Detroit Free Press
“[A] remarkable series....Keeps readers on the edge rightup to the stunning end.”
“Riveting historical mystery.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
New York Times Book Review
“A daunting portrait of a town that keeps its thoughts, its troubles and most of all its secrets to itself.”
It is a compliment to the authors that I found myself thinking of Agatha Christie as I read their book. Their Dudlington is not unlike the villages where Christie set The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and other novels, although the two Americans do not provide the wit, originality and depth she brought to village life. As in the British classics of the 1920s, the authors deal in murder most foul, virtue imperiled, gossip, poison, ancient grudges, revenge, social status, altered identitieseven spiritualism. Like the classic authors, they avoid profanity and sex, and keep most violence offstage. Perhaps the greatest difference is that Christie, writing immediately after the Great War, used the foibles of Inspector Poirot and Miss Marple to help her readers forget its horrors, while these writers, with the added grief of nearly another century of war, are quite willing to remind us of its realities. A Long Shadow is not an outstanding novel, but it is readable, serious, admirably haunted.
The Washington Post
Set in 1919, Todd's excellent eighth psychological whodunit to feature the insightful but haunted Insp. Ian Rutledge picks up shortly after the harrowing events chronicled in A Cold Treachery (2005). Rutledge travels to the remote and desolate English village of Dudlington after the town constable is shot in the back with an arrow while exploring a forest shunned by the locals. The inspector suspects a connection between the attack and the disappearance of a young girl, but he finds himself in an unfamiliar role when an unknown stalker targets him, leaving ominous clues that indicate that he's vulnerable at all times. Rutledge's fragile psyche comes in for additional battering from an enigmatic woman who claims to be able to contact the dead. Todd's plotting and characterization are, as usual, first-rate, and the tormented motivations behind the novel's dark acts are presented with a sensitivity and refinement reminiscent of the best of P.D. James. The ambiguous ending will leave both longtime fans and new readers anxiously awaiting the sequel. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Scotland Yard Inspector Rutledge, a World War I victim of shell shock, is haunted by those he had to send out of the trenches to horrible deaths. His survivor's guilt is manifested in Hamish, whom he was forced to execute for refusing to fight, and whose ghost is his constant companion, always ready to chide, warn, and offer mocking opinions about the task at hand. The eighth in this acclaimed series finds Rutledge in an isolated rural village north of London, charged with bringing to justice the criminal who has gravely wounded its constable, sending an arrow through his chest while he was investigating a murder. And someone is hunting the inspector himself, leaving engraved cartridge casings behind to torment him. Authentic representations of the post-World War I era and an absorbing plot with twists and turns as challenging as the country roads that Rutledge travels make a gripping story. Well-drawn characters and scenes, wry local humor, and plot details steep the mystery in English country life. Frequent scene changes and puzzling dead ends may be a challenge for some teens, but their perseverance will be rewarded.-Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The bow-and-arrow shooting of a Hertfordshire policeman carries Inspector Ian Rutledge (A Cold Treachery, 2005, etc.) back even further in time than his traumatic WWI memories. Everyone in Dudlington had avoided the wood in which Constable Bart Hensley was found. Even Hensley himself, when he regains consciousness, insists that he didn't go into the wood himself; he must have been carried there after he was shot. But Rutledge suspects the motive for the attack lies there. Even though the few locals who will talk to him say it's impossible, he wonders if Emma Mason, who vanished five years ago at 17, is buried in the wood. Hunkering down in Hensley's own house after misanthropic innkeeper Frank Keating refuses to put him up, Rutledge uncovers a sinister pattern in the Mason family. Emma's mother Beatrice, an aspiring painter, escaped Dudlington before the War to live in London, but she disappeared herself in 1906. Yet the body Rutledge eventually discovers in the wood isn't Emma's or Beatrice's; it belongs to a man who was laid to rest nearly 40 years ago. Aided by the ghostly presence of Hamish MacLeod, the world's most unusual Watson, Rutledge pursues the truth despite the villagers' denials, and despite his uneasy certainty that someone has followed him from London determined to kill him. Incisive as ever, though this time Todd's usual slow start is bookended by a conclusion that daringly leaves several loose ends hanging.
Read an Excerpt
A Long Shadow An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
By Charles Todd
William Morrow ISBN: 0-06-078671-X
Chapter One Dudlington, 1919
Constable Hensley walked quietly through Frith's Wood, looking left and right for some sign that others had been here before him. But the wet, matted leaves showed him nothing, and the cold sun, slanting through bare trees, was more primitive than comforting. It would be dark soon enough. The light never lasted this time of year, unlike the gloriously bright evenings of summer, when it seemed to linger as if unaware of dusk creeping toward it.
And one particular summer evening ...
He came to the end of the wood and turned to retrace his steps to the small clearing where he'd left his bicycle.
Halfway there, he could have sworn he heard someone moving behind him, a soft step barely audible. But his ears were attuned to the lightest sound.
Wheeling about, he scanned the trees around him, but there was no one to be seen through the tangle of undergrowth and trunks. No one living ...
Imagination, he told himself. Nerves, a small voice in his head countered, and he shivered in spite of himself.
After a moment he went hurrying on, not looking back again until he'd retrieved his bicycle and mounted it. Then he scanned Frith's Wood a final time, wondering how a place so small could appear to be so gloomy and somehow threatening, even in winter.
The Saxons, so it was said, had beheaded men here once, long ago. Taking no prisoners, unwilling to be hindered by captives, they'd come only for booty, and nothing else. Not slaves, not land or farms, just gold or silver or whatever else could be bartered at home. A greedy people, he thought, giving his bicycle a little push to start it forward. Greedy and bloody, by all accounts. But nearly fifteen hundred years later, the name of the wood hadn't changed. And no one cared to set foot there after dark.
He was glad to be out of it.
Yet he could still feel someone watching him, someone on the edge of the wood, someone without substance or reality. Dead men, most likely. Or their ghosts.
He didn't look again until he'd reached the main road. Out of the fields, away from the wood, he felt safer. Now he could pedal back the way he'd come, make the turning at The Oaks, and sweep down into Dudlington. Anyone seeing him would think he'd been at the pub, or sent for from Letherington. He'd been clever, covering his tracks. It made sense to plan ahead and not go rushing about. If he had to go there.
Of course a really clever man, he told himself, would stay away altogether.
The way behind him was still empty.
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