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COMPLEXLY PLOTTED, POWERED BY SUSPENSE
on 19 February 2007
Ian Rutledge, an affecting, strong, yet vulnerable hero was first introduced by the mother/son writing team of Charles Todd in A Test Of Wills. He's a Scotland Yard inspector, a veteran of the Great War now battling the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jean, his fiancee didn't wait for him, he's haunted by the voice of Corporal Hamish MacLeod whom Rutledge was compelled to kill, and beleaguered by his superior, Chief Superintendent Bowles, who seems determined to break what is left of Rutledge's spirit.
Seven novels followed the first, all tracing the tests and trials of Rutledge. Each is complexly plotted, powered by suspense, and insightful as the psychological scars of soldiers are revealed.
A False Mirror is set not long after the end of World War I. Rutledge continues to suffer with memories of the carnage and his very personal involvement. We read, ".....how could he explain what war had done to him and to so many others? How could he describe watching Hamish fall, how could he tell anyone how the man had lain there, trying to speak to him, begging for release? And how could he ever condone drawing his revolver and delivering the coup de grace, the blow of grace.....?
He is dispatched to a small community, Hampton Regis, to investigate the almost fatal assault on Matthew Hamilton. The man believed to be guilty is Stephen Mallory, a veteran who also suffers the after effects of war. He had known Rutledge during the war and there is little love lost between them. Mallory is also the man Felicity, Matthew Hamilton's wife, had loved before he went off to war. In his current state of mind would Mallory have tried to kill Hamilton in order to be with Felicity again?
He swears that he is not guilty but fearing punishment for a crime he didn't commit he takes Felicity and her maid hostage in their home, Casa Miranda, swearing he will speak to no one save Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard.
Thus it falls to Rutledge to determine whether or not Mallory is guilty and if he is not, who would want to attack Hamilton and why? Rutledge's investigation is hampered by the disappearance of the stricken Hamilton and two more deaths.
Characterizations are rich while intriguing clues keep readers turning pages until they find a never-suspected killer.
- Gail Cooke