Proof of Guilt (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #15)

( 19 )

Overview

Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge must contend with two dangerous enemies in this latest complex mystery in the New York Times bestselling series

London, summer 1920. An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is leading the investigation to uncover what happened. While the signs point to murder, vital questions remain: Who is the victim? And where, exactly, was he killed?

One small clue leads Rutledge to a ...

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Proof of Guilt (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #15)

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Overview

Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge must contend with two dangerous enemies in this latest complex mystery in the New York Times bestselling series

London, summer 1920. An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is leading the investigation to uncover what happened. While the signs point to murder, vital questions remain: Who is the victim? And where, exactly, was he killed?

One small clue leads Rutledge to a firm built by two families, famous for producing and selling the world's best Madeira wine. Lewis French, the current head of the English enterprise, is missing. But is he the dead man? And does either his fiancée or his jilted former lover have anything to do with his disappearance—or possible death? What about his sister? Or the London office clerk? Is Matthew Traynor, French's cousin and partner who heads the Madeira office, somehow involved?

The experienced Rutledge knows that suspicion and circumstantial evidence are not proof of guilt, and he's going to keep digging for answers. But that perseverance will pit him against his supervisor, the new acting chief superintendent. When Rutledge discovers a link to an incident in the French family's past, the superintendent dismisses it, claiming the information isn't vital. He's determined to place the blame on one of French's women despite Rutledge's objections. Alone in a no-man's-land rife with mystery and danger, Rutledge must tread very carefully, for someone has decided that he, too, must die so that cruel justice can take its course.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The mother and son who use the Todd nom de plume continue to impress with their 15th Rutledge mystery (after 2012’s The Confession), coupling a gripping whodunit with their ongoing exploration of the aftereffects of the hell of WWI on the human psyche. In 1920, the Scotland Yard homicide inspector is still haunted by his experiences in the trenches and guilt over shooting one of his men for disobeying an order. Adding to Rutledge’s anxiety is the arrival of a new boss, who sends him to look into a suspicious hit-and-run in London’s Chelsea neighborhood. No witness saw or heard anything. Only a valuable French-made watch in the possession of the unidentified victim gives a clue to his identity. As usual, the authors toss a lot of plot balls in the air and manage to juggle them deftly. Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Inspector Rutledge's 15th investigation concerns a corpse without a name. Although its injuries are consistent with being struck down by a motorcar, the body lying in a quiet street in Chelsea shows signs of having been dragged along, and all identification was removed except for a handsome heirloom watch in a vest pocket. Tracing the origin of the timepiece leads Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge (The Confession, 2012, etc.) to French, French and Traynor, wine merchants: Lewis French, grandson of the founder, inherited the watch after his older brother Michael died in the war. Mr. Lewis French is unavailable to interview. Gooding, the firm's chief clerk, says he's in Essex awaiting the arrival of his partner and cousin Matthew Traynor, who oversees the firm's production of Madeira in Portugal. But is he? His sister hasn't spoken to him recently. Nor has his fiancee, or his former fiancee. Could Lewis be the Chelsea corpse? Could it be Matthew Traynor, who has yet to arrive from Portugal? Rutledge discovers sibling squabbles and a heated encounter decades ago concerning the ownership of the Portuguese vineyards. Following this lead brings him to the doorstep of a Mrs. Bennett, whose husband is missing and whose staff is composed of prisoners and mental patients released to her care, including the manipulative Alfonso Diaz, who looks forward to returning to Portugal to die. When more unidentifiable bodies turn up, Rutledge will have his hands full putting names to them, identifying motives for their deaths and disproving his Acting Chief Superintendent's choice of villains. Sturdily if not elegantly plotted, with the ghost of Hamish, the soldier Rutledge ordered executed in the war, still haranguing him.
New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
"There’s a grand design to Charles Todd’s period novels featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge....elegant mysteries."
Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review.
“There’s a grand design to Charles Todd’s period novels featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge....elegant mysteries.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062015686
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Series , #15
  • Pages: 343
  • Sales rank: 704,603
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Todd

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 in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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(6)

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Sometimes in any criminal case it often appears open and shut. M

    Sometimes in any criminal case it often appears open and shut. Meaning all the clues point to all the right people and it's simply a matter of connecting the proverbial dots to solidify the case. However in some, no matter how simply it looks to solve, but burden of proof may often times prove difficult or in some cases completely misleading. If you love a great mystery with a bit of twist to it and not too easy to solve, than I might suggest Charles Todd's latest novel, Proof of Guilt. This is the 15th book in his Inspector Ian Rutledge series and regardless of where you pick up in this series, they can all be read as a stand alone.

    Ian Rutledge works for Scotland Yard in the 1920's and once again finds himself with a body without any identification. A proper gentlemen's clothing attires the body along with a gold pocket watch. The body appears to have been the unfortunate victim of a car accident, as the body appears to have been dragged to the location is now has been found in. Simple open and shut case right? Or does it merely appear that this is what the murderer wants the body of the man to look like. What is really going on? Who is this well dressed man? Why has his body been found in the street with no apparent markings around him that would show he has been dragged by a car? If he was the victim of a robbery, why does he still carry a gold pocket watch but missing his identification? Why hasn't anyone reported this man missing?

