Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge #22
Publication Date: 2/4/2020
Number of Pages: 336
Betrayal, shock, dismay, regret, and sadness are all felt by Ian Rutledge as he solves his latest case. As always, the story is well-written and excellently plotted with twists and turns throughout. While this is the twenty-second book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone – but since it is a great series, I’m sure you’ll want to run right out and get some of the earlier books. Ian is one of those characters that you really come to like and wish the best for him – all the while knowing how he suffers from the war. Not all wounds can be seen on the outside.
It is February of 1921 and Ian Rutledge, along with most of England, is still trying to put the war behind him. Although the war ended in November of 1918, Ian is still suffering greatly from shell shock. Balancing his duties as a Scotland Yard inspector and managing his symptoms is definitely not for the faint of heart. After his last big case, The Black Ascot, he is still in disfavor with his superiors and he knows he has to walk on eggshells for a while. After all, the Chief Superintendent still has his letter of resignation in his desk drawer and has let Ian know that he’ll pull it out and accept it at the slightest misstep.
After wrapping up a case in Shropshire, Ian was called into Chief Superintendent Markham’s office. Ian’s new assignment was to take a second look at a case that Chief Inspector Brian Leslie hadn’t been able to solve. Leslie was an excellent investigator as well as a friend and colleague, so Ian was sure that nothing had been missed in the investigation and was a little resentful to have been given the assignment. However, it was his assignment now so he’d best be off to Avebury.
Avebury is a bit of an eerie place as it is built in the center of an ancient stone circle. The body of the murdered woman was found at the foot of one of those stones. Ian retraces the steps taken by Leslie and discovers he is finding the same things as Leslie did. However, Ian is like a dog with a bone – he just doesn’t turn loose. As he stretches his imagination to picture how the murder could occur, how the murderer got the victim to where she was murdered without being seen and a myriad of other things – the clues just don’t add up. He slowly begins to suspect the unthinkable – yet there is no way to prove any of it.
Ian is drawn to the lovely young woman who was murdered. It pains him, and the rest of Avebury, to know that this young woman doesn’t even have a name on her gravestone because they can’t identify her. Ian is determined to identify her, to learn her story and to find justice for her.
In this taut, gripping tale you’ll cry for this young woman and root for Ian to identify her and bring her murderer to justice. Then, just when you think you have it all figured out, the author plagues you with doubt. You can’t be sure of what happened until the very end.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.