On a deserted road, late at night, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge encounters a frightened woman standing over a body, launching an inquiry that leads him into the lair of a stealthy killer and the dangerous recesses of his own memories in this twentieth installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series.
Hours after his sister’s wedding, a restless Ian Rutledge drives aimlessly, haunted by the past, and narrowly misses a motorcar stopped in the middle of a desolate road. Standing beside the vehicle is a woman with blood on her hands and a dead man at her feet.
She swears she didn’t kill Stephen Wentworth. A stranger stepped out in front of their motorcar, and without warning, fired a single shot before vanishing into the night. But there is no trace of him. And the shaken woman insists it all happened so quickly, she never saw the man’s face.
Although he is a witness after the fact, Rutledge persuades the Yard to give him the inquiry, since he’s on the scene. But is he seeking justice—or fleeing painful memories in London?
Wentworth was well-liked, yet his bitter family paint a malevolent portrait, calling him a murderer. But who did Wentworth kill? Is his death retribution? Or has his companion lied? Wolf Pit, his village, has a notorious history: in Medieval times, the last wolf in England was killed there. When a second suspicious death occurs, the evidence suggests that a dangerous predator is on the loose, and that death is closer than Rutledge knows.
A chance encounter on a country road late one night in December 1920 kicks off the exceptionally clever plot of bestseller Todd's 20th mystery featuring Insp. Ian Rutledge (after 2017's Racing the Devil). Rutledge, an emotionally scarred WWI veteran, is driving in Suffolk, with no particular destination in mind, when his headlamps catch a car stopped in front of him. Next to the car, a woman with bloodstained hands is bending over a man lying in the road. Rutledge stops to investigate. The man, Stephen Wentworth, is dead. The woman explains that Stephen was driving her home after a dinner party when a man stepped out in front of them. After Stephen got out of their vehicle and exchanged a few words with him, the man shot Stephen. Over local opposition, Rutledge successfully lobbies to take charge of the inquiry, and then struggles to learn why anyone would want to murder Stephen, a popular local bookseller, resisting the theory that the violence was random. As always, Todd (the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd) deepen their crafty whodunit with a moving exploration of their astute sleuth's inner torments.