    Ian Rutledge is a bit like your traditional Sherlock Holmes but with a modern flair. He finds himself bucking against the politics of Scotland Yard and his current supervisor while trying to solve this murder. The clues will lead our Inspector into a vast enterprise that begins just as the World War 1 is ending and businesses are still struggling to find a way to make money. It seems some of the wealthy business merchants would like to see this case simply go away and offer very little in the way of help for Inspector Rutledge. But just like Sherlock Holmes, he will not rest until he solves this crime. It truly is another page turner from beginning to end. Go ahead and try to solve this one before the end. Be warned however the evidence doesn't always point to the murderer.

    I received Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins for my honest review. This is my third Inspector Rutledge novel and was super excited to once again lose myself in a mystery and ride along as Dr. Watson, trying to solve the case. In every single instance, you are completely caught off guard by the end, and realize that sometimes that path of clues you think are linked are merely clues to keep you guessing til the end. Another award winning novel in my opinion and a must read for fans of historical murder/mysteries! I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next one to hit the presses.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2013

    I am simply insane for all the Charles Todd books....the Bess Cr

    I am simply insane for all the Charles Todd books....the Bess Crawford, which we would all welcome more of and their stand alone books and tops are the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries. I've read them all and am wondering if it's just me or if there are any other readers who feel it is time to let go of poor old Hamish. In fact, I'm begging that he finally be laid to rest. I am quite confident he is so very tired of, well, becoming tiresome. That is the only reason I gave this latest, wonderful mysterful 4 stars instead of 5.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    3.5/5 Yes, mysteries are one of my favourite genres. But, I on

    3.5/5

    Yes, mysteries are one of my favourite genres. But, I only recently started reading Charles Todd's books - I have become quite fond of the Bess Crawford novels. This newest book, Proof of Guilt, is the latest (#15)entry in the Inspector Rutledge series.

    Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate a body apparently hit and dragged by a car in a well to do neighbourhood. There is no identification on the victim, only a watch. But that watch yields enough clues to determine that the dead man isn't the owner. The rightful owner is the head of a world renowned winery - and he's gone missing.

    Rutledge is plunged into a complicated myriad of suspects, additional missing persons, and more bodies. Things are complicated by his new Acting Chief Superintendent who is determined to 'solve' the case from his desk and seems to thwart many of Rutledge's investigative avenues.

    WWI has ended, but the effects of that conflict still affect the present. Ian Rutledge is carrying around the guilt of a having to shoot a fellow soldier for dereliction of duty during the war. But that soldier hasn't left - Rutledge hears the voice of dead Hamish often - giving him further food for thought in his investigations or warning him of danger.

    " As he turned toward London, Hamish was there, just behind his shoulder, as he always was. Just as they had watched the enemy, night after night at the Front. But now the young Scot was not the trusted corporal intent on keeping men alive and fighting as efficiently as possible. Now he was the voice of guilt and turmoil, the vivid reminder that Rutledge himself was not yet whole."

    I've really come to enjoy reading this time period lately - especially in the mystery vein. What I quite enjoy are the social niceties that must be observed, the tone, the sense of duty and loyalty that are as much a part of the story as the crime. And the crime, although horrific, is never blatantly described in full gory detail. Instead, investigation in undertaken in interviews, inquiries and possible conjectures until the pieces finally fall in place and Rutledge has his 'proof of guilt'.

    I enjoyed Proof of Guilt, but I did find the number of possibilities and characters a bit overwhelming. Late addition clues seemed a tad too precipitous in cases. There was an bit of business not dealt with in the final chapter that I would have liked to seen tied up. All in all, a good read, but I think I prefer Bess's stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Ugh

    Same old, same old. Everyone is against Ian Rutledge, all the time, everywhere. Time to retire the Hamish schtick; it's really getting old. I particularly detest the way the Hamish side of Rutledge gives opinions and information that might have been appropriate from the real Hamish, but not at all from someone who only imagines he hears Hamish in his head. There is no way Rutledge could know some of the stuff "Hamish" comes up with.

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    Couldn't put it down

    It was another spellbinding example of one of Inspector Rutledge's detailed investigations. This had many red herrings and the ending was a surprise to me. I'd recommend this to all readers with an interest in recent English history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Quite interesting, different story happens in the 1920's

    Good story, happening almost a 100 years ago. Not only is it a good story, but it shows how much technology has evolved and how we are dependant today.

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    Clever

    Well plotted, great character development. One of the best in this series.

