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Search The Dark (2000)

Search the Dark (2000)
3.98 of 5 Votes: 2
0312971281 (ISBN13: 9780312971281)
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Search The Dark (2000)
Search The Dark (2000)

About book: Search the Dark is the third in author Charles Todd's excellent Inspector Ian Rutledge series, and, in my view, it is the best so far. Several other entries have followed this one and I will be interested to read them later to see just where the series goes. But not for a while, I think. After reading the first three books in quick succession in a matter of weeks, it's time for me to move on to something else. First, though, let me tell you about this book.Inspector Rutledge suffered terribly in the trenches in France in World War I and he is still suffering some years later once he has returned home, recovered physically, and returned to his job at Scotland Yard. He carries with him the psyche and the voice of a young Scotsman whom he had to have executed for insubordination in the war. Hamish is his alter ego and conscience. He carries, also, the memories of all that he saw and experienced. He is an introverted and complicated man.His superior at Scotland Yard is envious of the inspector's skills as a detective and he takes the opportunity to send him out of town on cases whenever he can. This time he sends him to Dorset where a young woman has been battered to death and two young children are allegedly missing. The local coppers have latched onto an outsider, another tortured veteran of the trenches, as the murderer and have clapped him into a claustrophobic jail cell. Rutledge is sent to find the "missing" children.Almost immediately upon arriving, the investigation and its findings do not smell right to Rutledge. He is an intuitive detective and his intuition is screaming that they've got it wrong. As he gets to know the locals and meets the man they have arrested, he becomes even more convinced.The suspect is Bert Mowbray, an out-of-work, out-of-luck veteran who was on a train on his way to look for a job. Looking out the train window at one of the stations they pass through, he sees a woman and two children along with a man. He is convinced that the woman is his wife and the children are his son and daughter. But this is impossible because all three were killed in the bombing of London. He had been brought back from the front to attend their funeral years before. Nevertheless, he is sure that they are alive and that he's seen them. He creates a disturbance, trying to get the train to stop so he can get off. Eventually, he is put off at the next stop and he heads back to where he saw his "family."He makes himself a nuisance around the village seeking the woman and children and he is heard uttering threats against his wife. When a young woman matching his wife's description is found battered to death on the edge of the field, the local police look no further. They lock up the outsider.The question is, if the woman is dead, where are the children? Were they killed also? Are they out there somewhere alone and frightened? Have they been safely hidden? Rutledge must find out.In pursuing his investigation, Rutledge finds that Bert Mowbray is not the only outsider who is despised and suspected by the villagers. The son of the most prominent family in the area came home from the war with a beautiful French bride, Aurore. She is hated by the local women who are sure that her sole aim in life is to take their men. In exploring the village's relationship with Aurore, Todd is able to say quite a lot about blind prejudice and its corrosive effects.This is a complicated tale with many twists and turns and red herrings along the way, but it is deftly plotted, and the clues are there in plain view. The solution to the mystery, or mysteries, is available for the clever reader to find. These are dark stories which delve deep into the psychological pain of the characters, but the character of Ian Rutledge is one with whom we empathize and whom we hope to see prosper. When he solves another complicated mystery, we share in his triumph, and we look forward to the next adventure.

In the third Inspector Ian Rutledge novel the author(s)--a mother and son team writing under the name Charles Todd--continue to examine the effects of World War I on British society. A grief stricken veteran named Mowbray is arrested for the murder of a woman whom he believes is his wife who deserted him while he was away at war. The evidence seems incontrovertible that Mowbray is guilty until it appears the victim wasn't his wife at all. Did Mowbray kill another woman, a victim of mis-identification? Or is he innocent of any crime at all?Rutledge is sent to put the case to rest. However, what appears to be a simple case is not. As the identity of the victim points to another perpetrator, Rutledge begins to uncover facts that broadens the list of suspects all the way to the highest political circles in London.Particularly fascinating is the manner in which the effects of the war on women who waited for their men to return from the trenches is explored. The men who returned from the war, who were able to survive, are not the same personalities their wives and lovers knew before they went to the war to end all wars. Here are women who shrink in terror from the gentle men whom they once loved. Here are the mothers unable to accept that their sons will never take their place in society, able to lead the life any mother hopes for a child. And here are the women who have lost their betroth-eds to the women of France, young women who are unable to find any suitable relationship because an almost complete generation of young men will never return home.Todd continues to write a series of novels that amount to much more than the typical English country mystery. Here you will find adroit handling of lives shattered by shell shock and survivor guilt and an entire society recovering from the incomprehensible grief endured by multiple generations. You will find few individuals untouched by "the great war."Rutledge continues to observe his duty to be a voice for the victim, a speaker for the dead. In carrying out his duty Rutledge pursues the truth no matter the direction in which it points. That is just one more reason to delve into the writing of this engaging writing partnership of mother and son. From the mud of the trenches in France to the highest levels of British society, these authors know their history, on both a military and cultural level with a grasp of what we know today as the effects of post traumatic stress syndrome.
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Lynne Tull
I don't think this book was as good as the first two books. I thought the mystery was too far fetched. The characters were not engaging in any way. I really like Ian Rutledge, but not this case. Again I figured it out somewhere along the way, but was not too sure. I never did get a sense of how he figured it out. He just wrapped it up quickly without too much explanation and that was the end of it. I wanted to hear more about what happened to Rutledge and the other characters after all was said and done. I am hoping that the next installment will give me some clue, but not depending on it.
Terry Lee
Finished this book last night. It's the third book in the Ian Rutledge series. The character remains the same - a strong character still fighting his demons from the war. This mystery involves a man wrongly accused of murder and residents of Dorset who could easily be the real murderer. Like the first two books, Inspector Rutledge has a feeling about the accused and through his involvement with the residents and the twists and turns of their stories, he finally is able to arrest the right person.I can't wait to start the fourth book.
I came across this book by accident, hiding on my shelf and opened it to scan the first page; later that day I closed the cover and sat back feeling I have used my time wisely.The main protagonist in this book and all the other in this series is a Scotland Yard policeman. Newly returned from the Great War, he has his own personal demons to deal with as well as helping those who are also dealing with their demons from fighting in this war. Add to that the stress of trying to find the criminals, and it could make for a very unstable and highly strung character but the Author manages to avoid this wonderfully. Instead he uses this character as a vehicle to bring the reader’s attention to the unseen horrors that many carried with them when they returned home. This character is vulnerable, unsure whilst at the same time being very capable of doing his job and bringing the wrongdoer to justice. I felt for this character as I don’t usually do in a cozy mystery, and wished there was some way I could help him find peace in his life. In this one character the Author managed not only to show the inner turmoil of those who returned from the fighting, but he also shows in the other people he encounters in his enquiries the change in society that had taken place while he was away. These range from total indifference to the way these returnees were feeling and going through, to those who wanted to cosset them and keep them wrapped up from the hurts that may come their way in everyday and finally to the group of people who refused to believe that, mentally, their loved ones would never return to normal. This book is not loaded down with a bunch of secondary characters which helps the book move along at a steady clip and keeps the reader on track to the end.What an end it was. This is the kind of book I love. I thought I had spotted the bad guy, then no it took a twist, and another, then another until the end I had no idea who the real criminal was, and when the reveal came I was blown away as I never thought it was this person. Add to this the feeling of flying down country roads in a little old car when horses and carriages were still in good use, and it all combines to the kind of book that I just couldn’t put down.I highly recommend this book to lovers of cozy mysteries, and those who enjoy a great read that will keep you guessing until the end. I will definitely be reading more in this series.Originally reviewed on: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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