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Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) Hardcover – January 29, 2013

184 customer reviews
Book 15 of 15 in the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s 1920, and the body of a man turns up, apparently the victim of a collision with an automobile. With no identification on the body other than an expensive pocket watch, it seems unlikely that Scotland Yard’s Inspector Rutledge will be able to get to the bottom of this unusual crime (this was a time when motorcars were still fairly uncommon). But the watch provides a clue, leading Rutledge to a wine-making family, one of whose members has been missing for a while. Some readers, familiar with modern-day forensics, might have difficulties with the basic premise—that a dead man can’t be identified—but fans of the long-running Rutledge series will enjoy this one. It has a good, convoluted story and a few surprises that should keep readers on their toes. A solid entry in this always reliable series. --David Pitt


“There’s a grand design to Charles Todd’s period novels featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge....elegant mysteries.” (Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review.)

Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries (Book 15)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062015680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062015686
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree that means he can boil more than water. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.

Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvelous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great-uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.

Charles learned the rich history of Britain, including the legends of King Arthur, William Wallace, and other heroes, as a child. Books on Nelson and by Winston Churchill were always at hand. Their many trips to England gave them the opportunity to spend time in villages and the countryside, where there'a different viewpoint from that of the large cities. Their travels are at the heart of the series they began ten years ago.

Charles's love of history led him to a study of some of the wars that shape it: the American Civil War, WWI and WWII. He enjoys all things nautical, has an international collection of seashells, and has sailed most of his life. Golf is still a hobby that can be both friend and foe. And sports in general are enthusiasms. Charles had a career as a business consultant. This experience gave him an understanding of going to troubled places where no one was glad to see him arrive. This was excellent training for Rutledge's reception as he tries to find a killer in spite of local resistance.

Caroline has always been a great reader and enjoyed reading aloud, especially poetry that told a story. The Highwayman was one of her early favorites. Her wars are WWI, the Boer War, and the English Civil War, with a sneaking appreciation of the Wars of the Roses as well. When she's not writing, she's traveling the world, gardening, or painting in oils. Her background in international affairs backs up her interest in world events, and she's also a sports fan, an enthusiastic follower of her favorite teams in baseball and pro football. She loves the sea, but is a poor sailor. (Charles inherited his iron stomach from his father.) Still, she has never met a beach she didn't like.

Both Caroline and Charles share a love of animals, and family pets have always been rescues. There was once a lizard named Schnickelfritz. Don't ask.

Writing together is a challenge, and both enjoy giving the other a hard time. The famous quote is that in revenge, Charles crashes Caroline's computer, and Caroline crashes his parties. Will they survive to write more novels together? Stay tuned! Their father/husband is holding the bets.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I see a new Charles Todd novel being released in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series I automatically know I'm going to read the book. Unfortunately, some of the novels fail to live up to the very high standard I expect from this team of authors. In this one Hamish (that nagging voice in Rutledge's mind) doesn't have nearly as prominent a part as in some other books, but he is still there. I sincerely wish that Rutledge could make more progress toward a normal psyche so that Hamish wouldn't have to be giving advice and warnings. Unfortunately for me that hasn't yet happened, nor may it ever. The health of mind of Rutledge is a pivotal aspect of these stories.

I found myself confused at times in this story. There were so many characters going back through three or four generations in addition to the current participants in the crimes that I began to wish I had a list of characters at the front of the book to help me keep track. At one point it seemed as if we were helping the police search for at least four different men. Or were there really four? Lewis French has disappeared. Is he alive or dead? Then another member of the eminently respectable firm of French, French and Traynor, Matthew Traynor, can't seem to be found. Is he alive or dead? Who was the man found dead in the road? This really wasn't an easy story for me to get organized in my mind. And at times terrible (in my opinion) assumptions were jumped to by the police without any reason whatsoever. I'm used to the best Rutledge novels having very definite evidence and reasons for assuming guilt. This book had Rutledge scurrying hither and yon to check out the most terribly inconsequential pieces of possible evidence. It was quite disconcerting.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Avid reader VINE VOICE on December 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read all the previous Charles Todd books, to include the two stand alone novels (The Murder Stone and The Walnut Tree), and am generally a fan of the authors' writing style. That said, "Proof of Guilt" just flat-out confused me. The sheer number of secondary and tertiary characters overwhelmed me, and I kept a diagram of who was who, and how they related to the story in a notebook next to my chair. This did not make for an easy read.

Even after reading twice, and keeping the diagram nearby, I am still not sure why the crime was committed. I know who did it, but the why remains murky to me. On the surface, the motive is understandable, but reasoning behind the motive is unclear. I cannot go into more detail without entering serious spoiler territory.

There is some movement in long running plot lines, such as Frances and her chances at happiness, as well as a mention of a character I hoped was gone. Chief Inspector Bowles, Rutledge's adversarial superior, is still MIA and recovering from the incidents of a few books back. Other recurring issues continue to move along as they have in previous novels, with little resolution.

Will I read the next Inspector Rutledge book? Of course I will. I've stuck with this series since the beginning, through good and bad (like with the Amelia Peabody books), and I hate to leave things unfinished. I also happen to like the authors style, and am generally entertained by their work. This one just fell a tad bit flat for me.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Phillips VINE VOICE on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was introduced to the Charles Todd mysteries about Ian Rutledge by friends who knew I enjoy detective novels and historical fiction. What could be better to combine both into one novel? Several of the Ian Rutledge books I found interesting, compelling even. Rutledge is a man haunted by his conscience and actions at the end of WW I, and he struggles to regain his footing in his old job as an inspector for Scotland Yard.

In Proof of Guilt, however, the story wanders. Multiple generations of characters flash by, story lines start and peter out. Exotic locations in Madeira are introduced and then forgotten. The story builds, with little sense or logic. Significant timelines and evidence are missing or never questioned. The mystery of this book is how it was published, because the book in many cases doesn't make sense. Rutledge's new boss at Scotland Yard presumes to convict a woman who is tangentially associated with the firm for the death of an executive, based on the evidence of handkerchief. A key body is missing throughout the novel, never found. The husband of a woman running a boarding house for reformed psychopaths is never seen. The evidence doesn't make sense, the story never builds any sense of urgency and the resolution in the last few pages feels chopped up and incomplete.

Which is a shame, because the best Rutledge novels show him in a small setting, using his wits against an adversary and dealing with his own conscience and emotional problems. In this case the setting is too large, there are too many characters across too many generations and the actions and emotions of many of the characters don't make sense. The novel lacks plot and pace, taking too long to develop and closing too quickly. If you haven't read the Ian Rutledge novels, don't start with this one. Try Search the Dark or a Fearsome Doubt. If you are a fan already, be prepared to be entertained, but not engaged by this installment.
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