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A Test Of Wills Lp Paperback – Large Print, Mar 5 2010

45 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 Lgr edition (March 5 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061946273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061946271
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,814,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Having just returned from France after World War I with a medal of honor and serious shell shock, Inspector Ian Rutledge struggles to settle back into his duties at Scotland Yard. When, despite his tenuous condition, an envious supervisor assigns him to a traumatic case involving the murder of an army colonel and a young captain as the prime suspect, Rutledge must gather all of his strength to not only solve the case, but fight the town people's prejudice against military personnel. To make matters worse, the prime witness is another veteran--on the brink of insanity--scorned by the villagers for what they perceive to have been less than honorable conduct during his tour of duty. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Inspector Ian Rutledge, a British veteran of the Great War secretly still suffering from shell-shock, returns to his Scotland Yard job in hopes of exorcizing his private demons. However, a devious higher-up has learned of his Achilles heel and gets Ian assigned to a potentially explosive and career-damaging case?a murder involving a decorated war hero, a beautiful ward, and a shell-shocked witness. Strong, elegant prose; detailed surroundings; and sound plotting characterize this debut historical?the first in a projected series. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave and Joe TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 5 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First book in a first rate series. Todd manages to capture a time with precision, the mysteries are engaging, the investigator(s) likable. Other reviewers will give you an idea of plot. I simply want to add something important to the discussion. This is a series to read from the start. I was lucky to discover the first book first and then have read them as written. While they stand alone as good mysteries, there are characters and incidents from previous books mentioned in subsequent books. It's like the author's nod to those of us who have followed along. Wonderful series, enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Binx Bolling on Feb. 26 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I picked up this book, I saw a blurb on the cover saying it had been named one of the hundred best mysteries of the century (!) by some group called the "Independent Mystery Booksellers Association." This set my expectations high. Too high, as it turned out. As a mystery, "A Test of Wills" is second rate. The pacing is uneven and the solution comes from out of nowhere. It seems to have been grafted on from one of those psycho movies that starred Bette Davis at the end of her career. (It also renders the rest of the book as just a batch of red herrings.) As a novel, the book is somewhat more successful. Todd is a good stylist, and he creates an interesting cast of characters, including his protagonist, the sympathetic police detective Ian Rutledge. He also captures the time and place well (a Warwickshire village, circa World War I). The gimmick in this series is that Rutledge is a shell-shocked war veteran who is constantly badgered by a voice inside his head, the voice of a soldier he had executed years before. This gimmick wears thin very quickly. I was hoping that the voice would become an imaginary sidekick who helped him solve the crime, but that was not to be. Instead, the voice just became an annoying distraction. I think that fans of historical fiction are more likely to be pleased by this book than hard core mystery buffs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Jo Mengeling on Oct. 31 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book because it was listed to be one of the top 100 mysteries of the 20th century. I can often figure out "whodunit" when I read mysteries, and I appreciate a book where I am unable to do so, as happened here. Yet when the truth was revealed, I realized that I had been given all of the clues.
I thought the character of Inspector Ian Rutledge was very well drawn; I was really able to sympathize with his struggle with shell shock, self-doubt and lost love. Although his shell shock contributed a lot to how he dealt with the murder case, it didn't distract from the mystery. His shell shock manifests as the voice of Hamish, a soldier under his command, who Rutledge had shot for desertion on the front in France. Some of Hamish's comments were obscure, but I didn't think he got in the way.
The story held me in a pretty good grip, accelerating to the end. It was hard to put down in the last several chapters. All in all, very well done, and I think deserving of a spot on the top 100 mysteries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sires on Sept. 4 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think some of the confusion about Todd's work is the fact that Todd is not trying to write an imitation of a golden age mystery. He is trying to recreate the period just after the end of World War I when Britain was adjusting to the momentous changes forced on it by the war inasfar as it aids in the story that Todd is telling.
Todd's interest is in the effect of the war on the individual and society as played out in the homicide career of Ian Rutledge. The over-riding story arc involves Rutledge's antagonist at Scotland Yard who is trying to set Rutledge up for a fall. This is not a spoiler because it is revealed very early in the book. This specific story is about the murder of a local landowner who seemed to have no enemies, although he had recently quarreled with his ward's fiance, a war hero high in the esteem of the nation and the Royal Family. This political hot potato is tossed to Rutledge to resolve. Failure could mean the end of his career. Success could mean the end of his career.
For those who think that the sexual frankness of some of the characters in this book is out of period, they need to look at the social history of the time rather than what one thinks the social history is. Remember Lady Chatterley's Lover and the Well of Loneliness were both published in this decade. And even though both of the books were pronounced obscene, they were still gobbled up by the reading public.
Although his prose is at times gothic and overwrought, Todd also floats some very interesting ideas. The series clearly, at this stage at least is worth following.
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By B. Chandler TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 28 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the firs in a series of Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries. It does not take us long to know the man and the burden he carries. It is this side of him and the descriptions of the world after the Great War that adds a unique value to the writing and our lives also.

A week ago headstrong Colonel Harris was unceremoniously dispatched. All signs point to the dispatcher being a war hero with friends in high places. Who ever takes the case needs to be expendable. Rutledge's superior Bowls suspected Rutledge's secret and decided he would make the perfect scapegoat.

It is interesting as the story unfolds we see mysteries within mysteries, maybe a few red herrings and many unwell people that can usually be detected by Rutledge but not always. As there is a race with time Rutledge's trying to regain his uncanny detective skills we also but figure out who did the deed and who. To some the answer will be obvious to others it will feel that he pulled a clue out of the closet at the last moment. In any case you will be intrigued to the conclusion.
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