First Sentence: Ronald Evering was in his study, watching a mechanical toy bank go through its motions, when the idea first came to him.
During the Boar War, Harold Quarles committed a heinous act of cowardice, brutality and, along with a partner, greed. Twenty years' later, Inspector Ian Rutledge has been call to the town of Cambury. The local constable found Quarles dead and hanging in his barn in a Christmas pageant rigging with angel wings.
In the local town, Rutledge finds a multitude of people who had no love of Quarles and are happy to see him dead. In London, where Quarles did business, he seemed to have been liked and respected and liked. Rutledge finds he needs to understand the victim to find the killer.
Although the 11th book in the series, it's only one year later in time since the start, so Rutledge is still very much dealing with shell shock, the voice of Hamish, a soldier Rutledge had shot for desertion, in his head and trying not to let anyone know it.
Ian Rutledge is such a strong character. He is prideful yet dedicated to justice while still dealing with his internal scars from WWI. The secondary characters are numerous but strong and distinctive. It is a story of characters and the damage one person can do to so many others.
The sense of time and place is so well drawn, you feel you are there. The dialogue is well done and appropriate to the time. The story is so well plotted with an abundance of trails down which Rutledge is taken in his pursuit of truth. Even our knowing Quarles history doesn't does not detract from the quest.
Once again, Todd has delivered a complex, excellent book. There is something about Todd's writing that takes it a step above. Whatever it is, I'm happy to keep reading their books.