A glass mirror offering a reflection on tragedy,
This review is from: A False Mirror (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
'A False Mirror' by Charles Todd was the first Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery I'd read. A New York Times Bestselling author, this series runs to twelve volumes and I'll certainly be looking to read more.
A man - Matthew Hamilton - is nearly beaten to death on the beach of the seaside town of Hampton Regis and his wife is taken hostage by his supposed assailant, one Stephen Mallory. Mallory has a whole back-story of his own with Inspector Rutledge in the trenches of France during the First World War and demands that Rutledge be sent from Scotland Yard to establish who really did attack Hamilton and, by definition, save him from the hangman's noose.
There are a number of clever twists and turns and I did not guess who the perpetrator was; I was still surprised when I did find out, not only by who it turned out to be but that I hadn't picked up on the various clues littered throughout the story - such is the cleverness of the writing.
What I enjoyed most about this book though - and I assume the same goes for others in the series - is the skillful portrayal of life in a sleepy coastal town just after WW1 and a country's changed social fabric. Certainly English society's class system appears on the surface to be as prevalent as ever - and that makes for a quaint historical perspective for twenty first century readers in itself. However, the exposure of its own fundamental flaws and permanently changed circumstances from the Edwardian Age, as well as our insights into damaged individuals as a result of catastrophic external conflict are what really sets this fine book apart.