A Long Shadow

Written by Charles Todd
Review by Ellen Keith

Eighth in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, this installment finds the Scotland Yard inspector (and veteran of the Great War) in the village of Dudlington in 1920 investigating the bow-and-arrow shooting of the village constable and re-opening old wounds by questioning if this case is connected to the disappearance of a local girl three years ago. Not only is Rutledge less than welcome as an outsider but he is also being stalked by someone who leaves him elaborately inscribed cartridge casings. Heretofore, his most vivid reminder of the war had come from his own conscience, in the voice of Hamish, a Scottish soldier whose execution for desertion he had ordered. Now he must contend with another’s idea of the punishment he deserves.

As this is now Routledge’s eighth appearance, it is also Hamish’s eighth appearance and although a voice distinct from Routledge’s, it is impossible to imagine them apart. Although serving as Routledge’s tormentor, he is also his protector. A new character, a medium, is introduced, and she proves to be compelling enough that I hope for her reappearance in future books. The mystery itself involves that age-old British issue, class, with a bit of a twist. Todd (a mother-son writing team) has provided another reason to hope for a ninth in the series.