Scotland Yard dispatches Inspector Rutledge to find out who the man was and why he died in such mysterious circumstances. But the villagers clearly have something to hide. And what does the huge chalk sculpture of a pale horse of the Apocalypse have to do with the crime?
©2008 Charles Todd; (P)2009 BBC Audio
In A Pale House, Inspector Ian Rutledge is challenged by seemingly disparate mysteries: the finding of a dead man in an abbey ruin, the disappearance of another man, and, confounding his efforts to solve the first two events, a series of murders and attempted murders that ride the reader to an almost breathless ending. The twists and turns of Todd's Inspector Rutledge series never ceases to amaze me, and I appreciate that Rutledge, like the reader, spends a fair amount of time getting it wrong before he gets it right; although, Rutledge is rarely too far from the truth. This particular installment also brings to light in all its horrifying clarity, that which is Hamish. Readers familiar with this series already know about Hamish, but if you haven't read/listened to this novel, then, finally, you can learn about the whole sad, tragic story, at length, not just in snippets.
I give this novel only 4 stars because I do feel the mysteries were wrapped up a little too easily at the end. But the getting there was very satisfying. As always, Simon Prebble's narration was a joy.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: "A Pale Horse" is the 10th in the seriers. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!
No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)
If you like a mystery with interesting charaters this series is very good. The stories are about the people surviving WWI and its aftermath. The reader does an excellant job of seperating the voices.
This is the third book in the series I've heard, the first being the more recent A Lonely Death. (Audible.com special. It caught my eye.) I thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the next book in the series, The Confession. That being the most recent one available, I looked at earlier productions but found I had developed a loyalty to Simon Prebble's narration. I downloaded A Pale Horse and was not disappointed. As an author, I can't help but be a little ticked off at Todd's ability to consistently weave a multi-layered, yet highly "readable" story. I wish he'd cut it out. He's making the rest of us look bad. And of course, Simon is simply outstanding as a narrator. One of the best I've heard.
As in all crime / mystery books - The Reveal
It made me chuckle and I may or may not have developed a frog in my throat at one point or another. Quite frankly, it's none of your business. However, my overall opinion is that you can't go wrong with this author/narrator combination if you enjoy a procedural detective story, with a unique protagonist.
Go for it. You'll like it. Really.
if I should listen to this story again? I just didn't enjoy it nearly as much at the rest of the series. The story seems to ramble and get caught up in unnecessary, endless details. Hamish, who usually is a nagging helper just becomes a nasty nag. I must suggest skipping this one-sorry.
I got through the first half. I got through about 1/4 of the second half, then I wanted to drive off a bridge. Great narrator, boring story.
Not much to say. It is a decent story, fairly well written and read. I bought this as a "sale" item and for that price it was worth it. It is not a story that I will return to though.
I bought this book purely because it was on sale for $5. I read the description and it talked about kids in a grave yard and raising the devil. It sounded intriguing. Unfortunatly that's about the first half hour of the book. The rest is a quite boring detective story with uninteresting characters.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This is my third Inspector Rutledge mystery, and as with the previous two I found the premise and the set-up extremely well done, drawing me in very early. But somewhere past the halfway mark I realize that the execution is falling just a bit short in delivering information that moves the action forward. In this case, there are two mysteries to solve, including whether they are even related. The suspect pool is large and development of each character sparse enough that I can't even start to judge who may have done it. By dividing our attention, both mysteries lack the impact they might have had on their own. That said, I have suffered through far worse mysteries with absurd results. Never once have I had to roll my eyes and yell at Rutledge "Get a grip!"
I think there is some similarity to the style of the Holmes stories, in that they are actually more character driven than plot driven. The fun of Sherlock Holmes is watching Holmes work, not figuring out the solution in advance. What brings me back for more Rutledge is Rutledge himself. He is one of my favorite detective characters - complex, tormented, but such a good man. Simon Prebble personifies him with his low, calm, almost melancholy voice, yet brings his passion to the surface when justice is on the line. In the early stages of this story, Rutledge has to deal with a group of frightened little boys, and he is the perfect balance of compassionate authority. And the boys themselves are a hoot. A very worthy entry in the series.
the entire series is worth your time.
Rutledge, Prebble is a great reader and he helps the reader identify with the characters.
Any time Hamish talks
I hope this series will continue. It brings history into the story along with the mystery. Please keep the same reader, he is wonderful.
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