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A Matter Of Justice: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery [Hardcover]

Charles Todd
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Dec 22 2008 Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries

“Charles Todd hasn’t made a misstep yet in his elegant series featuring Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge, and A Matter of Justice keeps the streak going.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

The Washington Post calls the Ian Rutledge novels by Charles Todd, “one of the best historical series being written today.” A Matter of Justice—the eleventh in the New York Times Notable, Edgar® Award-nominated, and Barry Award-winning series—brings back the haunted British police inspector and still shell-shocked World War One veteran in a tale of unspeakable murder in a small English village filled to bursting with dark secrets and worthy suspects. A New York Times bestseller as spellbinding and evocative as the best of Ruth Rendell, Anne Perry, Martha Grimes, and P.D. James, A Matter of Justice represents a new high for this exceptional storyteller.


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Review

“There’s no end to war in Charles Todd’s unnervingly beautiful historical novels....Here the mother and son who write under the name Charles Todd get it all right.” (New York Times Book Review)

“What has distinguished the Rutledge series from other historical crime fiction is that it often transcends the whodunit formula with its concerns about the morality of war and the terrible toll it took on the British nation.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“In the stellar 11th Insp. Ian Rutledge mystery, Todd seamlessly combines a fair-play whodunit with a nuanced look into the heart of darkness in the human soul.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“A wonderfully plotted mystery will keep you engrossed and guessing right up to the end....This terrific read will please longtime fans and those new to the series.” (Romantic Times)

“Another triumph...This is a historical mystery that should be used as a guide on how to do it right. Intriguing and complex, this is a superbly rich novel and a real treat for mystery fans.” (Crime Spree magazine)

“Smoothly constructed.” (Booklist)

“With its typically intricate plotting, detailed characterizations, and red herrings, this is a compelling addition to the popular Ian Rutledge series.” (Library Journal)

“The plot is as complicated as any that Agatha Christie contrived, with characters as dark and complex as any of P. D. James’....Just the ticket.” (Wilmington Star News)

“This series makes the anguish of the First World War and its scarred veterans as fresh as our own. Lovers of the British cozy will enjoy the range of settings, from cottage gardens to the remote Scilly Isles to fine country estates.” (Charlotte Observer)

“A sharp look at a country recovering from the devastation of war. Although it is set in the early 20th century, Todd’s novels are timeless.” (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

“Charles Todd hasn’t made a misstep yet in his elegant series featuring Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge, and A Matter of Justice keeps the streak going.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“[A] complex British-style police procedural that explores the intersection of justice and vengeance served up cold. It’s especially recommended for readers who relish P. D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh mysteries.” (Boston Globe)

“Few people writing today are as deft as Todd at creating historical fiction....A Matter of Justice is an intricately plotted mystery dealing with the lingering effects of yet another war.” (Winston-Salem Journal)

“Complicated, thoughtful, atmospheric historical mysteries of small-town England, as richly flavored as Guinness Stout.” (Sullivan County Democrat)

“Literate and wise, A Matter of Justice combines a plot worthy of Christie with characterization reminiscent of [P. D.] James and a profound melancholy that channels [Ruth] Rendell....The discerning reader with find not only intellectual stimulation but also moral enlightenment.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“A compelling book, as Charles Todd’s books always are. It seizes the reader’s interest at the very first page and keeps it until the end.” (Mystery News)

From the Back Cover

The superb new entry in the historical series the New York Times Book Review hails as "outstanding" and the Cleveland Plain Dealer calls "superb"

At the turn of the century, in a war taking place far from England, two soldiers chance upon an opportunity that will change their lives forever. To take advantage of it, they will be required to do the unthinkable, and then to put the past behind them. But not all memories are so short.

Twenty years later, a successful London busi-nessman is found savagely and bizarrely murdered in a medieval tithe barn on his estate in Somerset. Called upon to investigate, Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge soon discovers that the victim was universally despised. Even the man's wife—who appears to be his wife in name only—and the town's police inspector are suspect. But who, among the many, hated him enough to kill?

Rutledge tenaciously follows a well-concealed trail reaching back to an act so barbarous and with consequences so devastating that even the innocent are enveloped by the murderous tide of events. As he summons all his skills to break through a wall of silence in time to stem this tide, others are eager to twist the truth for their own ends. When justice takes a malevolent turn, can Rutledge's own career survive?


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4.0 out of 5 stars British Mystery Dec 28 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the best things about Charles (and Caroline) Todd is their ability to hold your interest despite knowing almost everything at the outset. Rutledge epitomizes the ravages of war and how it permeates the psyche and never leaves those those who fought therein. While greed and money if an oft-used formula for tragedy, it is never a dull one. The re-appearance of Meredith Channing will be welcomed by Todd fans.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  81 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got this last night, gulped it right down! Nov. 26 2008
By Melanchthon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Plays in the interwar years: a Scotland Yard inspector is despatched to an English village to solve the murder of an unpopular man who bought an estate in the area. Everyone in the village hated him, including the local police man, so the solving of the crime turns into a critical sifting of the misleading statements and non-statements made by different witnesses. One gets a nice sense of the dynamics of village life, and the period/historical touches are accurate and lend depth to the story. There is a counterpoint with an earlier incident in the Boer War that is also well-sketched. The inspector is a veteran of WWI trench warfare, and he has a "voice in his ear" from Hamish, one of his (dead) men, that adds an interesting psychological frisson and commentary to the different interviews that the inspector makes. Usually I don't care for paranormal stuff, but this was just enough on the border of the psychological that I enjoyed it very much. However, Hamish's accent was annoying--not very authentic.

