Hampton Regis, a small harbor town on the southern coast of England, is a most unlikely place for violence. Yet, one spring morning, a man is found on the strand so severely beaten that he slips in and out of consciousness. The prime suspect? His wife's jilted lover, who served with Rutledge in the recently ended Great War-but who left the Front under a cloud. Badly wounded, yes, but did someone also cover up cowardice? Rutledge is called on to prove the innocence of a man he dislikes and distrusts. But the deadly triangle also stirs up memories of the woman Rutledge himself loved and lost when he went to France to fight. His doubts about the accused and himself only deepen when the victim of the beating mysteriously disappears, with no body to be found. As the brilliant yet tormented detective discovers that he's not the only person seeing a reflection of tumultuous emotions in this case, he must confront the demons that threaten to overwhelm him and search out the truth. For in Hampton Regis hides a vicious killer who intends to let nothing-and no one-stand in the way.
Starred Review. The complex, evocative ninth installment in Todd's series set in post-WWI England (after 2006's Long Shadow) showcases the pseudonymous author's usual subtle understatement and deft characterization. Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, who has returned from the trench warfare of France haunted by the carnage (and in particular by his order to execute one of his own men), heads to the seaside village of Hampton Regis to defuse a hostage situation. Stephen Mallory, who served under Rutledge's command in the war and is suspected of viciously assaulting his ex-lover's husband, demands Rutledge's presence before he will release his ex-lover and other hostages. To manage the crisis, Rutledge must weather the suspicions of the local police and identify the person responsible for the assault and two subsequent murders. Todd, a mother-and-son writing team, seamlessly melds a fair-play whodunit with psychological suspense in the tradition of P.D. James's best. (Jan.)
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January 09, 2007
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