12 September 2021

Review: A FATAL LIE, Charles Todd

  • this edition an e-book from Libby through my local library
  • #23 Inspector Rutledge series
  • published 2021
  • ISBN: 9780062905574
  • ISBN 10: 0062905570
  • Imprint: William Morrow
  • Pages: 352 

Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

In one of his most puzzling cases, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge must delve deep into a dead man’s life and his past to find a killer determined to keep dark secrets buried.

A peaceful Welsh village is thrown into turmoil when a terrified boy stumbles on a body in a nearby river. The man appears to have fallen from the canal aqueduct spanning the valley. But there is no identification on the body, he isn’t a local, and no one will admit to having seen him before. With little to go on, the village police turn to Scotland Yard for help.

When Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent from London to find answers, he is given few clues—a faded military tattoo on the victim’s arm and an unusual label in the collar of his shirt. They eventually lead him to the victim’s identity: Sam Milford. By all accounts, he was a good man and well-respected. Then, why is his death so mysterious? Looking for the truth, Rutledge uncovers a web of lies swirling around a suicidal woman, a child’s tragic fate, and another woman bent on protecting her past. But where among all the lies is the motive for murder?

To track a killer, Rutledge must retrace Milford’s last journey. Yet death seems to stalk his every move, and the truth seems to shift at every turn. Man or woman, this murderer stays in the shadows, and it will take desperate measures to lure him—or her—into the light.

My Take

You'll notice from the list below that I haven't read all of this series, but they are certainly worth following.

While each adds to the development of Ian Rutledge's character, each certainly works quite well as a stand alone. Most are set in the decade after World War One and Rutledge, an Inspector with Scotland Yard, is battling the aftermath of the war. The complexity of this case is typical of most of the stories. The body of an ex-soldier turns up in a river in Wales, and from there Rutledge establishes the identity of the man, and looks for the reason why he is so far from home.

It is typical of Rutledge that he goes that extra mile, looking for why Sam Milford has been killed and by whom. It is a tangled trail that leads him to look for a missing child, why she has been kidnapped, and to uncovering deaths of people who at first glance don't seem to have anything to do with the original case.

The main plot is surrounded by a number of sub-plots, many of them giving us further background to Rutledge himself.

My rating: 4.7

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