Book review: “Hunting Shadows” by Charles Todd

The latest Inspector Ian Rutledge novel finds the haunted detective searching for a murderous sniper.
Oklahoman Published: April 6, 2014
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“Hunting Shadows” by Charles Todd (William Morrow, 330 pages, in stores)

Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent by Scotland Yard to the Fen country, a low-lying, flood-prone area of Britain, to help local police solve murders in two different villages. It is soon evident that he is indeed hunting shadows.

The murders are alike — apparently committed by a sharpshooter using the same high-powered military rifle from a hidden position. But Rutledge can find nothing that connects the two victims. One was a military man, the other a solicitor running for office.

There is no evidence they had anything in common except a killer's hatred.

Rutledge, who suffers from a World War I version of post traumatic stress disorder, is haunted by Hamish, a young man killed in France while under his command. But the voice of the ghost seems less intrusive than in some earlier novels in the series. Hamish sometimes warns the detective of danger and at other times is critical.

And his voice often stirs memories useful to a detective hunting clues.

The mother and son writing team known as Charles Todd have put together another mystery which sticks to the historic period even in minor details, such as the necessity of cranking the motor vehicle Rutledge uses.

Elusive clues, suspense and excellent writing make for reading pleasure.

Kay Dyer, for The Oklahoman