A False Mirror (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #9)

A False Mirror (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #9)

4.0 21
by Charles Todd

View All Available Formats & Editions

“Full of suspense, surprises, and sympathetic characters.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“No mystery series I can think of captures the sadness and loss that swept over England after World War I with the heartbreaking force of Charles Todd’s books about Scotland Yard Inspector Ian


“Full of suspense, surprises, and sympathetic characters.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“No mystery series I can think of captures the sadness and loss that swept over England after World War I with the heartbreaking force of Charles Todd’s books about Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge.”
Chicago Tribune

The remarkable Charles Todd has created one of the most unforgettable characters in mystery and crime fiction: Inspector Ian Rutledge, shell-shocked veteran of “the Great War.” A False Mirror is one of Todd’s most powerful novels, plunging his tormented protagonist into the center of a brutal crime that painfully echoes events in Rutledge’s own past. Poignant, evocative, and continually surprising, A False Mirror is further proof that Charles Todd is well deserving of the critical acclaim the Rutledge novels have earned; a New York Times bestselling author who belongs among the acknowledged masters of the genre, including P. D. James, Elizabeth George, Ruth Rendell, and Jacqueline Winspear.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is a man alone. Well, not exactly. Todd's eighth Rutledge installment finds the character still haunted by the voice of Hamish, whom he shot for disobeying orders during World War I. Now Rutledge has been sent to Hampton Regis because Stephen, a former trenchmate, demands that Rutledge find evidence to exonerate him of the near-fatal beating of Matthew, the man who married Stephen's former sweetheart, Felicity. To complicate the matter, Stephen has taken Felicity hostage to avoid arrest. Rutledge must sift through the motives of these small-town inhabitants and of Matthew's associates from his life as a foreign diplomat. The stakes are raised when Matthew goes missing and the body count rises. The revelation of the culprit comes as a surprise owing to multiple suspects with potential motives, but it is Rutledge's tortured soul that will intrigue and engage readers most. Recommended for historical mystery collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 9/1/06; Charles Todd is the pseudonym of a mother-and-son writing team.-Ed.]-Susan O. Moritz, Montgomery Cty. P.L., MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The heartbreaking aftermath of choosing either side in the fight-or-flight dilemma. Stephen Mallory, once a soldier under Ian Rutledge's command at the Somme, seeks out Rutledge, now with Scotland Yard, then pleads to assaulting Matthew Hamilton and holding the man's wife, Felicity, and maid, Nan, hostage at gunpoint. Rutledge subsequently heads to the English town of Hampton Regis with Hamish MacLeod, the wartime ghost he can't shake (A Long Shadow, 2006, etc.). The villagers believe Mallory wants Hamilton dead so he can reclaim Felicity, who didn't wait for Mallory to return from the war. This scenario, which reminds Rutledge of his own wartime abandonment, is fostered by his dislike of the cowardly Mallory. While Hamilton lies comatose, Rutledge wonders who else might have attacked Hamilton: a solicitor who fiddled with Hamilton's inheritance while he was stationed in Malta; a foreign service officer Hamilton may have pilloried in his diary; a long-unseen woman whose memory haunts him (but why?); and another woman who might want revenge for his striking her down in a car accident. None of them, however, seem to have any reason for the ensuing deaths of the doctor's wife and Hamilton's gossipy maid. Clues that would do Agatha Christie proud inexorably lead to the denouement, but Todd's fans will know better than to expect a happy ending. Compelling evidence that inside every warrior who returns from the front, there's a nightmare waiting to break out. Agent: Jane Chelius/Jane Chelius Literary Agency, Inc.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Inspector Ian Rutledge Series , #9
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
891 KB

Read an Excerpt

A False Mirror

An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
By Charles Todd

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Charles Todd
All right reserved.

Chapter One

Hampton Regis
Early February, 1920

It was a bitterly cold night of frost, the stars sharp and piercingly bright overhead.

He pulled the motorcar to the verge and settled to watch the house that lay directly across the black expanse of water. It stood out against the sky, amazingly clear. Even from here he could tell there were lamps burning in three of the rooms. He could picture them in his mind: at the rear of the house--the sitting room, very likely. In the entry, where the pattern of the fanlight over the front door shone starkly against the deep shadows there--behind it the staircase, of course. And one on the first floor, under the eaves.

