Friday, January 24, 2014


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 lightly.

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.

When 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 campaign speech.

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 finest.

- Gail Cooke

No comments: