Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #2)

( 45 )

Overview

Inspector Ian Rutledge is quickly sent to investigate the sudden deaths of three members of the same eminent Cornwall family, but the World War I veteran soon realizes that nothing about this case is routine. Including the identity of one of the dead, a reclusive spinster unmasked as O. A. Manning, whose war poetry helped Rutledge retain his grasp on sanity in the trenches of France. Guided by the voice of Hamish, the Scot he unwillingly executed on the battlefield, Rutledge is driven to uncover the haunting ...

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Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #2)

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Overview

Inspector Ian Rutledge is quickly sent to investigate the sudden deaths of three members of the same eminent Cornwall family, but the World War I veteran soon realizes that nothing about this case is routine. Including the identity of one of the dead, a reclusive spinster unmasked as O. A. Manning, whose war poetry helped Rutledge retain his grasp on sanity in the trenches of France. Guided by the voice of Hamish, the Scot he unwillingly executed on the battlefield, Rutledge is driven to uncover the haunting truths of murder and madness rooted in a family crypt...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard detective haunted by his memories of life in the trenches during World War I, made a memorable debut in last year's A Test of Wills. And he makes a welcome return in Charles Todd's haunting WIngs of Fire as he tries to figure out a Cornwall family's tragic history. Thoughtful and evocative, Todd's tale offers interesting, three-dimensional characters, even though two of them are dead -- the soldier Hamish, whose voice still sounds in Rutledge's head, and the poet Olivia, whose searing verses may hold the clues Rutledge seeks.

—Nancy Pate

From the Publisher
"Fine writing. A spectacular conclusion that rejuvenates the cliche 'It was a dark and stormy night.'"— Washington Post Book World

"A strong mystery, filled with fine characterizations [and] a superb eye for Cornwall...Wise and wily."— The Boston Globe

"[Todd wraps] his challenging plot, complex characters, and subtle psychological insights in thick layers of atmosphere."— The New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a brilliant return after his introduction in A Test of Wills (1996), Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is dispatched to Cornwall to investigate three deathsseemingly a double-suicide and an accidentthat have occurred within weeks in the Trevelyan family. Still recovering from shell shock sustained while serving in France during WWI, Rutledge carries in his head the challenging voice of Hamish MacLeod, a Scottish soldier about whose battlefront death Rutledge experiences profound guilt. In the village of Borcombe, Rutledge learns that one of the apparent suicides, Olivia Marlowe, wrote as O.A. Manning, a poet whose work had uncannily captured both the misery of war and the passion and beauty of love. Olivia Marlowe and her devoted half-brother Nicholas Cheney died of poisoning within hours of each other. Another half-brother, Stephen FitzHugh, the only family member opposed to selling the family estate where Olivia and Nicholas lived, fell down the stairs to his death not long after the funeral. Searching for answers about the deaths and for an understanding of the poet, Rutledge finds himself on a decades-long trail of cleverly disguised murders. Todd's cast is sometimes hard to keep straight, but readers will find it hard to resist following Rutledge on this emotionally intense quest. Memorable characters, subtle plot twists, the evocative seaside setting and descriptions of architecture, the moors and the sea fully reward the attention this novel commands. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Called to Cornwall, Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge (A Test of Wills, LJ 8/96) investigates three suspicious deaths in the same prominent family. First, a crippled woman and her half-brother apparently commit suicide; then, another half-brother dies in an accidental fall. Not only does Rutledge's search expose well-hidden family skeletons and motives for murder, it also provides ample opportunity for input from the inner voice he has heard since returning from the trenches of World War I. Splendid imagery, in-depth characterization, and glimpses of more than one wounded psyche: an excellent historical mystery for all collections.
School Library Journal
YA-England's Cornish coast proves the perfect setting for Todd's second Ian Rutledge novel. Still suffering from the shell shock he experienced in World War I, Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard goes to Cornwall to look into three recent deaths--a double suicide and an apparent accident--all involving members of the same prominent local family. The inspector learns that one of the suicides, crippled and reclusive Olivia Marlowe, was actually O. A. Manning, a celebrated poet whose work so effectively captured the misery and passions of love and war. For Rutledge, Manning's work had been a mainstay in his times of deep emotional distress. Intrigued by this discovery, he then gets further drawn into the lives, past and present, of this very complicated and death-prone family. The atmosphere alone is enough to hold both history buffs and mystery fans. That, plus the finely drawn characters and a captivating plot, result in a book that is hard to put down.-Pamela B. Rearden, Centreville Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Lee Gilmore
Todd's work has been compared to another fine American writer of the English procedural genre, Elizabeth George. To me, he closely resembles Dick Francis in his generous handling of every character who crosses the inexorable path of his tortured hero. Even the dead come vividly to life in Todd's skilled narration.
The Mystery Reader.com
Kirkus Reviews
Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge, still recovering from the ravages of his service in WW I, his thoughts haunted by the ghost of fellow soldier Hamish MacLeod, (A Test of Wills, 1996), is sent by Supt. Bowles to the village of Borcombe in Cornwall. Lady Rachel Ashford, of the influential Trevelyans, has asked for further investigation into the recent double suicide and accidental death within the family. Unearthing background, Rutledge finds that matriarch Rosamund Trevelyan, widowed three times, mother of many children, died of a laudanum overdose. Many years before, she'd suffered the accidental death of eight-year- old Anne, a twin to crippled Olivia, and later, the disappearance—never solved—of five-year-old Richard. Now, the adult Olivia, a respected poet, and her brother Nicholas have been found dead—of laudanum. Days later, their half-brother Stephen, hobbled by war injuries, falls to his death down the staircase at Trevelyan Hall. Meanwhile, Cormac Fitzhugh, son of Rosamund's last husband, wants to buy the Hall from the heirs, a prospect opposed by Stephen. Rutledge, undeterred by protests from the local doctor, police chief, family members, and retainers, tirelessly sorts through fact and legend to reach the truth. But he has more patience than sorely tried readers might as they untangle the snarl of family relationships and slog through an avalanche of high-flown, semimystical verbiage—all augmented by the terser, Scots-accented dialogue between Rutledge and his inner voice. The long-dragged-out solution seems scarcely worth the effort. (Author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312965686
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 119,182
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Todd

