Washington Post calls the Rutledge crime novels, “one of the best historical series being written today.”
It's New Year's Eve, 1919. Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge has accompanied his sister to the home of mutual friends for dinner but gets a call from the office and has to leave. On the steps outside, he sees a brass cartridge casing, like countless others he's seen during the war. But this one has an engraving in the metal. Curious, he pockets it.
Soon after, Rutledge is on the southern coast of England helping the local police capture a murderer. Work done, on a whim he drives along the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic and takes a walk out on the headland. Returning to his car, he finds another engraved cartridge casing on the driver's seat. He's been followed.
The cartridge casing seems to point to the war and unfinished business there. To stay alive in the face of an unknown and unseen adversary, Rutledge is pressed to the limits of his skills. He's the prey. But who is the hunter?
About the Author
Charles Todd is the author of seven Ian Rutledge mysteries: A Cold Treachery, A Fearsome Doubt, Watchers of Time, Legacy of the Dead, Search the Dark, Wings of Fire, and A Test of Wills — and one stand-alone novel, The Murder Stone. They are a mother-and-son writing team and live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:
Other books you might like