Unhealed scars of the Great War still torment Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge. A haunted, damaged shell of a man, he has been sent to the small coastal town of Hampton Regis to solve a violent crime and to confront his own tragic past.
An officer who served with Rutledge in the trenches of France before being sent back to England under suspicious circumstances has now been accused of savagely beating the husband of the woman he still loves. The suspect has taken the wife hostage, threatening to kill her and her maid unless Rutledge takes charge of the investigation.
Although the case painfully mirrors Rutledge's own past and the love he lost to another man, he cannot refuse it. When the unconscious, brutalized victim vanishes without a trace, it's clear that this peaceful little town hides a vicious murderer and secrets powerful enough to kill for.
©2007 Charles Todd (P)2014 Recorded Books
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I love the Inspector Ian Rutledge series but sometimes Charles Todd drops the ball. That's the case here. Nothing about this story makes any sense. Why would Scotland Yard waste valuable resources by sending one of its best detectives to a small country village at the demand of some guy holding two women hostage? Especially since he's unlikely to hurt one of them because he publicly professes a great love for the married woman? While the book has the usual Todd unexpected plot twists, the whole thing just goes on too long. Rutledge is allowed entry into the house several times, yet he never makes a move to overcome the kidnapper. He even allows food to be delivered after several days instead of starving them out. IF anyone can deal with this improbable story, the book should be abridged since so much of it adds nothing to plot line. Also, narrator Samuel Gilles is no where near as good as Simon Prebble who has done most of the Charles Todd works that I've enjoyed. Gilles' Scottish burr for Rutledge's nemesis, Hamish, is so over the top that half of the time I couldn't understand him, Plus Gilles does nothing with the other characters - they all meld together, sounding alike, making the dialogue hard to follow. Definitely not worth the price of admission.
I'm a fan so I enjoyed this one, but rolled my eyes more than once at the author's choices for plot progression!!!
Not even close to The Red Door or A Fine Summer's Day.
Great story filled with well written characters and a fabulous performance, just as I have come to expect from Charles Todd.
A hostage situation with no effort to subdue the hostage taker in spite of countless opportunities? Maybe back in those days this would have not seemed absurd?
Nevertheless, the mystery kept me intrigued and I spent a lot of time just sitting and listening to find out what was going to happen, which is unusual for me - I usually just listen to audio books when driving, walking or doing chores.
The characters were well developed and interesting as was the plot if you are willing to overlook the unreasonable set up. This series is my favorite so I am willing to overlook the weakness in the stories.
I love the voice of Gillies - some have complained he doesn't differentiate the voices much, which is true but not really a problem, at least for me.
If you are a Charles Todd fan, do not skip this one. If you haven't read his books before, you should start earlier in the series, preferable the first book, A Test of Wills.
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