Their bedroom, surely.

The sitting room lamp went out after half an hour. He could see, for an instant, the grotesque silhouette cast for a moment or two against the drawn shades as someone reached out to turn down the flame. And then the silhouette reappeared briefly in the fanlight just as the second lamp was extinguished.

He leaned forward, his concentration intense, then swore as the windscreen clouded with his breath.

Were there two people in the bedroom now?

He couldn't bear to think about it. He couldn't bear to picture her in another man's arms, wrapped in the warmth of the bedclothes, whispering softly, her hair falling over his shoulderand across his chest. . . .

His fists pounded angrily on the steering wheel as he tried to force the images out of his mind.

And then the last lamp went out, leaving the house in darkness. Shutting them in. While he sat there, like a fool, in the windless night, cold and wretched.

It was the fourth time he'd driven into Hampton Regis. He had promised the doctor he'd do no such thing. But the temptation was too strong, overwhelming his better judgment. Haunted by the need to know, he had told himself that once would do no harm. But once had become twice. And now here he was again.

Dr. Beatie had said, "Stephen--you aren't healed yet. Do you understand? Emotional distress could put you back here, in a worse state than before!"

Both of them knew it was a lie. There could be no worse state than the one he'd somehow, miraculously, survived. He had had to kill the Captain before Dr. Beatie could set him free. He wished now it had been Matthew Hamilton who had died.

He caught himself, knowing it was wrong to wish such a thing. But God, he was tired, and alone, and sometimes afraid. He wanted things the way they had been in 1914. Before the war--the trenches--the nightmares. Before Matthew Hamilton had walked into the clinic waiting room to comfort Felicity and told her--what? Lies? Or the sordid truth? That her fiancé was a coward.

After a time Stephen got out to crank the motorcar, the sound of the powerful engine roaring into life and filling the cold silence. He would freeze to death if he sat here, uselessly mourning.

Setting his teeth, he turned the motorcar and without looking again at the darkened house behind him, drove back the way he'd come.

He couldn't see behind the silken white curtains that covered the window under the eaves a pale face staring out into the night, watching the puff of exhaust whip across the rear light, a wraith shielding its brightness until it was out of sight.

Matthew Hamilton rose early, quietly throwing back the bedclothes and the counterpane that covered him, then tucking the ends around his wife's bare shoulder. Looking down at her, he marveled again at his luck. Then reminded himself that it wasn't his luck at all, but someone else's misfortune, that he had married this lovely, loving woman in his bed.

Wryly turning away, he dressed quickly and then set about making up the fire so that the room would be warm for her. When it was drawing well, he went down to the kitchen and blew the fire there into life for the kettle. While he waited for it to boil, he raised the shades and looked out at the clear, cold morning. The sun was not yet up, but a pale rose had begun to streak the winter-brown lawns spreading to the cliff face overlooking the sea. The water beyond was still, waiting for the sun, and farther out there was a soft mist blanketing it.

To the west, across the harbor below, the land rose up again, running out to a point a little higher than the one on which his house was set. The pair of headlands formed two arms embracing the Mole--the medieval stone pier that jutted out across the shingle to the tideline--creating a haven for shipping along England's south coast in an age when sailing ships made Hampton Regis rich. There had once been a watchtower on the far headland, built to keep an eye on Napoleon. Only ruins stood there now, overgrown at the base, a few feet of stone still reaching upward like pleading fingers.

Two days ago he'd seen a vixen and her kits romping there, and he'd been touched by their exuberance, wondering how any man could hunt them down. Farmers were often a backward lot, though it was an unkind thing to say. But foxes kept vermin down, and like the old owl in the belfry at the church, deserved a better character than they'd been given.

The kettle whistled behind him, startling him, and he moved quickly to lift it off the plate. He enjoyed these few minutes alone, before the maid arrived, before the house was a-bustle. He also enjoyed spoiling his wife, doing such small things for her pleasure. A far cry from his long years of exile in other countries, alone and often distrusted, the voice of London when often London had left him to his own devices. It was over, and he called himself happy.


