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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: AudioGO; Unabridged edition (April 12 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609981502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609981501
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.7 x 15.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #983,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Masterly.” (New York Times Book Review on A Lonely Death) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge returns to solve his most exciting and shocking case yet in this latest entry in the bestselling series hailed as "outstanding" by the New York Times Book Review

A breathtaking blend of psychological complexity, haunting atmosphere, compelling twists, and impressive detail, the novels in the Ian Rutledge mystery series have garnered their author widespread acclaim and numerous honors and awards. At the heart of the series is the compelling Scotland Yard detective inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of the Great War who understands all too well the darkness that lies within men's souls.

Now three men have been murdered in a Sussex village, and Scotland Yard has been called in. It's a baffling case. The victims are soldiers who survived the horrors of World War I only to meet a ghastly end in the quiet English countryside two years later. Each had been garroted, with small ID discs left in their mouths.

But even Scotland Yard's presence doesn't deter this vicious and clever killer. Shortly after Inspector Ian Rutledge arrives, a fourth soldier is found dead. With few clues to go on and the pressure building, Rutledge must gamble everything—his job, his reputation, and even his life—to find answers.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 5 2011
Format: Paperback
First Sentence: The sod had grown over the graves, turning the torn earth a soft green, and the rows of white crosses gleamed brightly in the morning sun.

Veterans of The War survived the horrors of fighting only to now be murdered in this Sussex village of Eastfield. Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is sent to find a killer whose mark is killing with a garrote and leaving identity disks, but not their own, in the mouths of the victims. How many more will die and might one of them be Rutledge?

The mother and son team that comprise Charles Todd write books that are intriguing police procedurals and fairly effective anti-war stories laced with fascinating history and one of the most compelling protagonists.

We learn more, in this book, about Rutledge, his war experiences and the reason for his mentally 'hearing' the persistent voice of Hamish, a soldier whose execution Rutledge ordered. We also feel his frustration at the machinations of his superior, Boyles, the pain of his relationship with Meredith and his questioning the value of his life. Rutledge is the driving force in the story with just enough back story on the secondary characters for the reader to understand their relationship to the story and each other. I particularly appreciated the rector's comment of 'I don't hold with judging my flock. I see no reason to usurp God's right.' That, alone, says a lot about the man.

The impact of war, in this case WWI, is effectively brought to bear. Todd writes a painful and effective description of the impact war has on those who fight and, by extension, their loved ones. At the same time, they comment on the naivety and ignorance of those at home regarding the conditions and experience of those who fight.
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By Elizabeth L Tovey on Sept. 27 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
always wonderful books
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 109 reviews
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Have you noticed some of the best British whodunits are written by Americans? Example: this one. Nov. 5 2010
By Sharon Isch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In a small rural village in England, shortly after the end of World War I, someone with a garotte is killing off, one at a time, a cadre of former school classmates, now all grown up and recently returned home from the trenches in France. This 13th in the series may well be the best Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery I've yet read, and I've read most of them.

I'm a longtime fan of the shell-shocked World War I copper from Scotland Yard created by the American mother-son team that writes under the name of Charles Todd. But I'd been starting to lose interest of late, mostly because the Todds' increasing use of way-too-convenient coincidences to drive their plots was driving my suspension-of-disbelief willingness up the wall. But not this time. What a pleasure then to come across this dense, tightly plotted, nicely paced, wonderfully well written, character driven, un-put-downable, edge-of-your-seat nail biter...and nary a wildly unbelievable coincidence anywhere to be found...until the very last page! And what a doozy that one was. But it also wasn't at all relevant to the main plot. So no major grousing about it from me this time. I suppose that by this point they just had to toss one off-the-wall coincidence in there in somewhere, else we might not realize we'd just read a "Todd.")

I also thought the Todds did a better than usual job this time of helping novice readers get a bead on Rutledge's personal history with Hamish, the voice in his head; Margot Channing, the woman he pines for; and Superintendent Bowles, his nemesis at Scotland Yard. While I tend to think most mystery series are best read in chronological order, I think this book holds up pretty well on its own.

