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Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd Amazon.com order for
Hunting Shadows
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

What luck! I'm starting off the New Year with a new Charles Todd novel clutched in my hot little hands. Hunting Shadows is an Ian Rutledge mystery starring our heroic Inspector and his subconscious voice, that of Hamish MacLeod.

This story takes place in the English countryside of Cambridgeshire in the 1920s. Even though World War I has long been over, Rutledge carries the scars of war in his head as Hamish confronts him every day. Rutledge is sent to Ely Cathedral to investigate the murder of a guest at a society wedding. The victim had been shot just outside the church. No one seems to remember seeing anyone who seemed out of place or the actual shooter.

A second man is shot, also with a rifle an army rifle that was to be handed back to the army when the war ceased. No one in the vicinity of the shooting remembers anything out of the ordinary except for one woman who claimed she saw a monster at a window! Each man has been killed in plain view of many villagers.

Rutledge can find no connection to the deaths and is baffled. One small lead sends him around the countryside as he tries to see logic in the murders. As a suspect finally emerges, Rutledge is faced with a dilemma. He remembers something that happened during the war which makes him question his solution as well as how to handle it.

The Charles Todd books are far and away among my most favorite reading. I have to admit, though, I was a trifle disappointed with this one. The mother and son team are most excellent writers and rate high acclaim. But the sense of suspense I have come to expect just wasn't there. However, the book is well worth reading for the historical details alone, as well as the effects war had on those who fought and brought their war home with them. I can still remember my father waking us all up at night with his screams. He fought in this Great War. I see nothing great about it.

Charles Todd also writes the Bess Crawford series. Bess is a nurse who served in France during the war and encounters many fascinating mysteries. Her adventures offer many more hours of good reading.

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