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Racing the Devil: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd Amazon.com order for
Racing the Devil
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The latest offering by Charles Todd is Racing the Devil, another in the very popular series featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge. Rutledge survived World War I but since then has suffered a soldier's voice acting as his conscience - he was forced to shoot one of his own company for cowardice and has been listening to the young soldier, Hamish, ever since. No one else is aware of this strange phenomenon.

A group of officers, the night before the Battle of the Somme, agreed that after the war was over they would race from Paris to Nice in motorcars - begged, borrowed or stolen. Although they were not close friends, the looming battle created a camaraderie that would not be denied. Move ahead. War over. Slowly the survivors start on their pledged trip. One by one they arrive. But one isn't so lucky. He's nudged over a cliff by another motorcar and killed. Rutledge is called by Scotland Yard to investigate and determines that the man's death was no accident but murder.

As always, Todd gently places readers in each scene. I find it very easy to ride along with Rutledge and experience the French countryside just after that War to End all Wars. My father served with the British Army during this war and suffered the consequences for the rest of his life. The French people who lived through the war (as portrayed by Todd) seem to act as those who had been through hell would do.

The mother-and-son writing team known as Charles Todd have won many accolades for their excellent recounting of this period of time. The New York Times Book Review praises 'It's the melancholy tone, the legacy of the trenches that gives Todd's polite rural mystery such uncommon depth.' Racing the Devil is a finely plotted mystery, unraveling a web of vengeance while bringing to light old grievances and secrets buried long ago. Treat yourself to a good read. Trust me on this.

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