Legacy of the Dead (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries)

Written by Charles Todd
Review by Wendy Zollo

Suspenseful, intriguing, absorbing, compelling: all can be used to describe Legacy of the Dead, the third in the series of Inspector Rutledge novels by Charles Todd.

Todd seduces his readers with Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge’s quiet charm and probing mind, as he investigates the murder of a young woman in the glens of Scotland. An inquiry that will also delve into the despair of Rutledge’s recent past.

Rutledge, on his first assignment following his return from the battlefields of France in the aftermath of World War One, is faced with confronting his own demons as well, when he discovers the accused is someone to whom he feels he owes a terrible debt.

This novel tells a forceful tale abounding with twists and disturbing characters. The addition of Rutledge’s ‘ghostly’ conscience is a delightful pivot on which the plot spins. Todd keeps the reader entranced with a thoroughly developed conspiracy and splendidly defined characters. The suspense is tightly woven, keeping the reader speculating till the very last chapter. Here, Todd’s coils of figures sharply come into focus when the truth is uncovered and personalities are shattered.

Legacy of the Dead is a daunting mystery-thriller of the old school. It never sputters or drags, but pushes forward in a most compellingly calculated manner. Todd has created a novel so finely wrought with suspense it’s practically impossible to put down before reaching its disturbing, masterful conclusion.