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A Divided Loyalty
Inspector Ian Rutledge #22
BY Charles Todd

William Morrow
Feb. 4, 2020/ ISBN 9780062905536
Mystery/Traditional / Historical / Detective

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd takes place in 1921, shortly after the end of WW1. Fans of historical fiction surrounding WW1 should rely on these books. The authors’ writing allows readers to take a journey with the character, Inspector Ian Rutledge.

The book begins with a colleague of Rutledge’s Chief Inspector Brian Leslie, sent to Avebury, a village not far from Stonehenge. But when Leslie cannot find the name of the victim or the murderer, Rutledge is dispatched to take a second look. He is trying to find who would dispose of a woman’s body in the prehistoric stone circle. Having the case reassigned to him puts Rutledge in an awkward position, since he must review Leslie’s report and question his choices.

“We wanted to add the conflict of Rutledge struggling with his bosses. Scotland Yard is in flux. They could find fingerprints but had no way of comparing them across different regions. They also had microscopes but could not compare different bullet markings. The Old Guard were slowly being replaced by younger and more educated men. This created tension between the two groups. Rutledge’s first boss could not accept that this young detective, freshly out of college, was being fast-tracked and felt threatened. His current boss likes everything cut and dry and is not fond of Rutledge doing his own thing. He is also not pleased that Rutledge received a lot of attention for solving the hard cases.”

As with all the books, Rutledge must combat his own demons. Although well-educated, intelligent, hard-working, compassionate, and caring, he has PTSD and must control his inner thoughts in the name of Hamish. In this book, readers can get a glimpse of his personal life, including past and possibly future relationships.

“We try to be as realistic as possible about the issues with PTSD. Those fighting were reluctant to tell their loved ones what was really happening. We put in this quote, ‘For many of us, the war did not end when the guns stopped firing… We saw too much. Things that can’t be shared. Things we can’t forget.’”

Tenison is built up as the story progresses. It is a poignant and engrossing story.

Reviewed 2020