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A False Mirror
Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries #9

by Charles Todd

      I am an admitted fan of Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge. A veteran of WWI, Rutledge survived the war physically, but still struggles with the emotional trauma of the war. He carries with him constantly the voice of Hamish, the soldier he had to execute for refusing to obey orders.

However, I found this book unsatisfying. One of the reasons may be the introduction of a man Rutledge knew in the war, Stephen Mallory. Mallory had connections, and those connections managed to get him pulled out of the war, but not before he proved to be a coward. Rutledge doesn't like the man, and so when he finds himself drawn into the attempted murder of the man married to Mallory's former love, he is not pleased.

Matthew Hamilton was a diplomat for Britain, and at the end of the war ruined his career by seeking to prevent men who understood the politics less and wanted revenge more from setting up a peace policy that would eventually ensure the events of WWII.

Now retired and living with his much younger wife in Hampton Regis, a small fishing town on the coast, he has been attacked and left unconscious to drown on the beach. He was found, and the local police immediately assume the likely suspect was Stephen Mallory, who had followed the woman he loved and her new husband to the town.

Through acts that defy reason, the woman and Mallory contrive to find themselves hostage and holder in Hamilton's home. When Mallory demands Rutledge be brought in from Scotland Yard to prove his innocence, it complicates things even more.

The mystery itself is well crafted, and I was surprised by the ending. I had not figured it out at all. So that part of the book is nicely done. I think it is that I found the situation Mallory was in illogical. I did not (and still do not) understand the actions of Felicity which set her up to become his hostage. I had no doubt that he was innocent, but by the time the mystery was solved, I was fed up enough with both Stephen and Felicity to feel that Matthew Hamilton would have been better off without either of them around.

The Book

December 26, 2007
Mass Market Paperback
0060786744 / 978-0060786748
Historical mystery [post WW1]
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The Reviewer

Sarah Bewley
Reviewed 2008
© 2008