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The Confession: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) Hardcover – January 3, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 165 customer reviews
Book 14 of 15 in the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

British Detective Inspector Ian Rutledge has had the satisfaction of solving some tough cases, but there’s no balm to soothe the psychic wounds he suffered as a soldier in WWI. In this entry, set in 1920, Rutledge applies his formidable detecting skills to the case of Wyatt Russell, a terminally ill man who confesses to murdering his cousin. Rutledge doesn’t believe Russell for a moment, and a lunch meeting with the dying man does nothing to change his mind. Armed with just a few leads, Rutledge journeys to an obscure corner of Essex, where the locals receive him with equal parts loathing and fear. The cold case becomes even more chilling when Russell is fatally shot. Rutledge continues to probe, as a singular question consumes his thoughts. Why would Russell confess to a crime he didn’t commit? Todd serves up plenty of period detail and plot twists, but the real attraction here is Rutledge, a shrewd, dedicated detective grappling with the demons of his past. --Allison Block


“There’s both a pattern and a purpose to the superb historical mysteries produced by mother-and-son writing partners known as Charles Todd.” (New York Times Book Review on The Confession)

“Todd’s excellent 14th mystery featuring Insp. Ian Rutledge offers an intriguing setup.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Confession)

“Todd serves up plenty of period detail and plot twists, but the real attraction here is Rutledge, a shrewd, dedicated detective grappling with the demons of his past.” (Booklist on The Confession)

“Todd’s masterful storytelling skills shine.” (Romantic Times on The Confession)

“As with any good mystery, the tension ramps up as the story progresses, pulling more and more characters into the fray, weaving three murders flawlessly into a tight tale. Mr. Todd’s characterization is his strength.” (New York Journal of Books on The Confession)

“Another excellent Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery....You follow a twisting road when you read this book. You won’t soon forget your trip to Furnham and the people who may not be who they seem to be.” (Suspense Magazine on The Confession)

“Todd once and for all establishes the shell-shocked Rutledge as the genre’s most complex and fascinating detective.” (Entertainment Weekly, on A LONELY DEATH (Grade: A-))

“Todd invests this absorbing fiction with creative storytelling (including intriguing subplots), memorable characters and graceful, seemingly effortless prose….This is fiction that moves, entertains, and as always, underscores life’s victories over death.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch on A Lonely Death)

“Another engaging entry in a fine series.” (Booklist on A Lonely Death)

“A strong entry in a strong series.” (Charlotte Observer on A Lonely Death)

“[The authors’] subtle prose and profound empathy for all their characters enhance a suspenseful and twisty plot.” (Publishers Weekly on A Lonely Death)

“Todd’s intriguing revenge tale will keep the reader turning the pages, but the main draw remains Rutledge, the relentless inspector haunted by the voice of a Scotsman he executed on the battlefield for disobeying an order. Highly recommended for all aficionados of British postwar historical mysteries.” (Library Journal on A Lonely Death)

Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries (Book 14)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062015664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062015662
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,982 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After what I consider a lackluster previous outing (A Lonely Death), Inspector Rutledge returns in "The Confession". When a gentleman dying of cancer comes to Scotland Yard and confesses to a murder, he touches off a string of events where little is as it seems on the surface. The village where the supposed murder occurred is unwelcoming, the victim's body has never been found, and when the confessed killer is discovered floating in the Thames, he isn't who he claimed to be-and a full-blown inquiry into his death is initiated.

The plot kept my attention, and the identity of the killer was surprising. The twists and turns taken by the story made sense, as Rutledge attempts to discover the truth about the dead man, the supposed murder victim, and the other characters and how they were linked together. The various threads of the mystery were tied up at the end, but not neatly-because real life is rarely ever tidy. Frances (Rutledge's sister) makes an appearance, but Meredith Channing does not (thank goodness).

