Search the Dark Hardcover – Apr 28 1999
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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 Withdrawn and suicidal, the suspect will speak to no one, and the police call Scotland Yard for help in finding the two young children who may have been in the dead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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I have only recently begun reading this series after enjoying the Bess Crawford books. Inspector Rutledge is a complex character written very well. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pamela
Another excellent Inspector Rutledge book by Charles Todd. It kept me guessing until the end.Published 13 months ago by Patty R.
This is just a great series, I can't get enough of it, feel sorry for WWI survivors, their plight was not recognized or addressed, so sad.Published on Sept. 8 2014 by Oldie Goldie
"Charles Todd" (a mother/son writing team) has/have created a memorable inspector and a haunting sidekick in this series. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2003
I was introduced to the this book by accident. While on vacation I picked up a book to read and it was this one. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2001
I had a really tough time with this book. Initially, I found it very slow moving, but I stuck with it. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2001