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A Test of Wills

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Test of Wills (1996) Charles Todd

This was a re-read. After reading and thoroughly enjoying the Bess Crawford mystery, I remembered I had several books in Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge series, and decided to reread them.

Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard served in the Great War, and he’s suffering shell shock from his experiences there, but he has hoped that returning to work will help him past this, and if he’s busy, he’ll stop remembering the war, and stop hearing the voices of those lost under his command.

Colonel Harris was well liked by everyone Upper Streetham, so his brutal murder came as a terrible shock. His beautiful ward was preparing to marry Captain Wilton, but rumors of an argument have made the dashing war hero a suspect, so Rutledge is sent by a jealous superior in Scotland Yard, who hopes the case might break him.

This series is set after the great war (the Bess Crawford series is set during the war) and Ian Rutledge is a damaged man. What I like about this book is the same thing I enjoyed about the Bess Crawford–a look at the early twentieth century, and the changes (and destruction) wrought by the war–as well as of a world undergoing rapid change.

“Tell me something. Why is everyone so determined to believe Wilton is innocent?”

Surprised, Davies said, “He’s a war hero isn’t he? Admired by the King and a friend of the Prince of Wales. He’s visited Sandringham, been received by Queen Mary herself! A man like that doesn’t go around killing people!”

With a wry downturn of his lips, Rutledge silently asked, How did he win his medals, you fool, if not by being so very damned good at killing?

I think we still forget that.
Rating: 7/10

Published by HarperCollins




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