Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge must contend with two dangerous enemies in this latest complex mystery in the New York Times bestselling series
London, summer 1920. An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is leading the investigation to uncover what happened. While the signs point to murder, vital questions remain: Who is the victim? And where, exactly, was he killed?
One small clue leads Rutledge to a firm built by two families, famous for producing and selling the world's best Madeira wine. Lewis French, the current head of the English enterprise, is missing. But is he the dead man? And does either his fiancée or his jilted former lover have anything to do with his disappearance - or possible death? What about his sister? Or the London office clerk? Is Matthew Traynor, French's cousin and partner who heads the Madeira office, somehow involved?
The experienced Rutledge knows that suspicion and circumstantial evidence are not proof of guilt, and he's going to keep digging for answers. But that perseverance will pit him against his supervisor, the new acting chief superintendent. When Rutledge discovers a link to an incident in the French family's past, the superintendent dismisses it, claiming the information isn't vital. He's determined to place the blame on one of French's women despite Rutledge's objections. Alone in a no-man's-land rife with mystery and danger, Rutledge must tread very carefully, for someone has decided that he, too, must die so that cruel justice can take its course.
©2013 Charles Todd (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
Many other reviewers have written good and informative reviews of this series, explaining the series' main characters and Rutledge's relationship with Hamish - his unwanted and hallucinated sidekick - so I won't replicate the efforts of those who have reviewed before me.
What I will say however, is that while I had an unexpectedly difficult time getting into this book, once it "clicked" I was hooked. This wasn't my first experience with this series, and I'm not sure why it took me so long to get interested in this particular chapter of Inspector Rutledge's adventures, but I'm glad that I hung in there as I found it one of the better of the series. I say that however having only picked the series up at the point when Simon Prebble began narrating, which is a significant way in to the series (book 10?). I'm simply not sure that I will enjoy the earlier books having spent so much time listening to Mr. Prebble's outstanding narration through the latter half of the books. He sets the bar high!
Proof of Guilt was worth the wait. Inspector Rutledge mysteries are some of the most entertaining mystery writings that I have read, or listened to. Simon Prebble's narration of Charles Todd seems to evoke the time period and enhances the listening flow. The one aspect of this book that held my attention was the way in which Ian Rutledge's character has emerged from the severely tormented detective of the early novels, into the more interesting persona of the professional detective, with only the hint of the troubled ghost of Hamish haunting him. Ian Rutledge is a proven commodity and Charles Todd is still keeping him fresh. A very good listen.
Best series ever!
The excellent quality of the writing, the intriquing story line and the excellent research that goes into each of these novels.
No doubt, Ian Ruthledge
No, they just always keep me hanging on and aborbed until the last minute
Keep them coming!!!
This is a complex story that goes deeper into aftereffects of World War I and a story that begins even before that. One of Todd's best. The reading is superb and made me feel I was there -- many dramatic scenes.
His voice makes me feel I am there in the UK and feel Rutledge and Hamish with me.
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