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A Fearsome Doubt


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About the Author

Charles Todd is the author of Watchers of Time, Legacy of the Dead, A Test of Wills, Wings of Fire, and Search the Dark. He lives on the East Coast, where he is at work on the next novel in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, A Cold Treachery.


Todd's sixth work featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge is a well-crafted addition to his popular historical series (e.g., Watchers of Time). Rutledge is taken aback when a persistent Nell Shaw brings him new evidence that could clear her late husband's name. Had Rutledge and his fellow policemen inadvertently sent an innocent man to his death six years earlier? Reconsidering the pre-World War I case serves to distract the inspector from his current assignment: determining who is killing maimed ex-soldiers in the peaceful countryside in Kent. Rutledge is sidetracked as well by his friendship with Elizabeth Mayhew, the widow of an old school chum. Elizabeth's feelings for a mysterious stranger further complicate Rutledge's investigation. Todd expertly demonstrates how shadows from the past intersect with unsolved murders in the present, revealing tantalizing details about Rutledge's wartime experience in France along the way. Here, Todd downplays the role of Hamish (the dead soldier who lives on in Rutledge's mind), but he remains a key player in the series. A pleasure to read; highly recommended for all public libraries and collections of historical mysteries.-Laurel Bliss, Yale Arts Lib. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

This brilliant and gripping whodunit may well be the best of Todd's six Rutledge novels (Watchers of Time, etc.). Featuring as its protagonist a Scotland Yard inspector who is among the walking wounded after his WWI traumas, the series has always been compelling. This time, Todd ratchets up the psychological pressures by raising doubts about the one aspect of Rutledge's life that he has felt secure about: his prewar accomplishments as a policeman. The widow of a convicted killer, who went to the gallows for preying on the infirm elderly, confronts him with a missing jewelry piece found in a neighbor's possession, suggesting that Rutledge helped execute an innocent man. Reopening the inquiry requires caution not only because of the soul-searching it provokes, which threatens to shatter the inspector's tenuous grasp on sanity, but also because the case contributed to his superior's promotion. This old mystery becomes only one of the puzzles Rutledge must resolve when he's ordered to investigate the poisoning deaths of three disabled soldiers. The solutions to both sets of crimes are logical, satisfying and unexpected, but it is the character of Rutledge himself-intuitive, exquisitely sensitive to mood, the emotions of others and the significance of what is left unsaid-that makes this both an outstanding historical mystery and literate period fiction. Agent, Jane Chelius. (Oct. 8) FYI: The revelation a couple of books back that Todd is the pseudonym of a mother-son writing team has had no discernible impact on sales. For fans it seems to have been a nonissue. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Todd's mysteries are among the most intelligent and affecting being written these days."-The Washington Post Book World

"Brilliant . . . Who'd have thought that Charles Todd's brilliant concept for a mystery . . . would not only continue but grow stronger from book to book."-Chicago Tribune

"Todd raises the stakes in this series to new and nearly unbearable levels."-The New York Times Book Review

"A brilliant and gripping whodunit . . . an outstanding historical mystery and literate period fiction."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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