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Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd Amazon.com order for
Proof of Guilt
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Inspector Ian Rutledge returns to the printed page with Proof of Guilt by the mother-and-son team of Charles Todd. I couldn't be happier. The Ian Rutledge series has been declared 'one of the best historical series being written today' by the Washington Post Book World and I concur.

Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, in this 15th book of the series, investigates what looks like an accident. In his opinion, it's murder. The only identifying item found on the body is a fine, expensive, antique watch. With his usual thoroughness, Rutledge starts trying to track down to whom the watch might have belonged to and we're off on a new, very fine mystery.

He is led to a family of winemakers of a very fine Madeira and finds a twisted family relationship with the family spending time in England as well as Madeira in Portugal. The quest leads him all over the English countryside, interrogating a not very accommodating family member as well as a church curate and a family lawyer. He discovers complicated affairs of the heart that he feels might be a reason for the death of the victim. Rutledge almost becomes a victim himself!

As always, I am entranced by the depictions of the background of the towns and countryside of 1920s England. I almost feel, as I read, that I have been transported back to that time. I mustn't forget to mention Hamish, who is with Rutledge always, quick with his advice. Wonderful characters as well as an intriguing plot make it very hard to put the book down.

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