Book Review: Inspector Rutledge Has A Murder To Solve And A Child To Find

A Fatal Lie is another addition to the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series written by the prolific Charles Todd. Rutledge is a veteran of the First World War and a dedicated inspector for Scotland Yard. He does have a problem in that he suffers from shell shock which manifests itself as an auditory hallucination. He has the voice of a Scottish comrade he had executed for disobeying orders. He was then rather inconveniently shelled by the enemy and left buried with the corpse of his friend who he had felt duty bound to execute. Rutledge manages to be an effective investigator in spite of his psychological condition.

This particular novel has Rutledge investigating a death in Wales in which a man had apparently plunged to his death from an aqueduct and was found by a young boy on a fishing trip. When Rutledge finally identifies the dead man, he finds that a missing child is at the heart of this matter.

It’s always rather enlightening to revisit this era and this character. I am finding that there is very little change in the pace and atmosphere here. Rutledge seems to be making very little progress in moving forward with his life in spite of his affliction. The mood among the various towns and with the various characters encountered in these stories is still the same. The shadow of the war still feels oppressive. It would be nice for Todd to consider how to shake things up a bit. Rutledge does have a new superintendent, however that guy has been around for a few books. Rutledge will likely still have to contend with the voice of Hamish MacLeod rattling around in his head in order to keep him interesting. The problem is that this novel is another one that does not break any new ground. Todd is fine as a writer, and Rutledge is somewhat interesting in that he has this ongoing issue for what is now known as PTSD.

Charles Todd is actually the pseudonym for a mother and son writing duo, and I just learned that the mother had died a year ago Anyway, the series is fascinating when a reader first starts out, but it is getting a little stale in some ways. It may be time to push Rutledge’s limits a bit more and add a bit more spice to his already complicated life.

Next up, I have returned to the universe of Doctor Who with an anthology written by Dave Rudden entitled Twelve Angels Weeping.

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