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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCEPTIONAL BLEND OF MYSTERY/HISTORY, 23 Jan 2014
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hunting Shadows (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) (Hardcover)
If you've not already been introduced to the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries the 16th entry in this exceptional series, Hunting Shadows, is a good place to start. Written by a mother/son writing team using the pen name Charles Todd these books are widely recognized as one of the best historical series being written today and for this reader the latest considerably raises the bar.

A little background for those who have not yet had the pleasure: Todd has created a sympathetic, compelling protagonist in Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard. He's a shell-shocked veteran of World War I who is haunted by the voice of Hamish, a man under his command whom he was forced to order executed. Rutledge is intrepid, highly intelligent and doesn't suffer fools lightly.

Hunting Shadows is richly atmospheric taking place in Scotland's Fen country where water has apparently separated the populace, even those in a village ten miles away are considered foreigners. Dense fog shrouds the landscape and seems to cloak the inhabitants as well as lending to a sense of isolation.

When local law enforcement is stumped by two murders Scotland Yard is called in - Rutledge is also almost baffled. The deaths appear to be unrelated. A sniper first shot Captain Hutchinson as he was entering a church for a wedding (walking too close to the groom for comfort?). The second death was that of Herbert Swift, a Tory candidate for Parliament - he was relieved of his head just as he was beginning an outdoor campaign speech.

No one saw anything or heard anything save for a woman who claims to have seen the face of a monster in a window immediately before Swift was shot. As time passes Scotland Yard presses for answers and no one would like to find them more than Rutledge.

With a seamlessly constructed complex plot deftly written and a unique unforgettable lead character Hunting Shadows is mystery writing at its finest.

- Gail Cooke
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still love Rutledge, but there needed development of the other characters, 5 Mar 2014
By 
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hunting Shadows (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) (Hardcover)
First Sentence: He’d tried to put the war behind him.

A sniper killer at Ely Cathedral takes Inspector Ian Rutledge to Cambridgeshire. A separate shooting in a different village does have a witness, but her testimony makes no real sense. The biggest barrier to Rutledge’s investigation is the apparent lack of motive in either case and lack of connection between the two victims. With the third shooting, and a target who survives, Rutledge starts looking to the past for both the motive, and for the killer.

The opening chapter is rather different and unusual, but completely engrossing. Todd’s descriptions are wonderfully atmospheric.

It’s very nice that an accounting of Hamish is offered that both explains him to new readers yet doesn’t interrupt the flow for recurring readers. Much focus is given to Rutledge, yet it’s not boring or repetitive. He is a fascinating character about whom we want to know more. His relapse into a flashback of the war is very effective and painful without being overly description. The understanding of the rector made the scene all that more powerful for its subtly. His dealing with his shell shock/PTSD is a tragic thread which connects the series and other characters of whom there are many who’ve suffered the effects of war.

Sometimes, it is the little things that matter. It’s nice that, with all the driving to-and-fro Rutledge does, we finally having him stopping for petrol occasionally.

“Hunting Shadows” is a good read. While one appreciates the doggedness of Rutledge’s investigation and the way he puts the information together in order to identify the killer, I didn’t feel a particularly strong connection to any character other than Rutledge, and wishing I had.

HUNTING SHADOWS (Hist Mys-Insp. Ian Rutledge-England-1920) – Good
Todd, Charles – 16th in series
William Morrow, 2014
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles Todd Hits His Stride in this One, 21 Jan 2014
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Carolina Beach, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
HUNTING SHADOWS is the sixteenth entry in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series of historical British mysteries, penned by the New York Times bestselling "Charles Todd." Which is actually the American mother/son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd, who are resident on the east coast of the United States, in the states of Delaware and North Carolina respectively. "Todd" is also author of the newish Bess Crawford British historical mystery series. All the crime novels appear to be based in Great Britain; the Crawford series during World War I, the Rutledge series shortly afterward. HUNTING SHADOWS follows on Proof of Guilt in the Rutledge series.

A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire's fen country has become a crime scene when a guest is murdered. Another body is found later. Scotland Yard is called in. The case appears to lead back to disturbed servicemen returned from the blood-soaked killing field that was World War I. This brings up painful memories for Inspector Rutledge as well; he too has returned from the war with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) as we now know it , shell shock as it was called then: Rutledge carries on constant conversation with Hamish, his young Scottish sergeant, whom he felt forced to kill on the battlefield.

This time out, the authors have given us some powerful flashback scenes from the French front, though it's clear they cannot render wartime with the intensity of novelists who specialize in it. "Todd" also has done well at giving us the atmosphere of post war England, the social uproar caused by the war. The author(s) are excellent on England's landscape, weather, historic cities and towns, residents and police, former soldiers back home. The writers' portrait of the fens is particularly well-done, atmospheric and evocative; so is their portrait of the lonely souls who occupy that watery landscape. Dialog and narrative are fine; the plot is complex in a satisfactory way. In fact, the plot is pulled together, organized well, in line with the rules that govern this kind of writing, and kept me turning pages and guessing to the end.

The Todd books may well continue to pleasurably remind many readers of the popular British television series Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 , which is set in the same time, and world. I have previously read and reviewed, in these pages, The Confession , A Matter of Justice and The Red Door in the Rutledge series. I like this one the best by far. The actual Charles Todd has come to speak several times at the local Wilmington, North Carolina's library mystery weekends. He's an attractive youngish man, intelligent and witty, and I'm happy to see him and his Mum hitting their stride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding 5 star reading experience for me., 26 Mar 2014
By 
J. Lesley "(Judy)" (United States) - See all my reviews
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Now this is what I call an excellent addition to the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series. It was set up exactly the way I prefer my mysteries. The plot and the investigation took center stage without the distractions of trying to involve Rutledge in a romance and Hamish McLoed was present, but only minimally. If you prefer to read about Rutledge fighting the psychological battle of the presence of Hamish in his mind or if you want to read of romantic attachments for the main characters you might not be quite as pleased as I was.

Scotland Yard is called in when two murders take place within a two week period in the Fen country of England. The time is August and September of 1920, so almost every incident which takes place has some relation to the recently ended war. In this case a rifle is being used to kill men who seem to have absolutely no connection with each other. There is a new Acting Chief superintendent at Scotland Yard and he is impatient with the slow progress Rutledge is making in the two cases, but he also doesn't take into consideration how tangled the relationships are between all the concerned parties and how deeply the secrets are buried. Rutledge solves the problem of how to deal with his boss by simply staying away from London.

The writing in this novel is absolutely first class. Reading the description of the fog Rutledge runs into on his journey from London was so realistic it almost made me claustrophobic myself! Especially when I looked out my own windows and saw everything coated with ice and nothing moving about except the freezing rain. Talk about the right weekend to read this book! I thought I had figured out who the killer was after reading about a lot of investigating by Rutledge and I wasn't even disappointed when I found out I had been following the red herring the authors set for me to follow. For me this was the best Charles Todd novel I've read in quite some time and it was a pure pleasure to read it. The atmosphere is outstanding, the plotting is outstanding, and the investigative process used by Rutledge is outstanding. A five star reading experience. If you are new to this series, you can begin here and completely understand everything that is important to the series. If you like period mysteries, I think this writing team one of the best.
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Hunting Shadows (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries)
Hunting Shadows (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd (Hardcover - 10 Feb 2014)
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