I loved the story, though. I was unfamiliar with this series before, but I am going to be seeking out the earlier titles this afternoon. The book reads a bit like a combination of early Agatha Christie both in the storytelling and the emotional restraint of the narrative with the psychological depth of Pat Barker. I loved it!
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Psychological Mystery Dec 24 2008
By barry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
First thing, the author here - Charles Todd - is actually a mother and son writing team. It is very impressive to me that two people can join together as one to produce such a highly intelligent, literary and intelligent piece of work. Kudos of the highest order are deserved.

The main story here evolves around the death of a not very well liked London businessman Harold Quarles. His body is discovered in the most unusual of circumstances in Somerset, where he has a summer estate. Called in is Scotland Yard Investigator Ian Rutledge. He certainly has his hands full for all the townspeople in both Somerset and London are not very fond of Mr. Quarles. Almost everyone is a suspect, openly verbalizing their dislike of the man and gratitude that someone finally did away with him.

The story mainly takes place in 1920 England but does take trips back to some major events in South Africa during the Boer War. There are a lot of characters here and they are all three dimensional and very well developed. They are all very believable. Most believable though is the main character, our Inspector, Ian Rutledge. His character does not merely go through the motions. We understand and are told why he thinks what he does and why he takes the actions he chooses. He is a troubled soul and has some mental problems due to some issues that fill him with great guilt from his own actions in WWI. He feels responsible for the death of a particular soldier and this spector haunts him. This man is very real to Ian Rutledge and he hears him talking to him all the time. Inspector Rutledge is a very complex man who is excellent at his job while being so disturbed that he continuously talks out loud to this dead man whose voice he hears. This makes for a very intriguing main character.

This is the 11th novel in the INSPECTOR RUTLEDGE series and my first time venturing into it. I had some questions about certain background material but I'm sure all these issues would have been addressed had I read the other books. I read it as a stand alone and still found it first rate. I give it 4 stars and not 5 for even though it is so well written and provides great psychological characterization it does remain a whodunit. At times I got a little bored and wished there was a little more suspense, a little more happening, to make the ride a little more pleasurable.

But I do highly recommend this book. If you are a reader of the series I am sure you will be thrilled. And if you are looking to explore a new writer, this one can't be beat.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good historical mystery. Nov. 29 2008
By Pug lover. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Inspector Ian Rutledge is in top form in this very complicated mystery. Of course he has the help of Hamish, the voice in his head of a soldier he killed in WW1. This story begins with a horrible event during the Boer War. Twenty years later the consequences come home to roost. The villians are finally punihed for the acts they committed.There is a very realistic depiction of village life where the murder of the village squire in his Tithe barn takes place in a very unique way.I really liked this book and it kept me guessing until the end. I am sure most mystery lovers will find it really will help pass a cold winter day reading in a cozy room.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many red herrings mar an otherwise engaging mystery Dec 31 2009
By J. Fuchs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
After a few introductory paragraphs about a huge injustice done to one man during the Boer War, we switch unexpectedly to the viewpoint of Inspector Rutledge, who is battling his own demons from his service during WWI, including the appearance in his mind of his dead Scottish comrade, Hamish, who throughout the book comments on Rutledge's actions. Once the switch in perspective is accomplished, the book is fairly engaging, as Inspector Rutledge is called to Somerset on behalf of his employer, Scotland Yard, to help the local police investigate the murder of one of the scoundrels from the opening chapters.

Rutledge gets involved in the tiniest details of the lives of the villagers, all of whom seem to have had cause to carry out the murder and all of whom seem, inexplicably, to be suicidal, lending a melodramtic air to what is otherwise a fairly straightforward murder mystery, albeit one that flags at the very beginning what may be going on.

The problem for me is that I wanted this to be what the title promises, namely a mystery, and it was more a study of village life. I think I would have liked it better if the opening paragraphs had been omitted, and the events related therein uncovered in the course of Rutledge's investigation, and the details of the villagers lives had been a bit more interesting.

Worth reading, but certainly not a great book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It was time his ways caught up with him" Dec 17 2008
By Linda Bulger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Readers of Charles Todd's series know Ian Rutledge as a former army man haunted by his experiences in WWI, now an inspector at Scotland Yard. A Matter of Justice: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) is the first I've read in the series and I am eager to go back and read some of the earlier stories.

The book begins with a tried and true technique: first we meet Ronald Evering contemplating revenge in the book's "real time" of 1920, and then we flash back to the wartime crime in which two soldiers caused the death of Evering's brother. From there the book returns to 1920 and moves in a linear fashion. Rutledge is pulled in to investigate the death of one of the former soldiers, and there's a twist to the crime that speaks of real passion.

The crime scene is in Cambury, "a village that's outgrown itself." The victim, Quarles, was a London financial advisor with a country home in Cambury where he'd appointed himself squire, indulged in some bad behavior, and lined up an impressive array of enemies. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker (figuratively speaking) and Quarles's estranged wife all had issues with him. Rutledge follows up leads, makes a couple of quick trips back to London to question people, and progresses from theory to theory; there are many potential suspects in Cambury, London, and beyond. It's all well plotted and in the end all the loose ends are tied up in a satisfactory fashion. There may not be many "aha! moments" until the end but then that's probably the case in real police work too.

A MATTER OF JUSTICE could have been a five star read for me if there had been more of the back-story revealed. In particular, I was distracted by young Hamish MacLeod who was killed in the war while under Rutledge's command. He talks to Rutledge like an imaginary friend, and Rutledge talks back to him. This manifestation of Rutledge's shell shock might have been more effective for me if I'd read some of the earlier books; it kept me from getting inside the main character's head, which was already occupied by Hamish.

Overall I found this a satisfactory four-star read and I will definitely explore what the authors have done with this series in the earlier books. Charles Todd is the pen name for a mother-son duo.

This review was written from an uncorrected advance copy, for which I thank the publisher and Amazon Vine.

Linda Bulger, 2008
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