A LONELY DEATH by Charles Todd

Book Quote:

“I’m writing to say good-bye. My decision has been made and by the time you read this, there will be no turning back. I have tried….But the war changed me, it changed my family, it changed everything, and finding my way again to what I knew before isn’t possible.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky В (JAN 23, 2011)

A Lonely Death, by Charles Todd, is one of the most haunting mysteries in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. The year is 1920 and the First World War has taken an enormous toll on the young Englishmen who naively went off to battle, expecting excitement and adventure. What they found, instead, was terror and violent death. Those who returned were often shell-shocked and/or physically maimed; their families suffered along with the damaged soldiers.

Rutledge barely made it through the war. He was nearly buried alive, and at times, wishes that he had never been rescued. He was severely traumatized by his horrific experiences and bears boundless guilt for his role in sending his men to their deaths. One deceased Scottish soldier named Hamish MacLeod still gives Ian no peace. Rutledge walks around with the young Highlander’s voice, “relentless and unforgiving,” resounding in his head, chiding him, giving advice, and reminding Rutledge that he does not deserve to live a normal life.

At least his work gives Rutledge some respite from his despondency. After he sees off Chief Inspector Cummins, who is retiring, Rutledge is called to Eastfield, Sussex, where a series of deaths by garroting have left three men dead in nine days. This case will prove to be a crucible that will test Rutledge’s determination and strength of character. He, along with Constable Walker and others, must determine why these particular men were targeted. Did the murders have something to do with events that occurred during the war? The evidence points in a number of different directions and the answers are far from obvious. In addition, Rutledge looks into a cold case that Cummins had always wanted to solve, but could not. This subplot is not particularly realistic, but it is intriguing nevertheless.

The mother and son who collaborate under the name Charles Todd have created a complex novel of psychological suspense with a large cast of memorable characters, evocative descriptive writing, and meticulous attention to historical detail. A Lonely Death is a wrenching story of revenge and sorrow. Charles Todd’s fine work of fiction is not only a commentary on the hellish price of war, but it is also an incisive look at the battles we wage each day–with our acquaintances, relatives, employers, and even with ourselves. Few emerge from these encounters unscathed. Inspector Ian Rutledge, alas, still has a great deal of healing to do before he can face the future with equanimity.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 41 readers
PUBLISHER: William Morrow (January 4, 2011)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our reviews of:

A Duty to the Dead

A Pale Horse

A Test of Wills


Inspector Ian Rutledge series:

Francesca Hatton series:

Bess Crawford, British army nurse:

January 23, 2011 В· Judi Clark В· No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  В· Posted in: Facing History, Psychological Suspense, Sleuths Series, United Kingdom

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