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 Withdrawn and suicidal, the suspect will speak to no one, and the police call Scotland Yard for help in finding the two young children who may have been in the dead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