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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 STARS - Another wonderful Ian and Hamish outing
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...
Published on 4 Dec 2008 by L. J. Roberts

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3.0 out of 5 stars Decently Written But Lacks Suspense And Depth!
The writing team known as Charles Todd does a decent job in creating a historical sense of time and place for their eleventh book featuring Detective Inspector Rutledge. That being said, however, the author's description of the anguished, haunted inner nature of their main character is getting a bit stale and tiresome, as little additional insight into the character's...
Published on 15 Mar 2009 by Bobbewig


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 STARS - Another wonderful Ian and Hamish outing, 4 Dec 2008
By 
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Haunted Detective, 22 April 2009
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Matter of Justice ( True First Edition ) (Perfect Paperback)
Every great literary detective has a special quirk: Poirot has his little grey cells; Marple has her fleecy knitting; Rumpole has his claret and Wordsworth; and Morse has his pint and his opera. In the tradition of these exemplar's, Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard, the creditable sleuth of Charles Todd's "A Matter of Justice," has his Hamish. Acting as a sort of Greek (or Scottish) chorus, Hamish, who was killed going over the top in the Great War, lives on in Rutledge's head, persistently offering advice, often unsought, on the case at hand. His existence certainly renders Ian Rutledge one of the most interesting detective protagonists that I have encountered of late.

"A Matter of Justice" is set in England of 1920. And although it contains a continuity error (e.g., Betty, described as "age forty" on page 90 becoming "an elderly woman" on page 294), the book held my interest throughout. The characters are believable and the mystery is intriguing. Mr. Todd takes the time to develop his characters and to describe his settings, which include Devonshire, a Somerset village, and one of the Scilly Isles.

I suppose that this mystery is one that would be called a "cozy" in the trade. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to anyone who likes an old-fashioned mystery which presents a complex puzzle to be solved with a nice cup of tea.

Reviewed for Vine; Amazon.com
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decently Written But Lacks Suspense And Depth!, 15 Mar 2009
By 
Bobbewig (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
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The writing team known as Charles Todd does a decent job in creating a historical sense of time and place for their eleventh book featuring Detective Inspector Rutledge. That being said, however, the author's description of the anguished, haunted inner nature of their main character is getting a bit stale and tiresome, as little additional insight into the character's personality is offered. Further, the character development of most of the other people in the book is generally one-dimensional, making them somewhat uninteresting and lacking in depth. Without going into detail, the basic mystery to be solved is fairly interesting but the book never made me feel compelled to put other things going on in my life in order to find out what happens next. This is because A Matter Of Justice moves along at too slow a pace and never really generates a high level of suspense and excitement. All in all, I felt somewhat disappointed in Todd's latest effort. It's not that it is a bad book -- it's an average enough mystery to finish -- it's just not good enough to recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for lovers of mystery, 10 Oct 2009
I have read all the Inspector Rutledge books and have enjoyed them all, Also the stand alone "The Murder Stone". This mother and son writing team is brilliant, how they manage while living so far apart to achieve books of this quality is amazing.

If you have never read any I would suggest you start at the first book otherwise you may wonder who is Hamish. Each book finds Rutledge getting slightly stronger and accepting Hamish more. The books are moving in places because of all the heartache WW1 brought to everyone. No one slipped through the net and everyone was affected one way or another. You just sometimes wish that Chief Superintendent Bowles would start to understand this complex man instead of trying to belittle him all the time.

But in saying that the twist and turns are wonderful, the writing superb and you feel as if you are living with Rutledge and Hamish his ghost of the past and want so much not merely for justice in this book but maybe justice for so many thousands of lives lost, wasted and destroyed by war. We never learn do we?
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good story but series getting formulaic., 22 Oct 2009
By 
Nicholas Peacock MA (ConnahsQuay, Flintshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I've liked this series from the very first book "A Test of Wills" but my big niggle is the series has not moved on timewise. It would be really nice to have a book say from 1925 or even 1930 where we can see how Rutledge prospers. I'm tired of the protracted baiting from his senior Bowles and this needs attending to in the next book by either a transfer to another division of Bowles or perhaps his death. I can see the need to retain Hamish but he should be receeding a little now and lets have a love interest for the poor man.
I did enjoy the Boer War sequence and was reminded of a very good book by John Harris written many years ago, but the practicalities of stealing a payroll and hiding it and getting it out of South Africa were never covered and there was an obvious gap there in the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 5 Feb 2014
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Another good read. As usual a very convoluted story. Always a gripping can't put down tale.
On to the next one!
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3.0 out of 5 stars a matter of justice, 5 Feb 2013
an interesting storyline marred by niggling errors of british life....eg tipping a lad ten pence(10 pennies too much in that era and a most peculiar amount predecimalisation) and the attempted suicide would have been arrested immediately as suicide was a crime until the 1961 suicide act!! Please employ a british editor!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 24 Dec 2012
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This book introduces us to Inspector Ian Rutledge who has come through WW1 with a number of issues but he still gets on with the job he had before the war. Very interesting subject matter and I look forward to reading other Ian Rutledge mysteries.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Embarassment of Candidates for the Killer, 15 Sep 2011
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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"A Matter of Justice" is the eleventh novel in a British historical mystery series by Charles Todd; Charles Todd being the name taken by a mother/son writing team that live in Delaware and North Carolina. The series of police procedurals is set just after World War I. It stars Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, who just about survived the war, with a touch of shell shock, as they used to call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and the voice of his sergeant and best soldier, Hamish, a Scot, whom he'd had to execute on the field, in his head.

In the current instalment, Rutledge is sent to investigate the death of a highly successful London businessman, savagely murdered shortly after ending his partnership with another such. Furthermore, Quarles's body has been put on bizarre display in a medieval tithe barn on his Somerset estate. Rutledge's investigation in the local village of Cambury soon turns up an embarrassment of candidates for the killer, ranging from the victim's wife to the local police constable: yet Rutledge finds the man was highly regarded in London business circles. The Inspector soon begins to wonder if, perhaps, like many murders, the reasons for this one don't go back into the past, perhaps to an earlier war.

It's obvious that a lot of research has gone into "A Matter of Justice," and the ambiance of the period has been well-thought out, and -fleshed out, from cars to clothes to pastimes,toys and games. Descriptive and narrative are fine; dialog is good, though the writing is occasionally marred by fussy fustian language. It's surely not necessary to utilize such language in a novel written in a contemporary time, even if the book is set in the past. But the fast-moving tough-minded plot is satisfyingly complex, with so many candidates for villain, and so many possible scenarios. This book is the first of the series I've read: it's a good solid police procedural, and I'd be happy to read more, although I did, frankly, find that the wit and wisdom of Sgt. Hamish got a bit tiresome, particularly as delivered in rather overbaked Scottish, with way too many lads and lassies flinging themselves about for my taste.

The son of the mother/son writing duo that is Charles Todd, whom I imagine is the North Carolina-based party, spoke in recent years at two annual mystery weekends presented by the local Wilmington, NC, library. He's a nice-looking, polite youngish man, whom I believe actually is Charles Todd. He told us a bit about how he and his mother research and write these books: his talks were certainly interesting, and well-appreciated. So, Charles Todd, keep up the good work, please.
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