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A Fatal Lie: A Novel (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries, 23) Paperback – January 11, 2022
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“If there’s ever been a more complex and compelling hero in crime fiction than Inspector Rutledge, I can’t think of one.” —Jeffery Deaver
In one of his most puzzling cases, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge must delve deep into a dead man’s life and his past to find a killer determined to keep dark secrets buried.
A peaceful Welsh village is thrown into turmoil when a terrified boy stumbles on a body in a nearby river. The man appears to have fallen from the canal aqueduct spanning the valley. But there is no identification on the body, he isn’t a local, and no one will admit to having seen him before. With little to go on, the village police turn to Scotland Yard for help.
When Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent from London to find answers, he is given few clues—a faded military tattoo on the victim’s arm and an unusual label in the collar of his shirt. They eventually lead him to the victim’s identity: Sam Milford. By all accounts, he was a good man and well-respected. Then, why is his death so mysterious? Looking for the truth, Rutledge uncovers a web of lies swirling around a suicidal woman, a child’s tragic fate, and another woman bent on protecting her past. But where among all the lies is the motive for murder?
To track a killer, Rutledge must retrace Milford’s last journey. Yet death seems to stalk his every move, and the truth seems to shift at every turn. Man or woman, this murderer stays in the shadows, and it will take desperate measures to lure him—or her—into the light.
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“A Fatal Lie provides an excellent book with which to walk into Rutledge’s pursuit of crime and determination to make things right . . . Those who value similar portrayals of place as character—as in Louise Penny’s Three Pines, for instance—will treasure A Fatal Lie and its Welsh backdrop. As a police procedural, also, the book’s persistent untangling of motive, means, and opportunity provides an instant classic for this mystery genre, along with an intriguing exploration of the heart’s effects on the mind.” -- New York Journal of Books
“Fans of the series will want Todd’s latest historical mystery.” -- Library Journal
“[A] very captivating and page-turning mystery.” -- Fresh Fiction
“This is the type of classic-style mystery that we have grown to love from Charles Todd, and it never fails to deliver.” -- BookReporter.com
“You’re going to love Todd.” -- Stephen King
"The melancholy tone that distinguishes the Rutledge series is a reminder that war never ends for the families and friends of lost loved ones. It just retreats into the shadows.” -- New York Times Book Review
"This is a series, written by a mother-and-son team under the Charles Todd pseudonym, that shows no signs of slowing down. As always, this one combines crisp plotting with stylish prose. Ideal for historical-mystery devotees." -- Booklist on A Divided Loyalty
About the Author
Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, Caroline passed away in August 2021 and Charles lives in Florida.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks (January 11, 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062905562
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062905567
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.86 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #678,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Can and do authors ever get sick of their characters? I’ve read many series books over the years and I can only think of one author - Sue Grafton - whose final book was as well written as her first. “A Fatal Lie” is indifferently written with Inspector Rutledge “of the Yard” being called in to investigate one murder, then two more, in Wales and surrounding area in England. Most of the book consists of Rutledge driving from town to town, talking to possible witnesses in the case. Most are natural liars and the poor Inspector can’t trust anybody’s account of the crimes, which seem to center around the kidnapping of a red headed little girl. Who were the child’s parents and what has been done to retrieve her? There’s endless driving around in cars and on motorcycles. I think the book’s plot skidded out of control early on, and by the end, I lost interest in both plot and characters.
But another way to judge a series book is to enjoy the continuation of the main character’s progress through the years. To read series books is to return to old friends and catch up with what’s going on with them. And in this respect, the Todds’ have done well. I’m giving their book 3 stars, which is a combo of a 4 for their bringing up to date characters we’ve missed since the last book and a 2 for indifferent writing.
This story takes place in 1921 with Rutledge practically chained to his desk at Scotland Yard doing paperwork because Chief Superintendent Markham doesn't want to be reminded of how much his own reputation is enhanced by Rutledge solving the previous case. When a Chief Constable in a northern Welsh county asks for help from Scotland Yard Markham is delighted to send Rutledge about as far away as possible. A body has been found in the River Dee under the Aqueduct and there is a question of whether it was an accident or suicide. So Inspector Rutledge drives from London to Wales to begin picking up the smallest of clues to help him solve this riddle. Accident, suicide or murder, it takes patience for Rutledge to add up all the tiny clues to solve the death. Investigating among the men who served in the Bantam Division takes Rutledge back into the memories he has tried so hard to suppress of his own actions. The PTSD Rutledge suffers from makes a vivid return especially with Corporal Hamish MacLeod so aggressively triggering those memories from the safety of Rutledge's mind.
It's all here, in this story, the ingredients put together to make a reading experience that I enjoyed from beginning to end. A great addition to the series.