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“[Charles] Todd’s mysteries are among the most intelligent and affecting being written these days.”—The Washington Post Book World
In 1912 Ian Rutledge helped gather the evidence that sent Ben Shaw to the gallows. Now, seven years later, Ben Shaw’s widow brings Rutledge evidence she’s convinced proves her husband’s innocence. Ben Shaw’s past is a tangle of unsettling secrets that may or may not be true. And it grows only more twisted when a seemingly unrelated murder brings Rutledge back to Kent. There an unexpected encounter revives his painful memories of war—and the voice of Hamish MacLeod, the soldier Rutledge was forced to execute. Two elusive killers are on the loose at the same time . . . and to catch them before they catch him, Rutledge will be forced to question everything he believes about right, wrong—and murder.
Praise for A Fearsome Doubt
“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)
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. 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.