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USA Today Bestseller
In this newest installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge is faced with his most perplexing case yet: a murder with no body, and a killer who can only be a ghost.
Spring, 1921. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge to the sea-battered village of Walmer on the coast of Essex, where amongst the salt flats and a military airfield lies Benton Abbey, a grand manor with a storied past. The lady of the house may prove his most bewildering witness yet. She claims she saw a violent murder—but there is no body, no blood. She also insists she recognized the killer: Captain Nelson. Only it could not have been Nelson because he died during the war.
Everyone in the village believes that Lady Benton’s losses have turned her mind—she is, after all, a grieving widow and mother—but the woman Rutledge interviews is rational and self-possessed. And then there is Captain Nelson: what really happened to him in the war? The more Rutledge delves into this baffling case, the more suspicious tragedies he uncovers. The Abbey and the airfield hold their secrets tightly. Until Rutledge arrives, and a new trail of death follows…
In bestseller Todd's excellent 24th Ian Rutledge whodunit (after 2021's A Fatal Lie), the psychologically damaged Scotland Yard inspector, who's haunted by the ghost of a subordinate whom he was forced to execute for disobeying futile orders during WWI, has another specter to deal with in 1921. Lady Benton, an Essex noblewoman, has reported seeing one man murder another but she identified the killer as a dead man, Captain Nelson, and the supposed corpse was never found. There's little doubt that Lady Benton was mistaken at best, as Nelson, who was stationed at the airfield built on her property during the war, was seen years earlier dying in a car crash, though whether the death was an accident or suicide is uncertain. Rutledge, who believes she did see something disturbing, probes both past and present to get at the truth. Todd (the mother-son team of Caroline and Charles Todd) has rarely been better at creating a creepy atmosphere to enhance their nuanced exploration of human darkness. Rutledge remains one of today's most fully rounded mystery leads. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, DeFiore & Co.