©2000 Charles Todd; (P)1999 Recorded Books
Inspector Ian Rutledge is presented with a mystery that could result in an innocent man's death by hanging if he doesn't find out the true story. A casualty of WWI, the man thinks he spies his wife and children on a railway platform and sets about to find them. The woman turns up dead and all assume that he is the guilty party. But where are the children? Where is the other man that was with the woman? Rutledge sees a man haunted by his experience in WWI, much as Rutledge himself is. He'll set about to find the truth and, in doing so, unearths a more complicated mystery. His superiors throw roadblocks in his way, but Rutledge is tenacious at the least. What I love most about Rutledge is his tenacity. He never gives up, always going one more time to this witness, or one more time to that witness. He is a wonderful exercise in analysis. Of course, he has some help from his ghostly nemesis, Hamish, who at times harangues him to the point of near insanity and at other times provides him with the direction he needs. I missed Simon Prebble's narration in this installment. Samuel Gillies was quite good, and I would enjoy his narration again. But Prebble is the absolute best.
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: This book is the 3rd 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.)
I liked Samuel Gillies performance very much in this (and all the other) Inspector Ian Rutledge novel. It's very descriptive of the period, and the someone-else-in-my-head aspect of the character is fascinating. I wish Audible would get the whole series.
This is one of my favorite detective series. It is remiscent of crime writers like Agathe Christis -- evoking the same country Britain of pre WWII. The people are living leisurely lives but no less complicated.
I didn't think the reader was nearly as good as latter readers like Simon Prebble, but still good.
The plotting and evocation of Post WWI Britain are so good that I have listened to every one. I wish Audible would bring out the earlier books in the series.
The one thing this writer excells in is great plotting. What seems like a simple murder or death turn out to be one with many twists and turns in. The secondary are well plotted too and come alive as people in these books.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Okay... I didn't guess who dunnit. Todd creates so many perfect suspects and so many red herrings. I love this schizzo inspector. It's very British here in its plotting but not so British as to exclude us from chewing along with Ian Rutledge on the clues swirling around like the tiny bugs in a mid-summer swarm. On occasion I sort of wish that Samuel Gillies's characters were just a tad more different to avoid a bit of confusion, but on the whole he's competent.
There's a dark anti-war shadow over this post WWI period when Britain stood between imperial greatness and modern-age coping. And Todd explores that cultural crack wonderfully in this series. So well, I've just downloaded another Ian Rutledge mystery.
Had this been the first title I read it might well have been the last. Fortunately I had just completed listening to A Lonely Death and thought it one of the best ever. The issue did not come from the story line but with the delivery. Samuel Guillies was difficult to listen to and lent no personality to the characters. I started the book several times and just about gave up. A review of other Charles Todd titles available on Audible indicate Simon Prebble as the reader. I look forward to those titles and hope "earlier works" by Charles Todd will soon become available.
Samuel Gilles could not ruin this book, although he really tried. His stiff plumy accent made most of the characters sound priggish. Although he did a good job with the local accents they still sounded wooden and pompous. Charles Todd???s well thought out story and brilliant characters draw the listener into the action. I really enjoyed the book, but will think twice about buying any other books narrated by Samuel Gilles.
Once again the narrative starts with a sort of spoiler (see my review of Book 1). Miss the first 1min 20sec (including the Audible intro) and start at “Chapter One …”.
Unfortunately the Publisher’s Summary also works against the novel. I didn’t find the story was a “psychological thriller, augmented by the in-depth and impressive character analysis ...”
Although set just after the Great War, supposed to be a character, the story could be, with minor changes, any time after an experience of catastrophe for the protagonists.
A major feature of this series is “Hamish”, but I still found this contrivance adding nothing to the development of the narrative; I found its inclusion tedious.
There is much internal “it might have been …“ and “Perhaps …” sequences; ad nauseam. I found these endless “Maybe” guesses rather simplistic, and not well integrated; not “in-depth and impressive character analysis”.
I didn’t find anyone to care about in the cast of characters. All of them seemed a bit dopy and Rutledge came across as self-indulgent, rather than someone suffering the torments of a past in the trenches; apart from his, almost, fits.
The reader was bothersome for me. The reading of the text seemed mostly to be the slow drawl of a private school boy; drawn-out vowels and syllables; or those of a traditional “narrator”. Moving from one to the other was tiresome. The problem was particularly noticeable with the internal dialogues of Rutledge/Narrator.
I gave this author a second chance after “A Test of Wills”, but it wasn’t a good fit.
Yes. Narrator does a better job in this one. The story's complexity is fun.
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