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Search the Dark [Hardcover]

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

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Book Description

April 28 1999 Inspector Ian Rutledge Novels
August 1919: Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard is sent to Dorset to coordinate the search for two missing children and finds himself drawn to a French war bride whose loneliness mirrors his own.

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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

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 Withdrawn and suicidal, the suspect will speak to no one, and the police call Scotland Yard for help in finding the two young children who may have been in the dead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.

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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 An unusual plot for an unusual man... Feb. 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I discovered Todd's books through recommendations from Amazon.com, 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 Rousing Rutledge historical mystery March 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
In 1919, a former soldier, Mowbray, abruptly wants off the train in the small town of Singleton Magda in Dorset. The weary-looking vet swears he has seen his wife and children with another man. Not too long after that incident, that same woman is found dead and her two children missing. An incoherent, except for obviously being suicidal, Mowbray is arrested for murder.
The local police force requests Scotland Yard assists them in finding the missing children. Inspector Rutledge, also a vet, is sent to investigate. Rutledge has his own problems as he has the voice of Hamish Macleod, a Scottish deserted he personally executed, living inside his own head. As Rutledge begins his inquiries, he encounters several other souls still struggling to recover from the horrors of the war. At the same time, he begins to wonder if Mowbray actually committed the crime.
The third Inspector Rutledge novel, SEARCH THE DARK, continues in the fine tradition of its predecessors by serving up a complex entertaining mystery as well as insight into the aftermath of war. The story lien sheds light on the period through the eyes of its characters, especially Rutledge. The secondary cast illuminates post World War I England with psychological insight into the various victims of the armed conflict. However, what makes Charles Todd's latest book and series so good is the historical mystery provides the proper counterpoint to the gloomy atmosphere that threatens to engulf everyone.

Harriet Klausner
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Sum Total of Charles Todd June 12 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved Search the Dark, but even more, I love the long-term relationship that Charles Todd is building with his readers. I see that others are getting weary of the disembodied (literally) voice of Hamish. Not I. I think he is one of the most original inventions in recent literature and after the first few incredulous chapters, I began to accept him and wove him right into my sense of reality. Charles Todd has chosen a very dark and difficult time in world history, World War I, which is more romanticized but much less understood than the wars since. I appreciate his attention to detail and look forward very much to the next installment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Search the Dark Jan. 5 2000
Format:Hardcover
I very much enjoy the Charles Todd mysteries. This particular book was especially good. I must admit though that the voice of the dead comrade is beginning to annoy me. I think the mysteries stand without that added twist. I think that perhaps a book that finally frees Inspector Rutledge from this particular demon is due. Otherwise, this was an excellent book with real characters and well thought out plot. I hate the cliche but it was a real "page turner" throughout.
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