Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge finds himself caught in a twisted web of vengeance, old grievances, and secrets that lead back to World War I in the nineteenth installment of the acclaimed bestselling series.
On the eve of the bloody Battle of the Somme, a group of English officers having a last drink before returning to the Front make a promise to each other: if they survive the battle ahead—and make it through the war—they will meet in Paris a year after the fighting ends. They will celebrate their good fortune by racing motorcars they beg, borrow, or own from Paris to Nice.
In November 1919, the officers all meet as planned, and though their motorcars are not designed for racing, they set out for Nice. But a serious mishap mars the reunion. In the mountains just north of their destination, two vehicles are nearly run off the road, and one man is badly injured. No one knows—or will admit to knowing—which driver was at the wheel of the rogue motorcar.
Back in England one year later, during a heavy rainstorm, a driver loses control on a twisting road and is killed in the crash. Was it an accident due to the hazardous conditions? Or premeditated murder? Is the crash connected in some way to the unfortunate events in the mountains above Nice the year before? The dead driver wasn’t in France—although the motorcar he drove was. If it was foul play, was it a case of mistaken identity? Or was the dead man the intended victim after all?
Investigating this perplexing case, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge discovers that the truth is elusive—and that the villages on the South Downs, where the accident happened, are adept at keeping secrets, frustrating his search. Determined to remain in the shadows this faceless killer is willing to strike again to stop Rutledge from finding him. This time, the victim he chooses is a child, and it will take all of Rutledge’s skill to stop him before an innocent young life is sacrificed.
In the first chapter of bestseller Todd's suspenseful 19th whodunit featuring Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge (after 2016's No Shred of Evidence), Andrew Brothers, a veteran of WWI, is nearly run off the road by another car while driving in the South of France in 1919. A year later in East Sussex, Rector Wright, the rector of St. Simon's church, borrows a motorcar belonging to another WWI veteran, Captain Standish, without the officer's permission. In a heavy rainstorm at night, Wright is killed instantly in a crash. The local constable, troubled by evidence of another vehicle at the scene of the tragedy, sends for Rutledge; he finds traces of paint on the captain's car, which suggests that the crash was no accident. Given that the dead man appeared to have no enemies and the collision occurred in the dark, Rutledge pursues the notion that Standish was the intended victim. As always, Todd (the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd) maintains a high degree of tension throughout and populates the story with vivid characters bearing the external and internal scars of war. This review has been corrected to remove an incorrect word and add a missing one.