First Sentence: the body rolled in the current gently, as if still alive.
It is not ever day Inspector Ian Rutledge has a man walk into his office at Scotland Yard and confess to a murder five years previous. The man is reluctant to provide details but Ian does learn he's from a village east of London. Still a murder confession is still a murder and Ian begins unofficially looking into the matter. Things take a turn when the confessor turn up murdered two weeks later. A gold locket leads Rutledge to a village in Essex where it is clear strangers are unwelcome. Far from a straight-forward murder, Ian must go into the past to solve crimes of the present.
Once again I find a book whose beginning contains a completely unnecessary and annoying portent. Even so, I found I was quickly drawn into the puzzle of both a man and a place. Something Todd does very well is provide background on Rutledge for new readers, but in a concise way so as not to bog down those who have been following the series.
I take exception to those who are tired of the Hamish-aspect of Rutledge. On the contrary, I believe it gives verisimilitude to the series and the period in which they are set. Post-traumatic stress was not yet known, yet shell-shock was, and usually treated as something one simply had to 'get over.' Seeing Rutledge struggle with it while do his job and try to appear 'normal,' is a fascinating element of Rutledge's character.
Having an author educate me, as well as entertain me, is something I admire. Todd informed me of a period and even the time and events which lead to it. The plot twists are very well executed and keep you off balance. The story within the story is fascinating. The one very slight negative I had was Rutledge's ability to keep going without food, sleep or petrol for his car seemed a bit excessive, but it does speak for his dogged character and determination to find the truth.
'The Confession' is a very good read and keeps me a fan of this series for, I suspect, a long time to come.
THE CONFESSION (Pol. Proc-Insp. Ian Rutledge-England-1920) - VG
Todd, Charles ' 14th in series
Wm. Morrow, 2012
It's always an all-night read when one of my favorite characters returns in a new adventure, and that was the case with The Confession, the 14th in the estimable Ian Rutledge series penned by Charles Todd, an unflagging mother/son team who entertain not only with this series but also with another featuring army nurse Bess Crawford.
With the Rutledge series readers enjoy two affecting characters as the detective is accompanied by the ghostly voice of his friend, Hamish Macleod, who died in the war. Rutledge needs all the help he can get in this complex, ultimately rewarding thriller.
It's not often that a man walks into Scotland Yard to confess to a five year old murder in order to clear his conscience. He gives his name as Wyatt Russell and says he is dying of cancer, which seems believable for he is "a walking skeleton, pale except for his dark hair and his pain-ridden dark eyes." The man he killed was a cousin, Justin Fowler, but Russell offers no explanation for the murder.
Setting out to investigate the story on his own Rutledge drives to the man's home located by a small village, Furnham, in the Essex marshes. His arrival is greeted with hostility by villagers who do not want him there. That is puzzle enough but a short while later when Russell's body washes up from the Thames with a bullet in the back of his head Rutledge realizes there is more to the man's story than he had imagined.
More questions than answers are the result of his probing when Rutledge discovers that the dead man was not who he claimed to be. The only clue is a gold locket carrying a picture of Cynthia Farraday that the man wore around his neck. In order to solve the case Rutledge must return to Furnham where he meets the enigmatic Miss Farraday and faces villagers who would not hesitate to kill him to protect a long held secret.
Always a likable hero, readers will find themselves pulling for Rutledge who appears more tortured than ever by his war experiences. The Confession is one more suspenseful tale from the Todds plus as always filled with surprising twists and turns.
- Gail Cooke
on January 24, 2012
I have come to really enjoy the Ian Rutledge mysteries, Charles Todd really likes to keep us biting our nails but this particular book is a stand out when it comes to twisted tales. I am reluctant to give any of book away. You have to read every word, no scanning through this book, it is not just a matter of "who is the murderer?" but "who, and why, is the corpse?". This is a lot livelier than most Rutledge books and once started, needs to be kept within reach for those five minutes you might have free. It is a classic English murder mystery novel that needs to be read by everyone that enjoys this particular genre!