Monday, July 24, 2017

LEGACY OF THE DEAD by Charles Todd






Charles Todd’s Legacy of the Dead is an important book in the Ian Rutledge series.

Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge ends up in Scotland investigating murder charges against a young woman who has a special connection to him.

Rutledge gets there in a roundabout way.  His arch enemy Superintendent Bowles sends him to visit an elderly aristocratic woman who was the mistress of a king. The lady’s daughter is missing. She wants to know if her daughter is dead.

Scottish authorities believe the young woman they have in custody killed the woman’s daughter and stole her infant. But the evidence is circumstantial. Authorities can’t even definitively identify the bones they believe are hers.

So Rutledge investigates two cases. He seeks to identify the bones. And he horns in on the local case by trying to prove the accused woman innocent.

As always, Hamish, the haunting voice in his head, accompanies him. This part of Scotland is Hamish’s old stomping ground. Even the places Rutledge visits remind Rutledge of the most terrible day of his life.

The fully described setting is not far from the home of Rutledge’s Godfather who holds a special place in Rutledge’s heart.

All these people and places play into the story.  Rutledge is worse for the wear when the story comes to its crashing conclusion. And he has used skills learned from his Scottish soldiers, most of whom are now long dead, interred in unidentified graves on a World War I battlefield.

As with all the Rutledge books so far, the war and its aftermath play a huge part.

Despite the attempt of local authorities to solve their crime by accusing an outsider, Rutledge does as almost always. He proves how local the crime was.

If you love historical mysteries, you should try the Ian Rutledge books. Start at the beginning and read from there. Then when you get to Legacy of the Dead, you’ll see how central it is to the whole saga.

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I checked out this book from our local library as a Kindle book. Your library might offer such e-book services too. 

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