"The Confession" is a good book, with a satisfying mystery at its heart, and is, in my opinion, a much better read than the last entry in the series.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What does a Scotland Yard Inspector do when he is presented with a confession to a murder yet has no other concrete details? Well, if he is Inspector Ian Rutledge he worries over it like a bone until slowly the pieces begin to come together to present a picture of murder. But who was murdered? Who confessed? What happens once the body of the supposed murderer turns up himself a murder victim?

This latest in the Ian Rutledge series of mysteries set in Britain after the close of World War I is slow to start simply because there is nothing for Rutledge to use as evidence to get an investigation going. Evidently Scotland Yard could not launch an investigation simply because someone confessed to a crime. Rutledge, however, is nothing if not determined and he knows there is a crime from the past which needs to be resolved. While doing that, he finds the hand of the murderer extending into the present. This tiny fishing village in Essex had secrets stretching back through the years which the inhabitants willingly kept covered. Now Rutledge finds himself targeted because his investigation might reveal the very past and present the villagers are all in collusion to hide.

As I have found with each Charles Todd mystery I have read, this one is a definite step above most period mysteries written today. The plot for this one continued to change and grow with almost every passing chapter so that I could never get completely comfortable thinking all the links between characters and situations had been totally established. I enjoyed that aspect of the story even though it made for a very evolving story.
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I won't revisit the plot of this latest entry in the Ian Rutledge series, since plenty of other reviewers have done that. I've read nearly all of the books in this series, and I understand their popularity, but they just don't speak to me. I've wondered why that is and finally came to the conclusion that it's mainly because I prefer books whose characters are more fully fleshed-out and whose lives are developed from book to book.

Charles Todd doesn't tend to devote all that much of the books to Ian Rutledge's own life and there isn't much character progression from book to book. (I know "Charles Todd" is a pseudonym for a mother-and-son writing duo, but I will refer to the author as a man.) On the plus side, that means it's not necessary to read the series in publication order. But for me, it means I have difficulty feeling much of an emotional connection to Rutledge.

The Hamish voice in Rutledge's head is, I suppose, intended in part to illuminate Rutledge's personality for the reader and to serve the sidekick role. But Hamish long ago became tiresome. He's a static character (not surprising, since he's dead) and, for that reason, he doesn't add much to the story for me. I would much prefer to see Rutledge have a real live partner. Having Rutledge pursue his solitary investigations, living inside his own head, just isn't enjoyable.

Other characters in the Ian Rutledge series aren't vividly drawn either. That can be problematic at times. The plotting is complex, slow moving and involves numerous characters. Sometimes, as in this book, Todd gives different characters names with the same initials, and it can be difficult to recall who is who without a sharply-drawn character portrait to help fix the character in mind.
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New York Times Bestselling author, Charles Todd is the pen name for a mother and son writing team from Delaware and North Carolina respectively. The Confession is their fourteenth Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery novel and the fourth that I have read in the series.

Like A Matter of Justice, The Red Door and A Lonely Death, in The Confession, the authors weave an outstanding tale of the adventures of Inspector Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard protagonist whose duty it is to solve murders while dealing with his own haunting by a ghost, Hamish, from his World War I wartime service in France.

The story begins in the Essex Marshes near London in the Summer of 1915 when three men on their way back from a smuggling trip returning home from France pull a floating body with gunshot wounds on the back of its head from the marsh and whose wallet identified him as Justin Fowler of London. They loot the cash from the body and hide their crime by towing the body out to sea in hopes that it will wash ashore to be discovered some other place.

Fast forwarding 10 years later in London, a sickly looking man claiming to be Wyatt Russell from the Essex Marshes and dying of cancer confesses to the 1915 murder of Justin Fowler in France. Ian Rutledge begins an investigation that leads him into the convoluted story dealing with several unsolved murders and missing victims of two generations and an unfriendly uncooperative tightlipped town wary of outsiders.

Throughout the story, little by little Ian's uncovers clues and communications as the pace and suspense keep the reader guessing and builds while putting Ian's life in danger.
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