A Matter of Justice

Written by Charles Todd
Review by Ellen Keith

When a mystery series gets into the double digits, I grow concerned that the plot and character development become rote, that the author has nothing new to say but a publisher’s contract demands the series continues. I am happy to say that this is decidedly not the case in A Matter of Justice, the eleventh in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, co-written by a mother and son. Yes, Rutledge continues to be haunted by Hamish, a soldier whose execution he ordered in the Great War. However, that aspect of Rutledge’s life takes a back seat in this outing as Todd explores the aftermath of an incident that occurred in the Boer War and the idea that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Rutledge is summoned to Cambury in Somerset, where the part-time squire and full-time London financier is found murdered, strung up in his barn in an angel rig used in the Christmas pageant. The dead man had no shortage of those who wished him dead, including his estranged wife, his erstwhile partner, and any number of villagers. His list of enemies extends even further back into his past as Rutledge discovers. With a denouement that is ambiguous, it may seem odd to describe this book as satisfying but satisfying it is. The author is by no means finished with Rutledge’s story. I’m now quite intrigued by Rutledge’s tentative friendship with Meredith Channing!