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  • Posted October 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    How did they solve mysteries before we had the tool kits any goo

    How did they solve mysteries before we had the tool kits any good CSI agent had? Without DNA, Google, finger prints and fax machines? When no one was caught on a traffic cam dragging a body behind their car? Well apparently you had super stars like Inspector Ian Rutledge because after his fifteenth case documented in this wonderful mystery and all the evidence pointing in several different directions, including a signed confession, he is still able to catch the bad guy.Identifying one body is difficult enough in early 20th century England. But when it points to another persons disappearance and several other seemingly unrelated deaths? This mystery begins with just one unidentified body and the next thing you know, there is another which seems to be attached to another mystery which spans back generations. Proof of Guilt is a murder mystery set in post WWI England with our veteran Scotland Yard Inspector, Ian Rutledge leading the way and finding out just who really did it!




    I adore mystery novels such as these. How I missed this series is beyond me. No. 15, Proof of Guilt, was the first exposure to the Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries. This was presented as a stand-alone however I really would have preferred having the experience and background of reading the prior books. Even if you are an avid reader of pre-scientific crime solving, this one takes paying very close attention. I had to start over again, with a notebook.




    There were so many twists and turns I was lost several times. I kept thinking I knew who had done it, especially when I am given the obvious and suspicious freshly dug "flower bed" in the rose garden of a particularly cranky sister of a mysteriously missing man, smack in walks another character, clue or turn in the road and I could not have been more wrong. And than we have the very smarmy to smart for his own shirt former military inspector whose house the dead body, which started this crazy carnival ride, was found in front of.. our first person of interest.. wait than there was each of the fiancés, oh and the missing cousin... oh of course the lawyers, we can always count on the lawyers to be guilty of something right? Did I expect who it was to be who it was? Did I expect any of this? Oh god no I was so confused even with my scratched out list of names, my myriad of charts and arrows and clues .. and chewed on pencils (yes I was doing it old school.) And do not forget the watch, leave it to a bloody high-end time piece to make things go, excuse my stumble into pop-culture, wibbldy-wobbily and than some!




    In the end I was un-knotting my fingers and uncrossing my eyes and drooling a bit... in other words I had a blast! I will be making time to read all of the prior 14 before because I believe knowing this inspector is going to be a reason to keep coming back for more.




    I recommend this to anyone who likes a big mystery challenge, who thinks they cannot be beat? Oh bring it and try to figure this one out. The clues were there, it is making sure you can "weed" them out to find the answers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    The novel ends and I still don't know what happened to Lewis Fre

    The novel ends and I still don't know what happened to Lewis French. He's still missing. Either I'm thick headed or this plot is not "complex" as much as it is incomprehensible!

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The typical Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery is so filled with det

    The typical Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery is so filled with details, as the Scotland Yard policeman ferrets out clues, that often the reader can become confused or engulfed with too much information or too many characters. This novel is no exception. It is a painstaking investigation begun when the body of a man, apparently a hit-and-run victim, is found lying in a London Street.

    A valuable watch is found on the body, linking him to a well-know wine merchant who was reported missing. Has he now been found? Or was the body that of someone else? Rutledge then begins a long, slow investigation, motoring back and forth from London to Dedham, St. Hilary and Sussex in an attempt to discover the facts, while fending off his new boss who is prodding him to accept incorrect conclusions to arrest innocent people. In fact, I found myself wondering whether, after all the miles he puts on his car in this novel, it might be time to trade it in for a new model.

    This mother-and-son writing team has two excellent series going: the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mysteries. They are always enjoyable. This one, however, was overburdened with an iffy premise and too much verbiage. Nevertheless, it is worth reading, and is recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Not as good as previous books.

    This one is not up to their usual high standards. Everyone has off days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Not up to par

    I have always loved the Ian Rutledge books but this one was just not very good. There was very little of Hamish throughout this story which was very disappointing. The plot was messy and not very suspenseful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    Another Great Rutledge

    Really enjoyed the lates Charles Todd Inspector Rutledge. Enjoying the new characters that have been added to the series. Looking forward to their next book. The mother/son team never disappoint.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In the summer of 1920, an unidentified body was found in London.

    In the summer of 1920, an unidentified body was found in London. Scotland Yard believes he was run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is on the case to find out what happened. All signs point to this being a murder but who is the victim? A pocket watch on the body is the only lead.

    Previously, I had read The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd and I thought I’d give this book a try too. Being my first Ian Ruthledge novel, I found it VERY enjoyable. About midway through it, I had already decided that I’m going back to read the other books. Ian is just such a colorful character that you can’t help but connect with him right away. He’s a driving force for the story and not afraid to do what it takes to get things done. The secondary characters are just as interesting and the story either leaves you guessing or just fervently reading because you want to know what happens next and don’t have the slightest clue how the pieces fit. The end left me a bit sad but I’m hoping certain characters return with the next book and that’s why it went down that way. Am I going back to read the others? Absolutely! Am I looking forward to the next book? You bet! I love mysteries that keep me on my toes! Even better if it’s a historical mystery! Kudos to Charles Todd!

    Thank you to Partners in Crime Tours and William Morrow for the review copy. It in no way influenced my review.

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    Posted September 4, 2013

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    Posted February 22, 2013

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    Posted April 18, 2013

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