A Long Shadow (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #8)

A Long Shadow (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #8)

by Charles Todd

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Overview

A Long Shadow (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #8) by Charles Todd

“Seamless in its storytelling and enthralling in its plotting.”
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Dark and remarkable….Once [Todd] grabs you, there’s no putting the novel down.”
Detroit Free Press

The Winston-Salem Journal declares that, “like P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Charles Todd writes novels that transcend genre.” A Long Shadow proves that statement true beyond the shadow of a doubt. Once again featuring Todd’s extraordinary protagonist, Scotland Yard investigator and shell-shocked World War One veteran, Inspector Ian Rutledge, A Long Shadow immerses readers in the sights and sounds of post-war Great Britain, as the damaged policeman pursues answers to a constable’s slaying and the three-year-old mystery of a young girl’s disappearance in a tiny Northamptonshire village. Read Todd’s A Long Shadow and see why the Washington Post calls the Rutledge crime novels, “one of the best historical series being written today.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061208515
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Series , #8
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 108,031
Product dimensions: 8.02(w) x 5.28(h) x 0.89(d)

About 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. Among the honors accorded to the Ian Rutledge mysteries are the Barry Award and nominations for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s Dilys Award, the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the U.S., and the John Creasey Award in the UK. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

Read an Excerpt

A Long Shadow

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 littlepush 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.

One ghost.

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.

A Long Shadow. Copyright © by Charles Todd. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

ABOUT:

New Year's Eve, 1919. Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge has accompanied his sister to the home of mutual friends for dinner but is called away by work. On the steps outside, he finds a brass cartridge casing that is seemingly identical to the countless others he'd seen during the war he still cannot forget. But this one has an engraving in the metal. Curious, he pockets it. Soon he finds another—in a most unexpected place.

These cartridge casings seem to point to unfinished business involving the war. A man with a dark secret, Rutledge already walks on the edge of sanity. Now someone is hunting him. But who? And will Rutledge live long enough to discover why?

Questions for Discussion

QUESTIONS:

A Long Shadow

1. A Long Shadow deals with two themes, Rutledge's confrontation with a faceless enemy and his sense that digging behind the facts will lead him to a murderer. In Rutledge's place, how would you have dealt with his enemy?

2. Pride stands in the way of several characters and their consciences, sometimes to the point of hurting others and destroying their own lives. Who are examples of this?

3. Mrs. Channing is an enigmatic woman, accustomed to keeping her own secrets. She makes Rutledge uncomfortable but also fascinates him. Do you think she'll come back in the future? Should she?

4. How does the setting impact the story?

The Inspector Ian Rutledge Series by Charles Todd

1. In World War I "shell shock" was considered cowardice, loss of nerve, a disgrace. Today's modern diagnosis is post traumatic stress disorder. How does Rutledge's shell shock and his perception of responses to it affect his behavior and that of others?

2. How important a part in Rutledge's recovery does his fiancée Jean play, and how does her rejection affect his relationship with other women. Does he often find in them something that was lacking in his idealistic memory of Jean?

3. How does the setting affect the characters?

4. The interaction between Chief Superintendent Bowles and Rutledge is based in part on the changing face of Scotland Yard—Bowles is the up-through-the ranks man, while Rutledge represents the new better educated and trained policeman. How strong an influence is a boss in the lives of most people?

5. Murder, according to the authors, is a failure in relationships. Do you think an ordinary person can be driven beyond their ability to endure or cope, and see murder as the only way out?

6. Hamish, whose voice Rutledge hears, is a strong character in his own right. Yet he's seen through Rutledge's eyes. How do you respond to Hamish as a man? What role does Hamish play?

7. Rutledge was rejected by his fiancée Jean. And afterwards he's resisted involvements. Do you feel a love interest for Rutledge is possible?

8. In their books looking back at the Twentieth Century, both Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw referred to World War One as the pivotal event that shaped the rest of the century. How does Rutledge's experience in the trenches shape your view of war?

