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A Matter of Justice: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd Amazon.com order for
Matter of Justice
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Washington Post Book World hails Charles Todd's superb, atmospheric historical mystery series as, 'one of the best historical series being written today.' I must concur, having regretfully just finished the last page of the latest in the series, A Matter of Justice.

Once again, Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge motors out of the London environs to the countryside to investigate the savage murder of Harold Quarles on his country estate. Quarles had been a financial advisor in London and, until recently, a partner in business with Davis Penrith. Quarles was not a well respected man and many were not unhappy to hear of his demise. A long list of suspects needs to be interrogated.

Rutledge is both hampered and helped in his quest by the voice that lives in the dark recesses of his mind. Hamish has been there ever since Rutledge was forced to shoot him in the course of his duty in the trenches during World War I. Feeling guilty, he carries Hamish with him wherever he goes and Hamish proves to be extremely vocal as well as critical - with a Scottish brogue.

Charles Todd, a mother and son writing team, manage to place their readers in every scene with seeming ease so carefully is the scene set up with all the accompanying sights, sounds and smells. As the story wends its way through the clues and down the list of suspects, Rutledge is able as always to find the truth. A not very surprising one, since readers are made privy to information that Rutledge does not have.

The reader must keep his attention on the plot, as it skips back and forth. It is well worth the effort. I found it very easy to slip back and live in my parents' time, though this tale takes place in England and my mother and father never made it there. The pace of this excellent book moves quickly to its ending with determination as well as grace. Thank you, Charles Todd, for another very satisfying read.

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