Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (January 21, 2014)
In the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, Inspector Ian Rutledge is summoned to the quiet, isolated Fen country to solve a series of seemingly unconnected murders before the killer strikes again.
August 1920. A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire becomes a crime scene when a guest is shot just as the bride arrives. Two weeks later, after a fruitless search for clues, the local police are forced to call in Scotland Yard. But not before there is another shooting in a village close by. This second murder has a witness; the only problem is that her description of the killer is so horrific it’s unbelievable. Badgered by the police, she quickly recants her story.
Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge can find no connection between the two deaths. One victim was an Army officer, the other a solicitor standing for Parliament; their paths have never crossed. What links these two murders? Is it something from the past? Or is it only in the mind of a clever killer?
Then the case reminds Rutledge of a legendary assassin whispered about during the war. His own dark memories come back to haunt him as he hunts for the missing connection—and yet, when he finds it, it isn’t as simple as he’d expected. He must put his trust in the devil in order to find the elusive and shocking answer.
Buy, read, and discuss Hunting Shadows
Charles Todd is the author of the Bess Crawford mysteries, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.
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I love a good mystery, and this book was exactly what I needed on a cold, drizzly, Texas winter day. The opening, with a man planning a revenge-based murder, was chilling, and the next chapter with the actual murder taking place during a wedding had all the chaos and confusion you’d expect, plus the twist of the (possible) killer walking through the scene without anyone taking real note. (This is not a spoiler for the whodunnit part of the story.)
As the novel opened up, and we met Inspector Ian Rutledge, I felt like I was being plunged into one of those oh-so-atmospheric British novels I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. The action was well paced, taking time to appreciate the heavy mist or a well-earned meat pie without getting too bogged down by extraneous detail. The characters seemed appropriate for the period (the 20s) and the piece, and there were some lovely bits of all-too-human comedy to balance the darkness inherent in a murder mystery.
What took Hunting Shadows to a whole new level for me, though, is Rutledge’s ongoing battle with what, today, would be called PTSD. Burdened with guilt over the death of a war buddy, he still hears his friend’s voice from time to time. That layer of storytelling added a lot to Rutledge’s character, but it also made the whole book have a deeper resonance. We forget, sometimes, what war does to even the brightest, most stable people, and how those experiences shape our whole lives.
If you love a classic mystery-thriller with lush descriptions, believable characters, and a compelling story, you will, as I did, love Hunting Shadows.
Goes well with a pint of stout and a fresh-from-the-oven meat pie.
Tuesday, January 6th: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, January 7th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, January 19th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, February 5th: Luxury Reading
Friday, February 6th: Bibliotica
Monday, February 9th: Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, February 11th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, February 18th: The Discerning Reader
TBD: Fuelled by Fiction