I have read a couple of Charles Todd's Bess Crawford books and I thought it was time to check out the mother and son duos other historical series; the Ian Rutledge series. The Bess Crawford books take place during WW1, but the Ian Rutledge series takes place just after the end of WW1. And, while Bess Crawford is a nurse at the front is Ian Rutledge a policeman at the Scotland Yard.
Ian Rutledge is back at work after five years at the front. But what not many know is that he is suffering from shell shock and he hears voices. Or rather he hears voices of one particular man that he knew from the war. A man that never got home alive and he feels guilty about it. But he still tries to do a good job, despite the fact that he suffering from shell shock.
In this, the first book is he sent to deal with the murder of well-liked Colonel Charles Harris who was shot while he was out riding in the morning. He was seen by the house staff arguing with Mark Wilton, the main suspect on the day before. Mark Wilton is also the Colonels wards fiance and Charles and Mark are good friends. There is no evidence that Mark is the killer and the only man that says that he saw the two men together arguing on the day the Colonel died is a man suffering from shell shock. That disturbs Ian Rutledge who starts to suspect that someone at Scotland Yard knows about is affliction and that he was given this case so that he would fail.
This is the kind of book that takes awhile to get into. You don't know that much about Ian Rutledge, but clues about him, about his time in the war and what happen to him, is revealed throughout the book. In the end, I came to like him very much, he is a man that been through hell, that is trying to get back to the life he had before the war, but it's hard. Jean, the woman he loves, broke up with him after he got home. He was not the man she had known before the war and neither was she the girl he knew before the war. And, it doesn't make it better that he is hearing the voice of Hamish in his head.
The case was interesting, albeit the start of the book was a bit slow as much of the time, in the beginning, is spent on getting to know all the involved characters, their relationship with the murdered man. It was in no way boring, but it felt like it took some time to get somewhere with the case. But it's well worth it since it made you really get to know the characters, they feel well developed. Rutledge had to during the days he was on the case painstakingly try to find out the answers from people that not always was that forthcoming with the truth. And, I really liked the last part of the book when it all started to make sense and the truth about the murder was revealed. I was surprised about how it all turned out and never suspected that kind of ending.(show spoiler)
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. I like Rutledge, and I hope he will get better and that he someday will find peace. Also, I really hope that he will meet Bess Crawford some day.