It was just one of those days, so when Wyatt Russell walked into Inspector Ian Rutledge's office at Scotland Yard and confessed to killing his cousin, Justin Fowler, over five years ago, the inspector took the information with a grain of salt.
Since Russell is reluctant to provide any meaningful details and can't even come up with a motive for the alleged crime, Rutledge realizes there's something more going on here. With no corpse and little to act upon, the confessed killer isn't locked up. Then, two weeks, later he is found floating in the Thames with a bullet in his head.
Now it is time to launch a homicide investigation and the first thing Rutledge discovers is that the dead man gave him a false name. Using a locket found around the dead man's neck, the inspector traces the victim back to a remote village in Essex.
The case load expands with additional deaths and the inhabitants of the village are less than forthcoming, which suggests perhaps there are some interesting skeletons hidden away in this little hamlet. Of course, Rutledge
will keep digging until the truth is revealed even though it may shatter the the tranquility of the area.
Set in the 1920s, this is the 14th installment of this long running and popular series. As with its predecessors, the appeal of this novel is not just the plot but also the central character. The terrors of combat in World War I still haunt the inspector and he continues to grapple with the demons it unleashed.
Scotland Yard's best detective, Inspector Ian Rutledge, must solve a dangerous case that reaches far into the past in this superb mystery in the acclaimed series
Declaring he needs to clear his conscience, a dying man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses that he killed his cousin five years earlier during the Great War. When Inspector Ian Rutledge presses for details, the man evades his questions, revealing only that he hails fromÿa village east of London. With little information and no body to open an official inquiry, Rutledge begins to look into the case on his own.
Less than two weeks later, the alleged killer's body is found floating in the Thames, a bullet in the back of his head. Searching for answers, Rutledge discovers that the dead man was not who he claimed to be. What was his real name-and who put a bullet in his head? Were the "confession" and his own death related? Or was there something else in the victim's past that led to his murder?
The inspector's only clue is a gold locket, found around the dead man's neck, that leads back to Essex and an insular village whose occupants will do anything to protect themselves from notoriety. For notoriety brings the curious, and with the curious come change and an unwelcome spotlight on a centuries-old act of evil that even now can damn them all.