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Hunting Shadows (Ian Rutledge) Hardcover – January 21, 2014
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It’s the summer of 1920, and Scotland Yard’s Inspector Ian Rutledge has a tricky case on his hands. Someone has murdered two men in the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire. Try as he might, Rutledge can’t seem to find any connection between the victims—a military man from out of town and a local political candidate—although it does appear that the killer is a sharpshooter, a fact that does not sit well with Rutledge, a war veteran himself, or with Hamish, Rutledge’s interior companion (the manifestation, series fans know, of Rutledge’s guilt over the death of a friend in the war). There are a lot of questions, but perhaps the most pressing is whether Rutledge’s memories of war, sparked by these recent murders, are distracting annoyances or the key to solving the case? Another well-written, well-plotted entry in this always engaging mystery series. --David Pitt
“Tricky plotting and rich atmospherics distinguish bestseller Todd’s 16th novel featuring Scotland Yard’s Insp. Ian Rutledge....Todd (the pen name of a mother-son writing team) has rarely been better.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on HUNTING SHADOWS)
“Another well-written, well-plotted entry in this always engaging mystery series. (Booklist on HUNTING SHADOWS)
“Another winner…Strong atmosphere and a complicated mystery make this book one that readers won’t be able to put down.” (Romantic Times 4 1/2 stars on HUNTING SHADOWS)
“As always, the North Carolina-based mother and son who write under the pseudonym Charles Todd do a beautiful job with the period detail, making these books a nostalgic outing to England between the world wars.” (Raleigh News & Observer)
“Readers who stick with the chase, though, should be enthralled, as Rutledge sorts through a fascinating portrait gallery of witnesses and suspects, most of whom aren’t telling him the whole truth.” (Wilmington News Journal)
“Of all the places where Inspector Ian Rutledge’s Scotland Yard assignments have taken him, the desolate Fen country must surely be the eeriest. [This is an] excellent historical series.” (New York Times Book Review on HUNTING SHADOWS)
“Elusive clues, suspense and excellent writing make for reading pleasure.” (Oklahoma City Oklahoman on HUNTING SHADOWS)
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Hunting Shadows is better than some of the other recent Ian Rutledge books in terms of the actual mystery, but what is sorely missing in this series is an evolution of Rutledge's character. When we are first introduced to Rutledge, he is an emotionally wrecked survivor of the first World War. In the early books, the authors vividly portray his anguish and the events leading up to its causation. They also give us hope that Rutledge will find a new love interest and insight into his relationship with his sister. But in later books, Rutledge is turned into something of an automaton who traverses the English countryside and interrogates witnesses and suspects. He never moves forward on any personal level, except perhaps for a lessening of the role that Hamish plays in his life. A completely mesmerizing character has turned into one who is dry and lifeless.
I still have hope for the series because the authors write beautifully. If only they could find a way to bring some sparkle back into their main character.