Synopses & Reviews
In 1912 Ian Rutledge watched as a man was condemned to hang for the murders of elderly women. Rutledge helped gather the evidence that sent Ben Shaw to the gallows. And when justice was done, Rutledge closed the door on the case. But Shaw was not easily forgotten.
Now, seven years later, that grim trial returns in the form of Ben Shaw's widow Nell, bringing Rutledge evidence she is convinced will prove her husband's innocence. It's a belief fraught with peril, threatening both Rutledge's professional stature and his faith in his judgment. But there is a darker reason for Rutledge's reluctance. Murder brings him back to Kent where, days earlier, he'd glimpsed an all-too-familiar face beyond the leaping flames of a bonfire. Soon an unexpected encounter revives the end of his own war, as the country prepares for a somber commemoration on the anniversary of the Armistice. To battle the unsettled past and the haunted present at the same time is an appalling mandate.
And the people around him? among them the attractive widow of a friend, a remarkable woman who survived the Great Indian Mutiny; a bitter, dying barrister; and a man whose name he never knew unwittingly compete with the grieving Nell Shaw. They'll demand more than Rutledge can give, unaware that he is already carrying the burden of shell shock? and the voice of Hamish MacLeod, the soldier he was forced to execute in the war. The killer in Marling is surprisingly adept at escaping detection. And Ben Shaw's past is a tangle of unsettling secrets that may or may not be true. Rutledge must walk a tortuous line between two murderers...one reaching out to ruin him, the other driven to destroy him.
"This brilliant and gripping whodunit may well be the best of Todd's six Rutledge novels....[A]n outstanding historical mystery and literate period fiction." Publishers Weekly
"Todd's sixth work featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge is a well-crafted addition to his popular historical series....A pleasure to read..." Library Journal
"Todd skillfully interweaves an acute psychological portrait with a compelling puzzle. Intelligent and intense history-mystery, at the level of Anne Perry and Bruce Alexander." Booklist
"If everyone would read just one book, any book, by Todd...and pay close attention to what hes saying, there would never be another war." Kirkus Reviews
"Juggling two mysteries at once seems to get the better of Todd, but his smart use of locale and character keep us reading." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
At the end of World War I, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is haunted by memories of self-doubt as he delves into a wrongful death case in this "eloquent and rich" (The New York Times Book Review) mystery.
Inspector Ian Rutledge may have put the hangman's noose around the neck of an innocent man in this meticulously wrought puzzle and harrowing psychological drama.
About the Author
Charles Todd is the author of Watchers of Time, Legacy of the Dead, A Test of Wills, Wings of Fire, and Search the Dark. He lives on the East Coast, where he is at work on the next novel in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, A Cold Treachery.