Scotland Yard's best detective, Inspector Ian Rutledge, must solve a dangerous case that reaches far into the past in this superb mystery in the acclaimed series.
Declaring he needs to clear his conscience, a dying man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses that he killed his cousin five years earlier during the Great War. When Inspector Ian Rutledge presses for details, the man evades his questions, revealing only that he hails from a village east of London. With little information and no body to open an official inquiry, Rutledge begins to look into the case on his own.
Less than two weeks later, the alleged killer's body is found floating in the Thames, a bullet in the back of his head. Searching for answers, Rutledge discovers that the dead man was not who he claimed to be. What was his real name-and who put a bullet in his head? Were the "confession" and his own death related? Or was there something else in the victim's past that led to his murder?
The inspector's only clue is a gold locket, found around the dead man's neck, that leads back to Essex and an insular village whose occupants will do anything to protect themselves from notoriety, for notoriety brings the curious, and with the curious come change and an unwelcome spotlight on a centuries-old act of evil that even now can damn them all.
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by Charles Todd
"The thrill of the chase and unraveling disparate evidence shines in this most convoluted Todd mystery. And, as always, Simon Prebble perfectly delivers Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge's thoughtful commentary and firm commands. Prebble meticulously portrays the twisty story's many varied characters, including women, the elderly, and those of multiple stations with many forms of British accents. (Thankfully, Hamish MacLeod, Rutledge's late WWI comrade, who often muses internally in Rutledge's mind, is mostly mute this time.) The post-WWI plot begins simply enough--with a dying man's confession to a murder during the Great War. However, as Rutledge delves deeper, following clues through London and beyond, more murders and related crimes pile up, until he discovers the ancient evil root that imperiled so many. A.W. (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"
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