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A Lonely Death: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd Amazon.com order for
Lonely Death
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A Lonely Death by the mother/son writing team of Charles Todd is a tour de force, a magnum opus, and any other word that can describe a most wonderful read. My only problem with this work is that it ended. I wanted it to go on and on and on.

Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge is sent to the hinterlands of England to ferret out the garroting murderer of surviving veterans from the trenches of World War I. He is accompanied, as always, by Hamish, the fallen soldier who lives in Ian's subconscious. Hamish shares his unbidden thoughts with Ian. (I identify this detective by his first name as by now, after twelve novels in this series, I have placed him on my Christmas card list.)

Ian finds that three men from a small village have been murdered. All at night in lonely spots, no witnesses. Shortly after his arrival, another man is found dead. Ian delves into the dead men's pasts, trying to find a motive. This quest leads him to other villages and into disagreement with his superior officer.

I won't outline any more of what I consider the best mystery I have read this year. Can't spoil anything for readers. This is such a sensitive and caring rendition of what the men in the trenches went through, my father included. I don't understand how any person could survive such an experience. Books on war are usually occupied with who won and how, and not with the human element, and how the war affected the soldier himself as well as his family and friends.

I have been able at last to understand my Dad who was an ambulance driver in France. What a different life we would have led had he not gone to war. The New York Times shares my opinion of the titles before this one bestselling. A Lonely Death will surely be given the same reception. Don't miss it or the others in the series.

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