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Hunting Shadows
Inspector Ian Rutledge #16
Charles Todd

William Morrow
January 21, 2014/ ISBN 978-0062237187
Mystery / Police Procedural / England / Historical-1920

Reviewed by LJ Roberts


First Sentence: He’d tried to put the war behind him.

A sniper killer at Ely Cathedral takes Inspector Ian Rutledge to Cambridgeshire. A separate shooting in a different village does have a witness, but her testimony makes no real sense. The biggest barrier to Rutledge’s investigation is the apparent lack of motive in either case and lack of connection between the two victims. With the third shooting, and a target who survives, Rutledge starts looking to the past for both the motive, and for the killer.

The opening chapter is rather different and unusual, but completely engrossing. Todd’s descriptions are wonderfully atmospheric.

It’s very nice that an accounting of Hamish is offered that both explains him to new readers yet doesn’t interrupt the flow for recurring readers. Much focus is given to Rutledge, yet it’s not boring or repetitive. He is a fascinating character about whom we want to know more. His relapse into a flashback of the war is very effective and painful without being overly description. The understanding of the rector made the scene all that more powerful for its subtly. His dealing with his shell shock/PTSD is a tragic thread which connects the series and other characters of whom there are many who’ve suffered the effects of war.

Sometimes, it is the little things that matter. It’s nice that, with all the driving to-and-fro Rutledge does, we finally having him stopping for petrol occasionally.

Hunting Shadows is a good read. While one appreciates the doggedness of Rutledge’s investigation and the way he puts the information together in order to identify the killer, it was difficult to feel particularly strong connection to any character other than Rutledge.

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Test of Wills, 1   [reviews]
A False Mirror, No 7   [review]
A Long Shadow, 8   [review]
A Pale Horse, 10   [review]
A Matter of Justice, 11  [review 1] [review 2]
The Confession, 14   [review 1] [review 2]
Hunting Shadows, 16 [review 1 ] [review 2]

Reviewed 2015