P.S. Have you noticed how many of the best writers of British detective stories these days live and write on this side of the pond--for example: the East Coast Todds, Texas's Deborah Crombie; and California's Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King and Elizabeth George?
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A big improvement on recent Rutledge offerings Dec 12 2010
By S. McGee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In this, the 13th in the series of mystery novels featuring Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge, the mother/son writing duo who make up author Charles Todd are in better form than they have been in the last two or three books in the series - and the Rutledge series is much more compelling than the new one, featuring nurse Bess Crawford, from the same writing team.

It is still 1920, and Rutledge is still struggling to do his job while battling with the after-effects of shell shock, a legacy of the trenches of the Western front in World War 1. He is still haunted by the specter of Hamish, his friend and sergeant whom he had to put in front of a firing squad for refusing to carry out orders; now Hamish's voice rings in his head and he is almost a physical presence to Rutledge, one that those around him in the "real" world can't see. Rutledge must solve crimes while not being driven around the bend by Hamish's comments and reproaches, on everything from the past to the present, and not disclosing his mental condition to his superiors or even to the woman he is coming to love. In Rutledge and Hamish, "Charles Todd" has created two great characters of detective fiction.

But Rutledge isn't the only one haunted by the past, as becomes clear in this book. One of his friends is unable to cope and kills himself; his former superior is still brooding over an unsolved crime dating back 15 years, the woman Rutledge is drawn to proves to have her own secrets in the past, while a series of murders of men from the same small Sussex town may have something to do with their wartime service. Or do the roots go further back, to a different kind of trauma? This is the main plot, and it's very suspenseful and successful; in the lead up to the climactic confrontation between Rutledge and the murderer, I actually found myself holding my breath several times while I turned the pages. Some of the secondary plot twists, particularly the 1905 "cold case" are deeply implausible, but work to shed a bit more light on Rutledge as a character.

If you've been following the Rutledge series but had found some of the recent books less compelling than the first, try this one. True, it's not as good as the first three or four in the series, but then few series manage to stay fresh this long anyway. Happily, Rutledge and Hamish are so unusual and the setting of the immediate aftermath of World War One so vividly portrayed that even a later book in this series is still better than a lot of other mystery novels out there -- including the other "Charles Todd" series, which feels more perfunctory, with a lot of dashing from point A to point B in motorcars. If you haven't been reading the series, however, this book isn't the place to start; go back to square one and read the debut, A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries).
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining but Implausible Nov. 4 2010
By C. Klaassen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is the 13th book in Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge Series and it unfortunately deserves the number. The primary storyline is promising but underdeveloped. The secondary storyline is ridiculous. But worst of all, an ancillary storyline dealing with Inspector Rutledge's personal life is a melodramatic mess. The book is an engaging effort brought down by ludicrous elements.

The Inspector Rutledge series is set in post WWI England. Ian Rutledge is a Scotland Yard Detective recently returned from the battlefields of France. He is a sharp shadow of the man he once was, a victim of shell shock who carries the voice of the corporal who served with him (Hamish) in the back of his head. As the series progresses, Hamish becomes less an angry destructive presence and more an acerbic helpmate. In this book Inspector Rutledge is called from the funeral of a close friend to the village of Eastfield. There have been a series of murders in the village and the victims are recently returned servicemen who have been garroted and left with an identity disc in their mouth. Inspector Rutledge struggles to find a commonality between the murder victims and as the murders continue must delve deeply into the past to find what drives this murderous soul. A secondary, and totally unnecessary, storyline features a cold case which haunts the Chief Inspector Cummins. Cummins is retiring and as he cleans out his desk shares details of a murder committed on Midsummer's Eve in 1905 at Stonehenge. Rutledge is gripped by the tale and stumbles across highly relevant information as he attempts to solve the murders in Eastfield Village. (There is entirely too much coincidence in this storyline to make it at all credible and the conclusion is frankly ridiculous.) Rutledge must also deal with the suicide of a close friend, the imminent death of another friend and saying goodbye to a possible love interest. None of these elements are fully developed and what could have been heartrending storytelling is in the end rather flat. Couple all these story lines with Rutledge running hither and yon about the countryside, across the water and back and you have a rather disjointed mess.

