Monday, November 16, 2015

Search The Dark by Charles Todd

Search The Dark: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd --- 279 pages

Inspector Ian Rutledge is haunted by the horrors he witnessed on the battlefields of the Great War. Lurking in his head he hears the voice of Corporal Hamish MacLeod, a young soldier he was forced by the brutal military code to execute for refusing a direct order in battle. How long, he wonders, before that judgment rebounds on him?

Meanwhile, Rutledge tries desperately to pick up the pieces of his former job as a Scotland Yard Inspector. A dead woman and two missing children bring him to Dorset and the small town of Singleton Magna. Rutledge is dismayed to find another tormented war veteran is the chief suspect in the death of the woman, found lying in a field with her face battered beyond recognition. But the local police have failed to find the two small children supposed to have been with the woman, so Rutledge has been sent to assist with the search.

The local police Inspector believes that the ex-soldier saw the woman and the children from the train as he passed through Singleton Magna, and recognized his wife and children, presumed dead in a German bomb attack on London during the war. He was seen and heard searching for them and threatening his wife for deceiving him, so when the woman's body was discovered, the police arrested him.

But Rutledge realizes there are many discrepancies in the evidence. He questions whether the dead woman was really the man's wife, and whether there were ever any children present at all.  When another battered body is found buried in an isolated spot unlikely to be known to anyone without detailed local knowledge, Rutledge is convinced these murders have a local context that has to do with the private lives of the local gentry, who are not above using their privileged positions to interfere with the investigation for their own purposes. Someone is protecting a murderer. And an innocent man, undone by war and grief, will hang unless Rutledge can bring the crime home to the real killer.

The third book in the Ian Rutledge series, for those fascinated by World War One and its reverberating impact on the lives of those who survived the war only to be wrecked on the shores of a dark and desperate peace. Fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs  and Anne Perry's William and Hester Monk series may enjoy this.

Click HERE to read the review from Publisher's Weekly.

Click HERE to read the review from Kirkus Reviews.

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