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The Confession: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd order for
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The mother and son team of Charles Todd, authors of the bestselling Inspector Ian Rutledge series, has another star in their line-up of mystery novels, The Confession. This one will shine as brightly as their previous thirteen featuring shell-shocked Scotland Yard Inspector Rutledge. He suffered trauma in the trenches during WWI and now carries a Scotsman in his conscience as retribution for being forced to execute the soldier for disobeying orders.

A man appears in Rutledge's office, claiming to have killed another and saying he must clear his soul before he dies of cancer. Not finding any evidence of the crime, Rutledge works to uncover what prompted the stranger to make a confession. If true, where is the body? If false, why confess to a crime that never happened? This point is where the meticulously written plot picks up even more speed and the reader is in for quite a ride.

Rutledge's investigations lead him to the country beyond London and a grand home named River's Edge. The family that had lived there dispersed when the matriarch of the household disappeared, never to be found either dead or alive. The war then intruded into their lives. The manor, decaying and empty of inhabitants, stands as a reminder to the villagers of a different age; when smuggling from France occupied their minds, to supply the niceties they liked but couldn't afford to buy on their meager incomes.

Devoid of clues to make his time in the country profitable, Rutledge decides to return to London, but soon unearths enough information to keep him on the trail of the confessor.

If asked which mystery written by this author duo I liked best, I would have to say that I couldn't say. They are each methodically plotted with characters that come alive on the printed pages. Somehow, the authors manage to pick readers up and deposit them in the scene being played out at the moment. Don't miss this wonderful puzzle, The Confession. If you are already a fan, I know you won't. If the series is new to you, it's best to start at the beginning with A Test of Wills, but each episode can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone.

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