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A Cold TreacheryAn Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd order for
Cold Treachery
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Washington Post Book World said of Watchers of Time that it was 'One of the best historical series being written today ... a compelling mystery rich with depth and shading.' Happily for readers, Charles Todd's seventh Ian Rutledge episode, A Cold Treachery, is also rich with depth and shading. Rutledge is a veteran of WWI but not without paying a price. His guilt over surviving, when so many of the men under his command died, is unbearable for him. Rutledge struggles constantly to regain his sense of worth, while an overbearing, jealous superior at Scotland Yard does his best to undermine him.

A sheep-farming family has been gunned down in the Lake District of England. Inspector Rutledge is sent there to find the murderer and bring him to justice. His gentle methods ultimately pay off as he unravels a complex case with many suspects. Apart from a tightly woven plot and characterizations of the highest quality, the rendering of each scene places the reader on the spot. The sights and sounds reverberate in the reader's mind as the words unfurl to create the surrounding countryside or a dwelling in the environs of the Lake District town of Urksdale. The author's knowledge of that part of the world, and understanding of the mindset at that period in history, is uncanny. Todd writes of my parents' time before their marriage, in a way that makes me feel as though I am living then myself.

If you haven't read any of Charles Todd's work, treat yourself by starting with the first of the series, A Test of Wills. Finish that, and continue on through this seventh adventure. You won't tire of Inspector Ian Rutledge. He's unique in the literary world. If you've already read the others and have been waiting for the next in the series here it is and it's well worth the wait. I hope number eight is not far behind.

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