A Fatal Lie by Charles Todd

Murder and A Missing Girl in Post-World War I England

The bestselling mother-son writing duo known as Charles Todd takes readers back to 1921 England in A FATAL LIE, book 23 of their gritty police procedural series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge.

Scotland Yard gives Rutledge an assignment that could just as well have been on the moon. It’s clear his supervisor is punishing him, sending him to a rural area in Wales to investigate a mysterious death. At first glance, it seems an accidental drowning. But Rutledge is an expert at deciphering clues that others miss.

A local boy had found the man floating in the river, his body damaged beyond recognition. The only evidence of who he is are the partial remnants of a tattoo and an unusual marking in the victim’s shirt. But that’s enough to lead Rutledge to the man’s identity. He also discovers the man’s young daughter disappeared a year before.

Rutledge uncovers clue upon detail upon clue which lead him in different directions, traveling back and forth between cities and towns in western England and Wales. Sometimes he’s traveling in a circle, not sure what to make of the facts that have the most tenuous of connections, the plot more twisty-turny than the country roads Rutledge travels. Can he discover what happened to the young girl and who killed her father? Is the same person responsible?

Todd skillfully weaves PTSD into the story—Rutledge believes his mate Hamish, who he killed while they were fighting at the Somme, is a constant companion. Hamish’s spirit warns him of danger and is Rutledge’s backboard for bouncing ideas back and forth and interpreting clues.

How Todd keeps up with so many intricate plot details and facts is a testament to the author’s keen attention to detail and skill in not only solving riddles, but creating them.

Read the rest of my review and interview with Charles Todd in The Big Thrill.

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