Excerpted from A False Mirror by Charles Todd Copyright © 2007 by Charles Todd. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

A False Mirror (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #9) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Ian Rutledge, an affecting, strong, yet vulnerable hero was first introduced by the mother/son writing team of Charles Todd in A Test Of Wills. He's a Scotland Yard inspector, a veteran of the Great War now battling the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jean, his fiancee didn't wait for him, he's haunted by the voice of Corporal Hamish MacLeod whom Rutledge was compelled to kill, and beleaguered by his superior, Chief Superintendent Bowles, who seems determined to break what is left of Rutledge's spirit. Seven novels followed the first, all tracing the tests and trials of Rutledge. Each is complexly plotted, powered by suspense, and insightful as the psychological scars of soldiers are revealed. A False Mirror is set not long after the end of World War I. Rutledge continues to suffer with memories of the carnage and his very personal involvement. We read, '.....how could he explain what war had done to him and to so many others? How could he describe watching Hamish fall, how could he tell anyone how the man had lain there, trying to speak to him, begging for release? And how could he ever condone drawing his revolver and delivering the coup de grace, the blow of grace.....? He is dispatched to a small community, Hampton Regis, to investigate the almost fatal assault on Matthew Hamilton. The man believed to be guilty is Stephen Mallory, a veteran who also suffers the after effects of war. He had known Rutledge during the war and there is little love lost between them. Mallory is also the man Felicity, Matthew Hamilton's wife, had loved before he went off to war. In his current state of mind would Mallory have tried to kill Hamilton in order to be with Felicity again? He swears that he is not guilty but fearing punishment for a crime he didn't commit he takes Felicity and her maid hostage in their home, Casa Miranda, swearing he will speak to no one save Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard. Thus it falls to Rutledge to determine whether or not Mallory is guilty and if he is not, who would want to attack Hamilton and why? Rutledge's investigation is hampered by the disappearance of the stricken Hamilton and two more deaths. Characterizations are rich while intriguing clues keep readers turning pages until they find a never-suspected killer. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
All of the Todd - Ina Rutledge series is excellent. His writing style is so fluid and vibrant that his books are like a movie. Reminiscent of the Jericho or Foyles War series on PBS.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best crime stories i've ever read. And, it's not even full of profanity!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Onthefly More than 1 year ago
Ian Rutledge's character development keeps getting better and better. Can't put this series down once I start.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the village of Hampton Regis, Stephen Mallory is accused of attacking Matthew Hamilton leaving the latter in a coma and currently holds hostage the man's wife Felicity and their maid Nan. The distraught WWI veteran demands that his former commanding officer Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge arrive at the scene as he refuses to neither speak with anyone else nor release anyone. --- Rutledge, who has his own issues from the combat (the ghost of Hamish MacLeod, whom he had executed during the war) rushes to the village. There the locals inform Ian that this is a love triangle turned ugly as everyone the Inspector speaks to explains that Felicity, Stephen¿s former lover before he went off to fight did not wait for his return from the recent war but instead married Matthew they also insist Mallory wants Felicity back and is willing to kill Hamilton to achieve his objective. Ian thinks the assault is too perfect and wonders who else might have a motive to harm Hamilton. He quickly draws up a list of possibilities, but none seem quite right except for Mallory. --- This is a superb historical mystery with the usual late twists and the message that those coming back from war return with potential deep rooted emotional problems from all the horrors they witness. The story line is fast-paced, but also vividly paints a deep picture of a small English village just after the end of WWI. Fans will feel for all the key players as each has ghosts to contend with, but none more than Rutledge and Mallory. A FALSE MIRROR is a winner in one of the best ongoing twentieth century police procedurals series. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fortunately cannot tell the plot by her review and is a classic english mystery which tells all if you like them my dear mother a great reader disliked any book where they took tea! One of my favorite authors but not the other series curious mom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't received A False Mirror as yet since it was just published today but if it is anything like the others, I know it will be interesting, compelling reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well the cover of this book was lovely. In fact it was the best part of the whole 'reading experience'. The plot was kind of odd. I don't like to give things away but the circumstances of the 'hostage taking' made no sense at all. But let me get to the major annoyance. Inspector Rutledge, God bless him is haunted by his World War 1 experiences and that is understandable, but he is accompanied everywhere by the disembodied voice of a dead comrade who 'helps' him deal with crime. I kept picturing a balloon with a happy face floating over his shoulder. It was just too weird and more than silly. I decided after half the book that I couldn't take it anymore. The authors are apparently mother and daughter. So, does the mother write while the daughter hovers behind her, or what? Maybe the other way around? Bad book.