Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Confession

The Confession (Ian Rutledge Mysteries)
Charles Todd
William Morrow
Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-06-201566-2
344 pages
$ 25.95

What would any police inspector do when a man seeks him out at Scotland Yard to confess that he has actually murdered a man? Added to this, this man states that he will not be punished for his crime since he is near to death. The man is dying of stomach cancer. Essentially, this is a deathbed confession.

Inspector Rutledge investigates but is sidetracked when he discovered this man’s body was discovered in the Thames River. He was not drowned, but was shot in the back of the head. Why kill a dying man? Quickly, he also discovers that the dying man identified himself with a false name. Why? Added to this is a locket around the dead man’s neck. The locket belonged to a woman who long ago disappeared.

Ian Rutledge is dealing with his own guilt from fighting in France during World War I. Being given orders and being responsible for these orders being carried out, Rutledge was placed in the situation of leading his men on a suicidal mission. When his best friend refused the order, Rutledge was forced to shoot him. Now, the guilt daily stays with him in the form of the assassinated man speaking with him in his mind. There is evidence of shell-shock in every war.

This investigation takes Rutledge to the marshes near Essex, specifically to the small village of Furnham. Unfortunately, this close-knit community has many secrets of their past and of their frequent crimes which they will not risk anyone discovering. No one will talk to him or assist him in any way in this community. What are they hiding?

The Confession is an excellent mystery that both gives the reader a sense of the setting and has an intriguing and interwoven mystery. The sense of life during and immediately after World War I is realized through all of the incidents with Rutledge while still allowing the reader to truly sympathize with his personal demons in this tightly woven tale.

Charles Todd, with his mother Caroline Todd, has been the author of numerous novels featuring Ian Rutledge and also the Bess Crawford mysteries, as well as one standalone novel. With The Confession being the fourteenth installment in this series, it successfully reads as both a single novel and as the continuation of a series. This novel successfully has the correct balance of character development for both.

The Confession is definitely one of the intricate mysteries that I have ever read. The pacing is fast while also very involved with numerous intertwining threads leading to the final resolution. Definitely read, The Confession.

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