If you’ve not already been introduced to the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries the 16th entry in this exceptional series, Hunting Shadows, is a good place to start. Written by a mother/son writing team using the pen name Charles Todd these books are widely recognized as one of the best historical series being written today and for this reader the latest considerably raises the bar.
A little background for
those who have not yet had the pleasure: Todd has created a sympathetic,
compelling protagonist in Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard. He’s a
shell-shocked veteran of World War I who is haunted by the voice of
Hamish, a man under his command whom he was forced to order executed.
Rutledge is intrepid, highly intelligent and doesn’t suffer fools
Hunting Shadows is richly atmospheric taking place in
Scotland’s Fen country where water has apparently separated the
populace, even those in a village ten miles away are considered
foreigners. Dense fog shrouds the landscape and seems to cloak the
inhabitants as well as lending to a sense of isolation.
local law enforcement is stumped by two murders Scotland Yard is called
in - Rutledge is also almost baffled. The deaths appear to be
unrelated. A sniper first shot Captain Hutchinson as he was entering a
church for a wedding (walking too close to the groom for comfort?). The
second death was that of Herbert Swift, a Tory candidate for Parliament
- he was relieved of his head just as he was beginning an outdoor
No one saw anything or heard anything save for a
woman who claims to have seen the face of a monster in a window
immediately before Swift was shot. As time passes Scotland Yard presses
for answers and no one would like to find them more than Rutledge.
With a seamlessly constructed complex plot deftly written and a unique
unforgettable lead character Hunting Shadows is mystery writing at its
- Gail Cooke