Thursday, February 18, 2016
NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE by Charles Todd
There’s very little peace for the Todd hero Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge but always a compelling story for readers. Rutledge is perspicacious but troubled by his experiences in the Great War. He suffers from shell shock and guilt due to the killing of a young Scot soldier, Hamish MacLeod, who refused an order. The voice of Hamish is with Rutledge to this day, speaking to him whether invited or not.
No Shred Of Evidence takes place in the Cornish countryside, which is beautifully described. During the autumn of 1920 in the town of Padstow Victoria Grenville is entertaining friends - a neighbor Elaine St. Ives and two other young women from London, one of whom is Kate Gordon, known to Rutledge because she is related to his former fiancee. It is a beautiful day and rowing on the River Camel seems like an excellent idea until they see Harry Saunders in a sinking boat. Neither of the women is an accomplished sailor and their attempts to save him would have come to naught had it not been for the help of a farmer, Bradford Trevose, who dove into the water and saved Saunders. Surprisingly Trevose swears to the police that the women were trying to murder Saunders.
The village is shocked by this accusation and the father of one of the women calls Scotland Yard to investigate, so an inspector is sent to Padstow. But soon after his arrival he is found dead of an apparent heart attack. Rutledge is dispatched to continue the investigation. He is, of course, surprised to find that one of the young women accused is Kate Gordon and distressed to find that the former inspector’s notes have vanished.
Pressure on Rutledge mounts as Saunders lies in a coma and his family demands justice. Yet the women continue to claim their innocence saying they were only trying to save the man. Why would Trevose accuse the women if it were not so? How can Rutledge rectify the conflicting testimonies? And then another violent crime occurs and Rutledge finds himself in grave danger.
One more absorbing mystery from the Todd team that also explores the effects of war not only on the men who served but also on the women whose loved ones never returned.