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A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge Book 11) Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
At the start of a new century, in a war far away from England, two British soldiers see a golden opportunity . . . and do the unthinkable to take advantage of it.
Twenty years later, a successful though much despised London businessman is found savagely and bizarrely murdered in a medieval tithe barn on his estate in Somerset. For Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge, a man still shaken by the Great War's deafening echoes, the well-concealed trail he must now follow is leading back to an event so monumentally barbarous that its consequences envelop even the innocent. And when justice takes a malevolent turn, one haunted policeman must stand alone against the onrushing tide.--Booklist --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B001NLKSZC
- Publisher : William Morrow; Reprint edition (December 24, 2008)
- Publication date : December 24, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 690 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 340 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #80,317 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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So far the "murders" are taking place in the English countryside where villages have constables who ride bicycles, where manners dictate tea and cake for every occasion and where the authors sow interesting bits of English history into every novel. Ian at least has a motorcar that he has to crank to get started and does not carry a firearm. The authors description of the villages and the countryside are utterly delightful as well as Ian's though process into the process of solving a murder mystery.
You sometimes need a flowchart to keep track of "suspects" but as the investigation unfolds suspects are eliminated one by one. The author leaves you in the dark as to the actual murderer until the very end but key suspects always had good reason to do the deed if they had wanted to. The writing is beautiful, and developed and always suspenseful.
After having read previous novels leading up to this one I have come to hope that Ian Rutledge can rid himself of his demons from the war. And to meet a woman to become a part of his lonely life. Several have been slyly introduced only to fade away but there is a young widow from the war, Meredith Channing, that has appeared several times and maybe the next book I read will reveal more. I'm reading these books in order, and each one is a gem.
And different! We're given a glimpse of the ultimate motive power for the murder at the very beginning of the story, but the bizarre circumstances of the crime made me question my assumptions about the players. That kept me turning pages enthusiastically right through to the end, even though, supposedly, "we already know who did it".
Surprisingly, there was a small bit of uncharacteristic, over-the-top, gratuitous violence at the end; a case of "too much of a good thing" (if any level of violence can be called "good"). I hope this is an aberration, as an important part of the appeal of these stories, for me, is the absence of such stuff (and sex, foul language, etc.) The main draw, of course, is the quality of the writing, which is consistently quite good.
The man was very important in the business world and lived as the local squire in the village and so when he is murdered the local constable calls on Scotland Yard for assistance. If it means a trip to the provinces, it's another chance for his superior to get Inspector Ian Rutledge out of his hair and his sight for a while. Rutledge is therefore dispatched to deal with the crime.
There is a bit of a twist in the telling of this story. At the beginning of the book, we meet Quarles and his later business partner Penrith as they are serving in South Africa during the Boer War at the turn of the twentieth century. Something happens at that time which will be the precipitant of later events. We also meet the brother of the lieutenant with whom Quarles and Penrith served. The lieutenant and all the others under his command, except for Quarles and Penrith, had died in a Boer ambush. Knowing all of these facts in advance, we are far ahead of Rutledge and the local police in determining motive for the murder and seeing how it was planned and executed.
We get to watch as Rutledge wades through all the false trails and possible suspects, including those who are all too willing to admit to the crime for reasons of their own. It's easy to feel his frustration as it becomes clear that no one is really telling him the whole story, including the obviously not grieving widow. It's hard for him to hold on to his temper as he has to deal with their obstructionism, as well as the lack of support from his superiors in London. But he is tenacious in his quest for the truth and for justice, even for a victim who was an odious example of humanity.
Once again, Rutledge is hounded and in some instances aided by the presence in his mind of the Scottish soldier Hamish whom he had had to execute during his time in the trenches in World War I. Hamish's voice is much more active in this book than in the most recent one of the series that I read, and he helps to explicate what Rutledge is thinking and why his mind works the way that it does.
All in all, this was an interesting and enjoyable read. There was one incident that seemed entirely anomalous and unnecessary to me and I never really figured out why it was a part of the story. During the investigation, Rutledge, lacking sleep, had made a late-night run from the village to London and he had an accident in which he received an almighty bump on the head and possible concussion. But it really played no part in the plot. What was the purpose? That part of the mystery remains a mystery to me.
This, by the way, was the eleventh entry in the series. I accidentally read it out of sequence. Now, at some point, I'll need to go back and pick up number ten, obsessive reader that I am.
Top reviews from other countries
I did enjoy the Boer War sequence and was reminded of a very good book by John Harris written many years ago, but the practicalities of stealing a payroll and hiding it and getting it out of South Africa were never covered and there was an obvious gap there in the story.
On to the next one!