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Search the Dark [Paperback]

Charles Todd
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 4 1999
When a woman is murdered in a sleepy Dorset village, it appears to be a crime of passion. The killer is immediately arrested. But it is the identity of the victim that brings Inspector Rutledge down to investigate. For if the woman was the killer's wife, then where are their two children?

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From Amazon

In Search the Dark, the third entry in Charles Todd's remarkable series, the walking-wounded survivors of World War I crowd the English landscape. Scotland Yard's Inspector Rutledge is one of many who suffer from shell shock. He constantly hears--and responds to--the voice of Hamish, a Scottish soldier he shot for cowardice. His latest case does not help his fragile state of mind as it involves another weary and discouraged veteran, Bert Mowbray.

On his way to Lyme Regis to search for work, Bert looks out of the train window in a town called Singleton Magna, and sees an unbelievable sight--his wife and two children who he thought were killed in a London bombing raid. He leaps off the train and tries to find his family, racing desperately across fields and country roads, and finally winding up asleep under a tree. Meanwhile, the battered body of a woman is found on the edge of a cornfield, and Mowbray is arrested. Is the woman his wife? Did he kill her? And what happened to the two children who were with her?

Everywhere Rutledge looks, he shows us various forms of damage caused by the war--from the hopes of a local girl whose lover returned with a French wife, to the trauma that Mowbray is going through. As in the first two books, A Test of Wills and Wings of Fire, Todd demonstrates the massive damage done to an entire country by focusing on the small, personal battles of the survivors. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The third compelling Ian Rutledge mystery (Wings of Fire; A Test of Wills) takes the sensitive and appealing Scotland Yard inspector, a former WWI officer, to the countryside of Dorset. In 1919, another former soldier is arrested for murder in the town of Singleton Magna after the battered corpse of a young woman is found nearby. Withdrawn and suicidal, the suspect will speak to no one, and the police call Scotland Yard for help in finding the two young children who may have been in the dead woman's charge. Rutledge arrives, still carrying in his head the voice of Hamish MacLeod, a Scottish deserter whom he executed during the war and whose harsh, conscience-like presence in the inspector's mind seems to soften as the novel progresses, adding dimension to Todd's literary device. In his investigation, Rutledge encounters others whose spirits were ravaged in the war: Simon Wyatt, scion of local gentry, who has abandoned his plans to serve in Parliament; his French wife, unaccepted by the townspeople; Wyatt's former fianc?e, who may not have given up her previous expectations; a young local man whose head wound has left him mentally diminished; and an independent young woman from London. The discovery of a second woman's battered corpse further knots Rutledge's task, which is rooted, it evolves in this fine period mystery, as much in love as in war. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The murder appeared to be a crime of passion, the killer having left a trail of evidence behind him that even a blind man might have followed. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this series immensely Feb. 2 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Charles Todd" (a mother/son writing team) has/have created a memorable inspector and a haunting sidekick in this series. I particularly liked the war flashbacks, which sometimes were important for solving the mystery. Sometimes the situations were improbable,'s mystery fiction, where improbability is typical. All I can recommend to the authors is that they tie up the loose ends with a bit more tidiness and detail more of Rutledge's logic in solving the mysteries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Addition to an Excellent Series April 1 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
in this third outing, Ian Rutledge, and his conscience Hamish, are sent to Dorset to investigate a murder of a woman and the disappearance of her two children. He follows each clue only to find more questions and additional clues.
This is British procedural writing at it's best. Todd has not suffered from second or third book syndrome. His writing is precise and concise - each word chosen with care. Rutledge contunues to be a tortured soul who is a compassionate and intelligent investigator. Todd's ending surprised me, but that just makes for good reading.
If you enjoy procedurals, make sure you read this series. If you've wanted to try a procedural, but didn't know where to begin, begin with this one - all others will pale by comparison.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual plot for an unusual man... Feb. 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I discovered Todd's books through recommendations from, and for that I thank them. Todd writes about a world that disappeared almost a century ago. It is due to his writing abilities that that world is recreated again for his readers. I pick up one of his books, and immediately my mind settles into a simpler, but dark time of history after WWI. Rutledge is a different protagonist, who brings with him into his cases both the knowledge of human goodness and the inhumanity of man that he learned from his war experience.
Rutledge keeps quiet concerning his shadow presence, Hamish. The world was a lot less forgiving of mental illness back in those decades then it is even now. Hamish's presence in these books apparently bothers some readers, yet it is partly his presence which differentiates these books from others of this genre. Those who have studied psychiatry and neuroscience are aware of the different coping mechanisms used by those exposed to massive trauma, and few wars have dealt out the type of trauma the young men from England were exposed to during WWI.
The plot of this book is another ripple effect of the war. Those who made it back alive, not always made it back whole...even if their bodies appeared unscathed. And the impact of the war touched all of those families and towns, including the women. Many families, mothers and wives who expected a return to normality, were asked to deal with sons and husbands who returned with massive psychological problems. Many of them had to deal with these problems on their own without professional help, and also find a way to provide for their families.
Todd does an excellent job of writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Search The Dark Aug. 16 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was introduced to the this book by accident. While on vacation I picked up a book to read and it was this one. I can tell you that now on hooked on all of Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge novels! Once you start reading, you can't put the books down. I've read all in the series and I'm anxiously his latest novel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow moving, but worth the while. Aug. 13 2001
I had a really tough time with this book. Initially, I found it very slow moving, but I stuck with it. For me, it still didn't really pick up until towards the end when Rutledge starting piecing things together, but I'm glad I saw it through. The ending totally caught me by surprise. I never saw it coming.
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