Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge seeks a killer who has eluded Scotland Yard for years in this next installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series.
An astonishing tip from a grateful ex-convict seems implausible—but Inspector Ian Rutledge is intrigued and brings it to his superior at Scotland Yard. Alan Barrington, who has evaded capture for ten years, is the suspect in an appalling murder during Black Ascot, the famous 1910 royal horse race meet honoring the late King Edward VII. His disappearance began a manhunt that consumed Britain for a decade. Now it appears that Barrington has returned to England, giving the Yard a last chance to retrieve its reputation and see justice done. Rutledge is put in charge of a quiet search under cover of a routine review of a cold case.
Meticulously retracing the original inquiry, Rutledge begins to know Alan Barrington well, delving into relationships and secrets that hadn’t surfaced in 1910. But is he too close to finding his man? His sanity is suddenly brought into question by a shocking turn of events. His sister Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr. Fleming stand by him, but there is no greater shame than shell shock. Questioning himself, he realizes that he cannot look back. The only way to save his career—much less his sanity—is to find Alan Barrington and bring him to justice. But is this elusive murderer still in England?
Set in 1921, bestseller Todd's solid 21st mystery featuring Scotland Yarder Ian Rutledge (after 2018's The Gatekeeper) finds Rutledge defusing a hostage situation he encounters by chance in an English village. One of the people involved reports having heard of a recent sighting of Alan Barrington, a fugitive from justice. In 1910, Barrington was suspected of intentionally damaging a motorcar whose subsequent crash near the Ascot racetrack claimed the life of Blanche Fletcher-Munro and badly injured her husband, Harold. Despite a wide net cast by the police, Barrington evaded capture. Rutledge gets permission to pursue the new lead and seeks out Harold, whom Barrington held responsible for the suicide of his close friend Mark Thorne, Blanche's first husband. The inspector finds reason to question the cause of Thorne's death and the evidence against Barrington. Todd (the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd) fails to make the most of a late dramatic development involving the psychologically damaged Rutledge. Still, this long-running series shows no sign of losing steam.