A dangerous case with ties leading back to the battlefields of World War I dredges up dark memories for Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge in Hunting Shadows, a gripping and atmospheric historical mystery set in 1920s England, from acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Charles Todd.
A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire becomes a crime scene when a man is murdered. After another body is found, the baffled local constabulary turns to Scotland Yard. Though the second crime had a witness, her description of the killer is so strange it's unbelievable.
Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge has few answers of his own. The victims are so different that there is no rhyme or reason to their deaths. Nothing logically seems to connect them - except the killer. As the investigation widens, a clear suspect emerges. But for Rutledge, the facts still don't add up, leaving him to question his own judgment.
In going over the details of the case, Rutledge is reminded of a dark episode he witnessed in the war. While the memory could lead him to the truth, it also raises a prickly dilemma. To stop a murderer, will the ethical detective choose to follow the letter - or the spirit - of the law?
©2014 Charles Todd (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
It's hard to say much more about Charles Todd (and character Ian Rutledge from Scotland Yard) than has already been said. At this point, I can happily say that this whole series is one of my great favorites, and this new book completely lives up to my expectations.
It involves Rutledge going to the Fen country to help the local constabulary work two murders that would seem to be related, but for which there are no obvious connections that they can figure out. This is a well-laid out mystery--with lots of twists and turns.It seems to have more characters than most of the books which gives it interest, though a little hard to keep sorted in the beginning.
The only thing that left me a bit puzzled is that in all the others, Hamish (a voice from a dead soldier that Rutledge always hears in his head, as a result of shellshock) in greatly minimized. In past books, Hamish has had a greater prominence--something I rather enjoyed because it gave insight into other dimensions of Rutledge. Perhaps this is a sign that Rutledge is progressing away from his shellshock, but I found myself hoping it was not because they (Charles Todd--mother and son team) are planning to write him out eventually.
This is a very good mystery, with well drawn out characters--lots of interest, and even some history about the Fen country and WWI put in as well. And Simon Prebble is a perfect narrator! Highly recommend!
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!!!
I stumbled upon this recently released Book 16, after buying every audiobook recorded in the Ian Rutledge series. It did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this one since I didn't think Todd could get any better. Rutledge continues to be a troubled detective, fighting demons from World War I. And no bigger demon than Hamish McCloud. But how can one not like a person named "Hamish"? You can start with this book or start with the first in this series. All of them stand alone. I suggest reading them in order so that you can "grow" with Ian Rutledge. Narrator Simon Prebble gives another masterful performance. I hope he continues as narrator of this series.
This is an outstanding book. I have read or listened to all of Charles Todd's books and I found this one the best plotted of all. It kept me guessing right to the end. Even when I though I knew who the murderer was, Todd pulled one out of the hat with a big surprise at the end when you found out who the murderer was.
One thing I did notice was that Hamish was not such a big presence as he has been in the earlier book - whether Inspector Rutledge is getting over the events or Hamish didn't really fit in - but in any case he wasn't as ubiquitous as in the earlier books. In a way I am rather glad to see less of Hamish.
As in all his books you get to see another part of England – this time the Fen country, as it was in 1920, and the small villages there. In post World War I getting around in the Fens was dangerous. Dense fogs would roll in, the roads were not well marked and often little better than dirt road. Inspector Rutledge begins his investigation by getting lost and almost having a motor accident.
As always Charles Todd paints a picture of 1920 England: with farms, small villages, market day and places where everyone knows everyone else. He has the gift to take the listener back in time to a long-ago England.
What brings Rutledge to the Fen Country is two murders a week apart of two very important figures -- one a distinguished War veteran, and the other a local man standing for parliament. One is killed at Ely Cathedral, the other nearby while preparing to give a campaign speech. They seem unrelated but it is only at the end we see how they are tied together.
Much of the books is spend in actual detecting -- Rutledge going to different places and talking to many people to try and find out what connects the two murders. The only clue he picks up early on it that the murders were committed by an excellent shot, most probably a sniper. Many people are interviewed by Rutledge and local constables but nothing seems to fit. The roots of the crime go back to before the war and it is only when Rutledge gets as off-hand request from a local doctor, the he finally gets on track.
He only finally fits the pieces together when he travels back to London to interview the sister of one of the victims -- between London and Ely and trip to Mausoleum do all the pieces finally fit into place. This book keeps you guessing up to the very end.
Having Simon Prebble read this book, makes it all that much better. Simon is one of the most outstanding narrators in the business and I know I will enjoy the book that much more when he is the narrator. He is the perfect narrator for the series!!
This was my first Inspector Rutledge mystery and I'm still deciding if I would try another. I enjoyed the period, exploring the personal fall-out after World War 1 through a range of different characters. It seemed to move rather slowly for me, plus be busy with creating moods, which weren't necessarily relevant to the plot. Not my favourite, but I definitely wanted to finish it.
I love the narrator, he makes the story come alive.
The inspector is my favorite. He is human and has flaws, but always solves a complex murder.
He brings all of the characters to life. He is the best narrator that I have had the pleasure of listening to.
It made me happy.
In a way this is a typical Ian Rutledge mystery, with the long shadow of WWI cast over events. There are some interesting minor characters introduced. But Rutledge's struggles and the presence of Hamish (most unusual sidekick ever) are less featured. Simon Prebble is always good though I found it hard to distinguish some of the many characters by voice.
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