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Pale Horse, A (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) Hardcover – 1 Jan 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company (1 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061233560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061233562
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,050,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a really enjoyable read. I was on a fairly long journey, which I was not looking forward to and this book helped me not only to enjoy its content but to reach my destination wishing it were longer. Once again this author gets better and better.
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Format: Paperback
After having read many other books written by the "Charles Todd" team of writers it might be possible for me to become tired of the characters portrayed. Luckily, that has not happened. This particular book in the series does have some small problems, but for the most part I am so interested in the life of the main character, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, that I find I am willing to overlook those problems in favor of the enjoyment I receive from the story as a whole. The novel takes place in 1920, only several years after the fighting stopped in World War I. Rutledge has, as his constant reminder of that war, the voice in his mind of a soldier whom he ordered to be executed for refusing to obey a direct order under combat conditions. It remains a balancing act for Rutledge to function without allowing anyone to realize how much influence the voice of Hamish has over him.

Rutledge is sent on a watching brief for the Army because someone they are keeping an eye on has disappeared. Rutledge has nothing to go on because the Army isn't talking and Chief Superintendent Bowles doesn't want any feathers ruffled. Rutledge drives to the tiny village in Berkshire which sits practically beneath the chalk horse carved into the hillside, not far from Uffington. It is clearly impossible for him to remain unobserved by the other eight residents of the enclave of cottages. All of these people have chosen to isolate themselves, even from the villagers, because of hidden secrets in their lives. After several days Rutledge returns to London, only to be sent immediately to a village in Yorkshire where an unidentified man has been found, presumably the victim of a murder.
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Format: Hardcover
This slow-paced mystery is set in early twentieth century England. The protagonist is Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard, a man haunted by the ghost of a soldier named Hamish MacLeod, whose voice is his constant companion, conscience and advisor within his head.

The story begins with a group of schoolboys experimenting with alchemy by moonlight in the ruins of an abandoned Abbey. To their horror, they discover that they have apparently raised the devil himself, and swearing each other to secrecy, they run off into the night. The next morning, the body of an unidentified man is discovered in the ruins, dressed in a hooded cloak and gas mask, and next to his foot is a book on alchemy, property of the schoolmaster Albert Crowell.

Thus begins a long investigation into the identity of the dead man, the interrogation of the schoolmaster as a murder suspect, a couple of false trails, and the uncovering of a big cover-up by the British War Office. Along the way, sub-stories relate the circumstances leading to the death of Hamish and also the love life of the Inspector's sister Frances.

The trail takes Rutledge to a group of tiny houses in Berkshire, his job being to observe a man named Gaylord Partridge. The tourist attraction in the area is a huge figure of a horse, cut into the chalk in prehistoric times, and preserved in perpetuity galloping tirelessly along the hillside. Under the pretext of doing some horsing around on the cliffs, Rutledge learns that Partridge has disappeared, as he has been known to do on occasion, and that the occupants of the cottages all have secrets they'd rather keep hidden.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is the second book I have read by Charles Dance and what a wonderful combination they are of intriguing plots, historical background and journey's into the British countryside. By contrast we are ever reminded of horror and memories of WW1 which feature so heart breakingly in all these books.
None more so than in this story with its background of gas attacts used as a deadly weapon in this terrible war.
This mother and son, that is Charles Todd, make a remarkable and very talented duo. The descriiptions of the English coutrysides where familiar landmarks of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire and the White Horse of the title come alive in your mind. Their connection in the story constantly taking Inspector Rutledge back and forth in his analysis of the case how it all fits together.
One tiny flaw in the plot is when it is finally establised who is responsible for certain killings and the motive behind it, it begs the question how did he go undetected by the army when their spys were on his doorstep, albeit watching someone else.
Still you will have read to the end to see what you think.
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