Charles Todd, In the Shattered Tree (click here for Stasio review). I think I'm going to have to read it soon -- I'm usually pretty casual about getting to the Charles Todd books because they are so well publicized that the Kingdom Books review is just a bit of kindling in the usual warm blaze of appreciation.
And that reminded me that I hadn't yet mentioned this year's Charles Todd book in the other series, the one built around British World War I survivor Inspector Ian Rutledge. I caught up with NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE recently and enjoyed the read very much. Taking a somewhat different tack from others in this series, Inspector Rutledge knows from the start that murder has been committed and that a murderer is on the loose in the hauntingly lovely terrain of the north coast of Cornwall (far from the usual Scotland Yard support services, and creating a crisis of conflict among police forces). Rutledge's task is to force the double community -- the local folks and the wealthy residents who form their own closed network within this -- to open up enough for him to find actual evidence. ("Was she strong enough emotionally to lie for the others, if they had decided to drown Saunders? To keep their secret even in the face of trial and conviction? He couldn't be sure. Sometimes fragile people were made of steel, where their own interests were concerned.")
I liked very much the steady progress of police procedure, personal commitment, and dogged pursuit of "means, motive, opportunity" in this book, and the integrity that Rutledge continues to display. As an ardent fan of the situation Todd has created, where Rutledge's war-induced "shell shock" has created the voice of his deceased friend Hamish in his mind, I would have liked a bit more of Hamish's presence and voice here. Such hunger may yet drive me back to re-read the entire series in sequence. What a satisfying thought for facing the colder seasons ahead!
PS: Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.