The Gate Keeper
1920: Late one December night, after dancing at his sister’s nuptials and then running from his ever-present personal demons, Ian Rutledge encounters murder in the middle of a quiet country lane–a stopped car, a body, and a young woman covered in blood. The victim, Stephen Wentworth, was a gentle and well-liked bookseller with no known enemies. The woman insists the killer approached Stephen on the lonely road, shot him point-blank, and vanished, leaving no trace. Rutledge investigates the case, but he finds few leads in the small village of Wolf Pit, and Stephen’s family provides scant help. A second murder occurs, also with no discernible motive, and Rutledge realizes he must search more deeply to find the killer.
The Ian Rutledge series, with its intriguing main character, has always been a favorite of mine. This mystery is one of the finest in the series. Rutledge’s investigations take him up one dead end after another, and the resolution of the case is unexpected and satisfying. The complex characterization of the victim, his family, and other players add to the pleasure of this finely plotted mystery. One of the best I have read by Charles Todd—very highly recommended!