I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
"For what it's worth, I think they're random, these killings. Targets chosen for no other reason that that they are there, wherever the shooter wants to try his luck again. I don't envy you having to get to the bottom of this one. But, the truth of the matter is, with all due respect, I don't believe you'll have any better luck that I've had. You can see for yourself, it's hunting shadows" - Inspector Warren.
Inspector Rutledge encounters an extremely puzzling case when two men are shot in a very short span of time. One man was killed at a wedding an the other was a man making a political speech. Once the local inspectors have looked into the matter they realize they need help and calls in "The Yard".
What do the murdered men have in common? Are the murders even connected? Who may have held a grudge toward both men?
Rutledge is stymied at every turn. The more he digs , the more confusing things become. Will this case finally be the one Rutledge can't close?
This is the 16th Inspector Rutledge novel and one of the best! Hamish is along for the ride again and Rutledge continues to carry the scars of war with him. Hamish in his way helps Rutledge with the case, playing devil's advocate and at times Rutledge ignores him. There is a plethora of off beat characters in this one. There are grudges, heartbreaks, betrayals, and of course revenge with a little greed on the side.
The foggy and rainy climate adds a touch of darkness to the atmosphere and there are moments of real tension when we know someone sinister is lurking nearby and they are determined to keep Rutledge from finding out the truth.
I could not put this one down! I was totally engrossed in this story. The history really makes the story deeper as we see women at the mercy of men and we see men who deeply loved these women. The times made it difficult to be open about things and so the secrets and lies build and the anger deepens into bitterness and for one or more persons , something must be done either for themselves or for those that were loved.
This is get an A+
MY INTERVIEW WITH CHARLES TODD
Thanks so much Charles and Caroline for stopping by today!
We have different viewpoints, and tailoring these to our characters is always a challenge. We’ve lived separate lives since Charles went off to college, and you expect different life experiences to affect how you think and feel. But whenever we start to disagree, we remind ourselves that what’s best for the character is best for the book. Spares us a lot of bloodshed! No, seriously, we’re a lot alike in temperament and background and outlook, so it’s nearly always amicable when we disagree. Distance has never been a problem because we’ve always worked with emails and telephone calls and messaging. That gives each of us time to look at what the other person has come up with and decide whether it’s good, needs work, is a huge surprise, or compliments what’s in our own heads. To our amazement, the system of doing everything together—research, characters, plots, action, often even word choice-- has worked for 20 some books. When we started out, we had no way of guessing how successful that was going to be.
Rutledge knows, just as the reader does that Hamish is dead, is buried in France, and certainly isn’t a ghost. But the voice in Rutledge’s head—and he himself understands it, although he’s a little superstitious about testing it!—is a part of his survivor’s guilt, a mechanism for coping with the knowledge that he was responsible for Hamish’s death, and the deaths of hundreds of other young soldiers, and he can’t shake that very easily. A good many soldiers have gone through things on the battlefield that haunt them for the rest of their lives. Rutledge has just given a face to his, because he had to order Hamish executed, even though he knew Hamish was not at fault for wanting to protect his men.
Of course, Rutledge does find it hard to look into the rear seat of the motorcar or into mirrors, for fear of actually seeing Hamish, the voice is that real to him. But what he says is, when the voice becomes visible, it’s time to take his revolver from the trunk where he keeps it, oiled and ready, go out to the bottom of the garden and use it. He will know then that he himself has slipped over the edge of sanity.
We wouldn’t say that Rutledge doesn’t believe in ghosts in general. He’s never commented one way or the other about that. Just not this particular "ghost."
We think the series had remained so popular for several reasons. One, we play fair with the reader, so they have a fair chance of getting to the outcome before Rutledge, so it’s a fun read. Two, the period and the man work so well together that you find yourself rooting for him. He’s someone you want to believe in. Three, it’s a page turner, suspenseful and exciting. Four, each book can stand on its own two feet even though it’s part of series, so you can start anywhere, then catch up. And Five, we don’t really know how we were lucky enough to capture someone who matters so much to an awful lot of people. Maybe it’s because we care about Rutledge so very much ourselves, and it comes through in the story, drawing others to what we see in him and feel about him. He’s a man striving to do his best against great odds, and that’s always appealing—and very human.
Absolutely! We’re writing about another country, another time, and almost another language. That means a lot of research, and learning what’s important about what we discover. You can’t make all of it up—mystery fans are sharp folks, and they’ll know if you fudge it. So that’s a challenge in itself. And everything we do with characters or plot lines or action has to fit into the timeframe. Above all, it’s psychological suspense, which we love to explore, and put in the context of the period. But murder is murder, whether it’s 1915 or 2015. And a killer has to be brought to justice. It’s really hard to draw a line and say this is different because it’s a book set in the past. Where murder is concerned, and the hunt for a killer, it’s as old as Cain and Abel, and as new as today’s headlines.
We’ve just turned in the next Bess, summer of 2014, titled AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE, where Bess is accused of something she couldn’t have stopped from happening, and she has to fight to clear her name.
And we’re busy starting the next Rutledge, for January of 2015. That’s going to be exciting to write, because A FINE SUMMER’S DAY will take us back to something Rutledge has to finish before he can march off to war in 1914.
There’s a new Bess Crawford short story in the works too.
Yes, it’s a whole but short poem as a matter of fact, written by an officer who fell in the war and was buried on the battlefield. IN FLANDERS FIELDS is the title, and it’s a touching tribute to the dead of 1914-1918. The small blood red poppy became a symbol of the Great War—which is why they are still sold on Veteran’s Day. They grow abundantly across the battlefields and the cemeteries where the crosses march, row on row. And yet this is a very uplifting look at the courage of men who served in the trenches, as Rutledge and Hamish and so many others did. In some ways it’s why we wanted so much to write about Rutledge and Hamish, Bess Crawford and Simon and the Colonel Sahib.