Solving Murder without Forensics

Title: A Lonely Death: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd
Publisher: Harper Collins
352 pages
Genre: Mystery

This book was received as an advanced electronic galley from the publisher via netgalley.  This title will be released in January 2011.

Synopsis: Three men have been murdered in a Sussex village, and Scotland Yard has been called in. It's a baffling case. The victims are soldiers who survived the horrors of the Great War only to meet a ghastly end in the quiet English countryside two years later. Each had been garroted, with small ID disks left in their mouths. But even Scotland Yard's presence doesn't deter this vicious and clever killer. Shortly after Inspector Ian Rutledge arrives a fourth soldier is found dead. With few clues to go on and the pressure building, Rutledge must gamble everything to find answers-his job, his reputation, and even his life.

Review: There are apparently 12 other Inspector Rutledge books and I would never have known that if I hadn't looked up the author.  I love reading books in series that just flow without really having to know anything that came before.

I really loved this book.  I loved the detective work that went into solving a case before forensics took over.  Imagine how difficult it would have been to solve a crime when you couldn't use trace evidence, dna and things that we now take for granted.  This was just a case of good old detective work.

Inspector Rutledge works for Scotland Yard and isn't well liked by his superior officer.  He is hardworking but plagued by incidents that happened while at war in France.  He is haunted by a man named Hamish who he fought with in the war and had to send to the firing squad for not following orders while in battle. Rutledge respected Hamish for his stand and believed he was correct in denying the order but Rutledge had to follow his orders so now Hamish haunts him.  Hamish talks to him, helps him solve his cases, protects him and taunts him.  He is a partner that you can't escape.

While investigating the garroting murders of several men in a Sussex village, he also gets sucked into an unsolved case that has taunted his mentor who just recently retired.  The murder of an unknown man who was strung up at Stonehenge and the murderer and the murder weapon were never found. When not working on his own case Rutledge finds himself thinking about this other.

I can't say enough about this book.  I loved the play between Rutledge and his ghost Hamish they made for an entertaining couple.  As for the other characters they were all well done and so many of their stories could have taken place today.