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A Fine Summer's Day: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd order for
Fine Summer's Day
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd is a prequel to the award-winning series featuring Ian Rutledge, an Inspector at Scotland Yard in 1914. Ian has decided to ask the woman he loves to be his wife, despite friends and family hinting that she might not be the right woman for him. In Scotland, Hamish MacLeod shows his girl the piece of land on which he proposes to build a house for the two of them.

This fine summer's day is also the one on which the sound of shots fired at a motorcar in distant Sarajevo is heard. The Great War looms.

A man watches in another part of England as his mother is carried out the kitchen door by the local undertaker. He plans to leave his childhood home in order to enact revenge on those he feels are responsible for the wrongful hanging of his father for murder.

This totally engrossing and intriguing tale sets Rutledge on his last case before he must march off to a different life to war! A war that most young men in England couldn't seem to wait to become a part of. Rather similar to those who engaged in the U.S. Civil War. All just certain that the war will not last long and they don't want to miss out. They planned to come back home soon as heroes. How tragically wrong they were.

It appears to Rutledge that there must be some connection between several murders that seem to be completely isolated from each other. His superior had his belligerent manner even then and fights Rutledge's attempts to solve the murders. It is very hard to read of the man's miserable attitude without saying a few choice words to him out loud.

As summer progresses, Germany moves into Belgium and seems intent on taking over France as well. Great Britain realizes that she must come to France's aid before Germany sets its sight on them.

Time and place come vividly to mind as Rutledge drives his motorcar through the English countryside, from one small town to another. The mention of the sun shining on bodies of water creates tranquil scenes but reminds us of the chaos that is coming. Eventually, Rutledge must choose between Scotland Yard and the Army, and possibly postpone his wedding until after the war. Hamish MacLeod waves goodbye to his love as he heads to war.

I have read each and every one of the Ian Rutledge series. I found them poignant and informative. I enjoyed each so much and looked forward to the next as I finished the last page of the one I had just practically inhaled. Not to ignore the Bess Crawford series. Another star in the author's literary crown. A Fine Summer's Day is a stellar addition to the Ian Rutledge series.

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