I have been slowly making my way through the Inspector Rutledge series and have to say that this is my least favorite book so far. (I am currently in the midst of "A False Mirror.") Charles Todd (a mother/son writing team) have also written another murder mystery series in the same setting and time frame featuring a WWI nurse, Bess Crawford (I like to call her The Good Sister Sherlock). In general this writing duo tells a compelling tale, sketches interesting characters and keeps you guessing until the end. The first books in the Inspector Rutledge series are probably their best efforts.

Recommended only for die hard fans of the Inspector Rutledge Series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Quiet, enjoyable historical mystery, post-World War I Dec 12 2010
By Esther Schindler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I had adored Charles Todd's An Impartial Witness, so when Amazon Vine gave me the opportunity to read a pre-release copy of his latest mystery, I jumped at the chance. I'm so very glad I did.

A Lonely Death is far from the first in the series about Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge, who survived World War I and is still trying to come to terms with its impact on his life. But I can assure you that you don't need to read the earlier books in the series; it stood alone just fine.

Like An Impartial Witness (which is focused on a totally different character), the events in this novel take place soon after World War I -- in July 1920, specifically. Inspector Rutledge is called to a small town near Hastings after three ex-soldiers are killed. Each man was garroted, and left with an identity disk (the precursor to "dog tags") in their mouths. But it's someone *else's* identity disk. Rutledge must find the murderer before someone else dies...

As in An Impartial Witness, Todd's writing style is quiet. His characters spend a lot of time talking, and as a reader you mostly follow along as Rutledge asks people for information. You figure out Whodunnit along with the protagonist rather than spot a gun sitting on the table and wanting to shout, "LOOK ON THE TABLE! THERE'S A GUN!" This isn't an exciting book that will make your heart beat faster. But it absolutely made me turn pages wanting to know what would happen next, and I always found myself reading, "Just one more chapter..." before going to bed. Okay, maybe three more chapters. Or five.

Todd paints wonderfully visual word-pictures that draw you into the protagonist's world in small ways. "Iris Lane was just that, a short track edged its entire length with beds of iris, the broad green swords of their leaves unmistakable, although there were no blooms now. Old Well House was a pretty cottage, windows open wide to the morning air and a line of wash already hung out at the side of the kitchen garden." You feel as though you're breathing the summer air, as though you can almost smell the laundry soap.

This is an excellent and enjoyable mystery, meant for a solitary evening sitting by the fireside with a mug of tea. I heartily recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Series Appropriate For Both Adults and Youngsters to Get Hooked on Books! Nov. 12 2010
By Tom McGee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Charles Todd is the pen name for a mother and son writing team from Delaware and North Carolina respectively. A Lonely Death is their thirteenth Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery novel and the third that I have read in the series.

Like A Matter of Justice and The Red Door, in A Lonely Death the authors weave an outstanding tale of the adventures of Inspector Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard protagonist whose duty it is to solve murders while dealing with his own haunting by a ghost, Hamish, from his World War I (WW I) wartime service in France.

In July 1920 in London, Ian's boss Chief Inspector Cummins is about to retire with a perfect record of solving crimes, save one, the murder of Harvey Wheeler in 1905 by an unidentified killer.

Throughout the story, little by little Ian's uncovers clues and communicates with Cummins until that murder in the end is solved; however, Ian has his own active murder cases in the growing town of Eastfield, Sussex, England where several young WW I veterans who grew up together are being systematically isolated and garroted in the dark of night by an mysterious assailant.

The pace and suspense builds with imperil to Ian's reputation, life and livelihood.

The authors provide vivid details of the history and setting of the town and surroundings while developing the characters and unraveling twists and turns of the tale.

Like the other Ian Rutledge novels I have read, this 342-page mystery is a quick read, appropriate for middle school through adults as it does not contain profanity, sex, or vivid violence and it fully developed.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in this series. Enjoy!