In THE RED DOOR, Rutledge grimly acknowledges the words of his doctor: that enduring Hamish's voice may be the price of his own survival. Threats surround him, but this time most of them are focused within the Teller family, whose war wounds are far less obvious. Sorted into loving couples and attentive maiden sisters, the Tellers close ranks against Scotland Yard when Rutledge tries to enlist their cooperation:
"I won't listen to any more of this. It's a hodgepodge of wishful thinking and make-believe. There's not a grain of truth in it!" It was more a cry of pain than of denial.
Rutledge nodded and walked back to his motorcar. He turned it and then drove back up the drive. When he was nearly out of sight of the rose bed, he glanced in his rearview mirror.Secrets and costly alliances are all too familiar to the inspector. But death by death, he realizes that this family's motives are more often love than, say, greed or anger. Who are they protecting?
Walter Teller was bent over, his arms wrapped around his body, as if he were in pain, his head down. Rutledge was too far away to see his face, but he carried with him the image of a man in agony.
Readers of the series will find Hamish a bit less violent toward Rutledge in this volume; is the vicious bile of his voice waning, or is he merely protecting his own survival? Todd's ending leaves me suspecting that the harsh Scotsman's judgments and pain will erupt with new fury in the sequel.