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Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, Book 15 | [Charles Todd]

Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, Book 15

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?
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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 02-17-13
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 02-17-13 Member Since 2010

    Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictably excellent addition to Rutledge series"
    Would you listen to Proof of Guilt again? Why?

    Maybe, but I don't usually re-read mysteries until I have forgotten the details. However, on the list of series I would read again, this would be high! I read most of the books in the Rutledge series before finding and listening to, the last couple on Audible.

    If I were to listen to the ones I already read, it would be largely because of the excellence of Simon Prebble's narration! He is incredibly talented. Creates different voices for each character that are easily identifiable, and has good pacing and intonation for the reading, in general. Far better than many narrators.


    What other book might you compare Proof of Guilt to and why?

    Well, Rutledge, a Scotland Yard detective, falls into the category of loner detectives, who buck authority at times to find answers to the crimes. I really like the character as created and developed by Charles Todd (a mother and son writing duo). It brings in history, psychology and good mysteries in engaging plots that do not insult the reader through simplicity or dull passages.


    Any additional comments?

    Rutledge is a fascinating lead character. He has been through the horrors of WWI and has been wounded in body, mind and soul. Because of visible scars, he has lost his fiancée after his return from France. Due to a complicated situation of moral anguish, he is struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that includes a rich, troubled inner relationship with a dead comrade who has become an internalized aspect of his own psyche. In a twist unlike any I can recall in mystery writing, the voice of this dead, internalized comrade (toward whom Rutledge feels a combination of love and guilt) becomes something akin to Rutledge's "sidekick"--someone who offers advice and warnings and has a kind of wisdom that often helps Rutledge stay alive and solve the crimes.

    While reading the first book in the series, I was skeptical that this was a workable character presentation. But the consistency of how psychologically well thought out this is, has left me very impressed. Highly recommend both the writing of this series and the narration of Simon Prebble. There are always unexpected plot developments that surprise, and this book is no exception. Very satisfying book(s).

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 06-21-13
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 06-21-13 Member Since 2007

    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!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "AN ADDICTIVE SERIES!"

    Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is the 15th in the series. 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.)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIII Grants Pass, OR, United States 03-05-13
    HIII Grants Pass, OR, United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2010
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    "15 books and still going strong!"

    Just another great story by Charles Todd and outstanding narration by wonderful Simon Prebble! Enjoy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02-25-13
    02-25-13 Member Since 2005
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    "Disappointing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The end was entirely unsatisfactory. I couldn't believe it was over and so many loose ends. I listened to the last chapter twice to see if I was missing something.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Charles Todd? Why or why not?

    I love the Inspector Rutledge series and have read them all. Of course I will read the next one.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    His British accent is so authentic as are all of the voices he performs. He is the best!


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not.


    Any additional comments?

    None

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Barker Columbia South Carolina 02-25-13
    Denise Barker Columbia South Carolina 02-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Charles Todd scores again!"
    If you could sum up Proof of Guilt in three words, what would they be?

    Best series ever!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The excellent quality of the writing, the intriquing story line and the excellent research that goes into each of these novels.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    No doubt, Ian Ruthledge


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, they just always keep me hanging on and aborbed until the last minute


    Any additional comments?

    Keep them coming!!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christy Harleysville, PA, United States 02-15-13
    Christy Harleysville, PA, United States 02-15-13 Member Since 2011

    christy045

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    "Disappointed -- could have been better"

    I really appreciate Charles Todd, both his (their) Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series. I get them as soon as they come out, without question. I am hoping that this book was an anomaly, and not a sign that the mother-son partnership is flagging or that the authors are becoming tired of Ian Rutledge.

    First of all, this book was wonderfully complex, with lots of trails to follow, many characters who could be clues to unravelling the mysteries and possible suspects. This is as you are listening to it. I found myself having to concentrate very hard to keep everyone straight. Rutledge is driving from London to Sussex to Kent over and over. And I am thinking that Somerset might have been in there somewhere too.

    The problem is that there is no wrap-up to speak of where the author traditionally continues the story to (basically) explain to those of us who haven't been able to figure out how the culprit was the culprit or managed to pull off exactly what they did. This area in the book generally explains all of those tiny details that you (at least this is what happens to ME) have been saying to yourself "But how did they manage to do that?" for some hours.

    At the end of this one, however, there is almost no wrapup and the reader is not even told if one of the people who is talked about throughout the book is dead or alive or where he could possibly be! Very confusing and overall disappointing, because as I listened to it I thought the story had promise.

    The background story of Rutledge and how the higher-ups at the Yard are faring does move a little bit and it sounds like the new boss may be worse than Old Bowles, if that is possible. Rutledge is finally taking Hamish more in stride. He no longer fears that he is in the back seat of his car and understands that he is in the back of his mind and is likely to stay there. I think that is progress.

    I recently listened to the first of this series "Test of Wills" (it was totally out of print when I first started reading this series) and am really glad I did. If you want to read another Rutledge that may be new to you, you might try that one!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Shiner, TX, United States 10-18-13
    Jane Shiner, TX, United States 10-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Disappointed"

    Having read several mother/son team books authored as Charles Todd and enjoyed them, I was somewhat lost in this one. It seemed a stretch in both plot and characters.Perhaps I listened in too many short snatches of time. I wanted to like it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Andrews Washington, DC 03-05-13
    Ann Andrews Washington, DC 03-05-13
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    "Superb story -- complex. very well read."
    What did you love best about Proof of Guilt?

    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.


    What does Simon Prebble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice makes me feel I am there in the UK and feel Rutledge and Hamish with me.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Waynesville, NC, United States 06-23-14
    Robert Waynesville, NC, United States 06-23-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Best of a great series. A more than once listen."
    What made the experience of listening to Proof of Guilt the most enjoyable?

    The usual pleasant flow of Rutledge's investigation is combined with a really baffling mystery.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the author Todd disguised the real perpetrators to every one except Rutledge (and finally the reader).


    What does Simon Prebble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Given a choice - Read the book or have Simon Prebble read it to you is a no-brainer.

    I listened to Prebble read this book to me twice. It may have been better the second time.

    Prebble is in a class with only one other narrator (in my opinion). That would be George Guidall. Since Rutledge is British, Prebble is the better of the two for narration of this series.The earlier books are narrated by Samuel Gillies and he does a good job, but he is no Prebble.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Rutledge suspected that the real perpetrators were not as his superior insisted, but he had no way to prove it and his only recourse was to put himself in real danger so the killer would reveal himself.


    Any additional comments?

    This is #15 in the series and it's the best one. But to really appreciate this series one should begin with the first in the series. They are all above average and the listener (reader) will have a good time by starting at #1 and going through the list. Unfortunately there is a gap (6,7,8 & 9) are not available from Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raymond Lebanon, CT, United States 01-04-14
    Raymond Lebanon, CT, United States 01-04-14 Member Since 2005
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    "A Disappointing Addition"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I have read or listened to many books by this author. This one was just sub-standard. It couldn't be a 4 or 5.


    Has Proof of Guilt turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I really enjoy historical or period mysteries. I will continue to listen in the genre. But, I will be reluctant to listen to another book in this series.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Simon Prebble's narration is always terrific and it was in this performance. But, even great narration couldn't save the wandering plot and undeveloped characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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