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The latest Inspector Rutledge novel with Simon Prebble's narration is outstanding!
As most audio book readers (listeners) realize, there are not many good writers of "police procedural" novels and even fewer of the very important good narrations.
The Inspector Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd (pen name for the mother-and-son writing team of Charles and Caroline Todd) is unique for the police procedural genre. The entry in Wekipedia says it best -"The books deal with the cases of Inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of the European campaigns who is attempting to pick up the pieces of his Scotland Yard career." In my opinion they are not the typical "who done it" story lines, but more of a what it was like to be a Scotland Yard detective in post World War I Britain tasked with assignments of assisting local police to confirm their suspicions and finding himself having to prove who didn't do it. This latest novel, "No Shred of Evidence", a perfect example.
As with all the novels in this series, Rutledge has to work without benefit of forensics. He must rely on information gleaned from others the most difficult of which is the local aristocracy, who at that time looked down on "the police" and were loathed to cooperate in any investigation that might create any scandal. That and his gut feel, which is expressed in the form of the voice of Hamish Macbeth, a corporal that he was required to execute during the battle of the Somme. A duty that has haunted him ever since.
The first nine novels in the series were narrated by Samuel Gillies. I would rate his narration at 4 stars. For the next nine novels, Simon Prebble took over. His narration goes beyond the typical narrator's reading and is what I consider to be a 5 star performance. Prebble's talent and skill puts him in a class with very few other audio book narrators. As I listen to Prebble's performance, I actually feel transported to the scenes and actions in the novel and become a bystander.
For me, the plot really becomes secondary and it's the details of the scenes, penned by Charles Todd and Prebble's performance that make it all so very entertaining. The two worst words being "The End."
Although in my review of "Proof of Guilt" (#15 in the series) I rated it the best of a great series, I now think that this latest novel "No Shred of Evidence" (#18) is the very best. Having listened to all 18 at least twice, picking the best is not easy.
This series is very chronological, so from that point of view the reader (listener) should probably start with #1 "A Test of Wills", although the Todd team wrote a pre-quel "A Fine Summer's Day" that was released 01/06/15 (#17). It is about Inspector Rutledge before he went off to war in 1914. That novel was narrated by Steven Crossley, which is the only one in the series that he narrated. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Prebble returned to perform the narration of this current release.
Incidentally, Prebble has narrated over 500 books since "retiring", in 1990, to the US from an acting and narration career in Britain and in 2010 he was awarded the coveted Audie.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful
Every book in this series is masterfully done. This may be my favorite. From the opening scene to the end we are carefully taken through a captivating journey.
I highly recommend this series.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
The gentle boating expedition turns into a nightmare when the four young women in the boat, trying to rescue a drowning man, are accused of attempted murder. Rutledge is sent to Cornwall to replace another detective who died. He arrives and finds one of the women is Kate, cousin of his pre-war betrothed. Can he keep them out of prison while he tries to untangle the truth from the lies while the number of dead and injured seem to be mounting on this quiet Cornish estuary?
It is surprising to realise that this is the 1920s; there is still very basic medical care from doctors with no hospitals or x-ray machines and other things we now take for granted like telephones or motor cars are not commonplace either.
With no shred of evidence and the initial statements lost, his problems seem insuperable. Can he find any evidence to overturn the accusation and save the women? Nail-biting to the end.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
As always, great story, narrated very well, by Simon Prebble. Looking forward to next book
1 of 1 people found this review helpful