Charles Todd lives on America's East Coast, but he knows England well. Intrigued by puzzles in the human spirit, he has completed the next novel in the critically acclaimed Inspector Ian Rutledge series, Search the Dark.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Interesting for history buffs as well as detective story fans.

    Todd has insight into the effects of injury and combat fatigue on soldiers of WWI and their reentry into society in the early part of the 20th century. The story is good and Rutledge's involvement in it is believable without being heavy handed. I'm looking forward to No. 3.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Loved it

    This is a very good book. Read all of this writers work.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Superior mystery - and I do mean MYSTERY

    I was less than impressed with Todd's first Ian Rutledge mystery, primarily because his resolution (and the identity of the killer) came quite literally from nowhere. But Todd seems to have hit his stride with his sophomore entry. Rutledge is still on the outs - to put it mildly - with his superior in Scotland Yard, and is sent by him to fulfill a request made by an influential family in Cornwall. Were a series of recent deaths accidental or suicide? Everyone seems to think that they were one or the other, but the more Rutledge finds out the more he becomes convinced that the truth is quite different - and far more sinister - than what the Yard and the locals believe. Unlike the previous novel, the solution to this mystery is completely logical - but there are a lot of false leads and convolutions that didn't let me guess the truth until very close to the end. Rutledge's "alter ego" - Hamish, the Scotsman he had to have shot for cowardice during World War I, and who now "lives" inside Rutledge's head - is somewhat less annoying than in the first entry in this series, but in his way he assists Rutledge in arriving at the truth. I am definitely looking forward to reading more novels in this series, but I wish that Todd would get rid of Bowles, Rutledge's idiot of a superior officer. The man seems to serve no purpose other than to set up the conditions for Rutledge to travel to the scene of the crime, and his personality is nothing short of a pompous ass.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Much better than the first volume

    A little predictable. Still long winded in conversation. Volume 3 is even better though.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Inspector Rutledge series

    enjoyed all the books I have read in the Inspector Rutledge series - very much

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Intriguing!

    This #2 book about Inspector Rutledge was very intriguing because it had me guessing until the very end of who killed the sister/writer and her brother and a second younger brother. Each clue was placed carefully throughout the book, yet I didn't guess the ending. I never read the ending first, like some readers do. I prefer to work the clues and see if my deduction is what the author intended. It is a pleasure to read of this post WWI time period that has no technology. TV was not invented until the 1940s,so it is not mentioned either. I envision the English countryside as well-described. The book takes me back to a time when people had 'real relationships/people interactions' and worked their gardens as both a hobby and for food production after WWI. A 'must read' for new Charles Todd fans. I have ordered book #3 and plan to read this series. I have read all four of the Bess Crawford books (#5 yet to be released). I know I will enjoy jotting down the Inspector's clues and see if I can 'deduct' his ending as he discovers it also. A great book that was hard to put down! I would recommend this book for a book club discussion group and it is for mystery readers who enjoy intricate details to a plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    Excellent characterization, very obvious murderer

    The writing and characterization merit 5 stars, but the murderer is glaringly obvious very early in the book. So much so that it strains the reader's credulity to believe Rutledge could go so far wrong for such a long time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    BOOK 5 1/2 OR 6: THE LOST TRIBES PART 3 LAST ONE

    IRONWING? "WAIT. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" "Nope," The IronWing smiled. "Wait. Then where do you live?" "Jade Mountain, though now I'm scared. My dad said the mountain would collaspe sooner or later and our kind would be forever lost. Stonemover, I heard is the father of one of the dragonets in the prophecy and protects the secret. You are one of them too, am I right?" "Uh, yea. Sunny is the one you're talking about," he said. I am tired...so I'll do more of these later.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    Only one will remain

    The sky will fall, the ground will shake, the stars burn out, and seasons change, the time will pass, and beauty fade, but all my love(for gems) will remain! ~Nightfury

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Icekit

    The white, fluffy, lone kit wanders in.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Battle cave

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Warriors den

    More then 8 moons or older

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Highly recommend!

    This 2nd Ian Rutledge novel is just as well written as the first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Starpelt to rainstar URGENT!!!!

    Fiercepaw needs your help he broke his leg and cant move!!hes at result one come quick!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    Waxwing

    He nods.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    H

    He smiles one last, regretful smile, then leaves.


    ……=[Featherdust]=……

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Spiritheart

    Sat

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Rnstar

    Yeah. You still on?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    Brightpaw

    Im ready to train

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Jauth

    A golden dragon with razorlike wings. Large and nicely toned legs. Execlent flyer

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews

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