Customer Reviews

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A Long Shadow: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Onthefly More than 1 year ago
Excellent characters. Fun twists and turns.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my first Charles Todd book, but will not be my last. From the first page you are transported into the years following the Great War. The authors have tapped into the authentic feel of the working class denizens of a small rural village who may know how to keep secrets. A young girl disappears - a policeman is attacked - are the 2 linked? Inspector Rutledge investigates, but he has his own dark secrets, and shadow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Set in the year 1919. Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge spent four years fighting in the Great War. Now he is back to being a dedicated investigator. But it seems that someone has targeted Ian for a game of cat and mouse. Someone follows Ian, leaving brass machine gun cartridge casings, with interesting designs etched upon them, where he is sure to find them. Ian, knowing that his stalker seems to holding his leash, finds his resolve actually shaking. ....................... Ian's investigation of a constable's death makes him the outsider this time around. Locals want nothing to do with him, except for one young lady who claims to be a psychic. ........................... **** This is the eighth Inspector Ian Rutledge novel and probably the best yet, in my opinion. Only the prior novel, 'A Cold Treachery', can come close to claiming the spot as my favorite story within this series. A bit long winded at times, but very good reading. ****
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1919, someone murders the Dudlington constable as he apparently was investigating something in the nearby forest. Still haunted by severe guilt feelings about Corporal Hamish who he ordered executed for insubordination during WW I Rutledge is mentally more unstable than ever on top of battle fatigue syndrome he also poorly copes with his recent investigation into a grisly mass murder (see A COLD TREACHERY). Still his police skills remains superb so he travels to the ends of world to investigate who shot an arrow into the constable¿s back. --- The locals resent the outsider, but Rutledge still learns that a young girl recently vanished. He wonders if the disappearance and the homicide could be linked and seeks the connection. As he continues to dig for clues a woman claiming to be a psychic insists she can help his troubled soul as she asserts she can speak with the dead. Though he has doubts about her skills Rutledge leans towards trying to plead for forgiveness from Hamish. At the same time that the spiritualist has knocked him somewhat off his sleuthing game, an adversary plays cat and mouse with Rutledge, purposely leaving clues that suggest the culprit could kill the inspector at any time. --- This is one of the best most haunting historical mystery series on the market today with the latest entry as powerful as the previous seven tales. Rutledge is an intriguing person struggling alone to deal with the haunting of his soul. The mystery is terrific and the insights into post WW I isolated northern England is insightful and vivid. However, as always it is the psychological look at a veteran unable to deal with what he did and saw during the war that makes Charles R. Todd's dark thriller a winner once again. --- Harriet Klausner
christiguc on LibraryThing 7 days ago
A Long Shadow is the eighth in the Ian Rutledge series by mother/son writing duo Charles Todd. It is the first that I have read.Ian Rutledge is a police inspector from Scotland Yard who has recently returned from fighting in the trenches in France during World War I. While he struggles to recover from the memories and guilt haunting him, he resumes his duty of solving crimes and tries to heal a country that is just as shattered and broken as he is. In this book, he investigates a case in a remote village of a man (the local sheriff) found barely alive, shot in the back with an arrow in the nearby woods thought to be haunted by ancient Saxon ghosts. Looking into the attempted assassination, Rutledge is drawn to an unsolved mystery involving the disappearance of a teenage beauty. While the cases may or may not be related, there are common factors, and in a small town, most events are related. During the investigation of the case, he confronts local prejudice and tries to maintain his sanity in spite of the constant chiding of his ever-present companion Hamish (the ghost of a fellow soldier he had to execute for refusing to fight or the manifestation of his guilt for the lives lost under his command).The book is well-written and the descriptions evocative of a bleak yet slowly recovering country. Before reading the book, I was wary of the fact that one of the main characters is either a ghost or symptom of the detective's imagination; however, the supernatural was not overdone. The writing was done in a manner so that I could understand how his conscience and shell-shocked hallucinations were a reaction to his war experience, and that made his trauma and struggle to recover all the more palpable for me as a reader.The mystery wasn't difficult to figure out, from fairly early in the book. But the story remained interesting and suspenseful not because everyone was a suspect but because there was a question of whether Rutledge would survive / maintain control long enough to solve the case. Starting in London and throughout the investigation, Rutledge's condition is made worse by a stalker who shadows and terrorizes him by leaving tokens demonstrating that Rutledge is vulnerable anywhere at any time.The book is not gruesome--in fact, there is very little description of blood or gore. However, the book left me more emotionally drained than many violent stories do. I want to read another (and plan to do so) but not for a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookLoverCT More than 1 year ago
Since I discovered this author and started with the first in the Ian Rutledge series, I look forward to the next one. I love the insight of Hammish. After I finish this series, I will try his Bess Crawford stories. Hopefully, they will be equally enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This team of mother and son who live in the US certainly have a very good sense of the 1920's in Great Britain. I have read 1-8 and loved every one of them. Superb writing. You would never guess that it is a team effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have, frankly, had enough of Hamish. Rutledge's delusions seem to be getting worse;his silliness about Hamish's "physical"location is growing. Furthermore, the author cannot have it both ways. In several books now, she has had Hamish "look"at things with eyes and senses plainly not those of Rutledge. In one, Hamish comments on something he sees , and only then does Rutledge l "lift his eyes"to look at it. In another, Hamish makes a comment in a vein chatacterized by being "a countryman through and through." Well, plainly this is ridiculous. Hamish has no eyes or senses separate fro Rutledge's. I wish the author would be consistent. If this is a psychological construct, it must have those characteristics, not those of a spirit. And if it is a spirit ... well, that's another kind of book entirely, isn't it?
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Thanks