No Shred of Evidence: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

Written by Charles Todd
Review by Jeanne Greene

In the eighteenth in this fine series, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge to Cornwall to investigate a boating incident in which a young banker was injured and, subsequently, dies. The only witness is a local farmer who claims he saw four young women from good families intent on murdering the man.

Inspector Rutledge is at home in upper-class society. One of the accused is cousin to his former fiancée, a potentially awkward relationship under the circumstances. Mindful of the social chasms between a farmer and a banker’s son and a young woman of impeccable lineage, Rutledge must be careful not to alienate someone who might have information.

Although the social setting is intriguing, the reader is not allowed to forget that the penalty for capital murder is hanging and that the recent war left a legacy of pain. Rutledge is not the only one scarred by wartime experiences. Could another person’s scars lead to murder? Would revenge make up for loss of a loved one? Asking questions requires sensitivity; answering them correctly demands logical analysis. Rutledge’s conduct of the investigation makes fascinating reading.

If this is your first glimpse of Inspector Ian Rutledge, A Fine Summer’s Day (2015) is a prequel to the series. Charles Todd, the pseudonym of a mother-son team, also writes the Bess Crawford mysteries about a World War I nurse. All are highly recommended.