Interwar Period (Nov 1918 – Sep 1939)

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd

The Gate Keeper (Inspector Ian Rutledge #20)The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge #20
Publication Date: 2/6/18

How in the world did I manage to miss this series until it was up to the twentieth book in the series? I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with our damaged WWI hero. It is two years after the war is over and he’s still struggling with his shell shock and has to constantly fight to stay in control. You have to admire him for his valiant fight and his way of dealing with his issues. I’m not sure how Hamish was explained in earlier books, so my explanation probably isn’t a good one – but – I think Hamish is Ian’s way of dealing with the shell shock. Ian carries on a constant dialogue with Hamish – in his head – and Hamish’s comments often save Ian from injury. It wouldn’t take much, even two years later, to push Ian over the edge.

I love mysteries, but usually only like them long-term if there is a romance involved, so I’m not sure if it is a series I’d stick with for very long. The series is twenty books in, and there is no love interest and doesn’t appear to be headed in that direction. This book also made me sad because the victims were genuinely nice people whose lives were cut short.

The writer’s descriptions of the time and people just transports you to that era – lovely cottages still heated with wood fires, motor cars that had to be hand cranked, telephones were almost non-existent, ladies wearing lovely feathered hats – just a gentler time in a country that had been devastated by war.

Ian Rutledge’s much-adored sister has just married and Ian is having a bit of a panic attack, so he flees London. No destination in mind – just mindless driving – somewhat lost and reliving scenes from the war – he ends up much farther afield than he had intended. He doesn’t actually even know where he is and then he spots a car stopped in the middle of the road and a woman, covered in blood, standing over the lifeless body of a man.

Knowing that he can’t face returning to London at the moment, he finagles around to take over the investigation. As he learns more and more about the young man who has died, Ian comes to like and respect him and can’t imagine that he’d have an enemy in the world. He was a very nice, generous and caring young man – who in the world could have wanted him dead. As he investigates, he finds some intriguing clues, but can’t find anything to which they actually relate.

Then – a few days later – a second murder committed in the same way and with the same intriguing clues left behind. Again, the victim is a war hero, widower, nice, generous and not an enemy in the world. Again, as Ian investigates and gets to know the man, he comes to like and respect him.

As the investigation continues there is no link that Ian can find between the two men – yet they had the same enemy. Then – Ian hears of another death, assigned to another investigator, that sounds the same as Ian’s case.

Ian does good solid police work and continues to investigate until he has all the answers. You won’t like some of those answers, but I’d say that it is probably a very true-to-life investigation and case. The writing is excellent, the plot well laid out, the pacing was good and you come to like and be invested in the characters.

I recommend the book.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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