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Publisher's Summary

When reclusive war poet Olivia Marlowe and her half-brother, Nicholas Cheney, die together in their ancestral home on the Cornish coast, it looks like suicide. The grieving relatives gather together to discuss the fate of Barcombe Hall, when another shocking death occurs. Inspector Rutledge, who is still shell-shocked from his experiences in the Great War, is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate. Rutledge is soon convinced that the answers to this baffling case lie within the family’s secret history.
©1998 Charles Todd (P)1999 W.F. Howes
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Catcher50 on 03-29-13

Both History and Mystery

Todd writes the tale of a detective, back from the First World War and struggling with his own demons. As a "Who Dun It", this book stands on its own. Without throwing out unnecessary Red Herrings, Todd keeps the question of the perpetrator (if there really is one) up in the air until very close to the end.

Even better, he paints a, presumably, accurate picture of rural English life between the wars. I've spent much time studying that period, but only as a historian. I, more or less, understand the economic forces that drove events. The personalities that dominated the country are part of my every day vocabulary. To read about the lives and attitudes of those who lived there and then, how they looked at those returning from the war, how they lived with a changing world and where they would look for leadership.

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10 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Linda Lou on 06-21-13

AN ADDICTIVE SERIES!

Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is 2nd in the seriers. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!

No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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