A Test of Wills

A Test of Wills

Book - 2011
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The Great War has been won—but victory has its price. In 1914, Ian Rutledge left a brilliant career at Scotland Yard to fight in the Great War. Now, in 1919, he is back, burdened with a heavy secret: he is still suffering from shell shock. With him almost constantly is the cynical, taunting voice of the young Scots soldier he was forced to have executed on the battlefield for refusing to fight. In a desperate gamble to salvage his sanity, Rutledge takes up his duties at Scotland Yard. But a colleague, jealous of Rutledge's pre-war successes, has learned his secret and maneuvers to have him assigned to a case that promises to spell disaster no matter what the outcome. In a Warwickshire village, a popular retired military officer has been murdered, and the chief suspect is, unhappily for the Inspector, a much-decorated war hero and a friend of the Prince of Wales. Rutledge, fighting his malady and the tormentor in his head (the personification of his own doubts and guilt), doggedly goes about his investigation. He digs into the lives of the villagers: the victim's ward, a young woman now engaged to the chief suspect; a local artist shunned because of her love for a German prisoner; the reclusive cousins whose cottage adjoins the dead man's estate. But the witness who might be able to tell him the most is a war-ravaged ex-soldier who chills Rutledge with the realization that if he loses control of himself, he could become this man.
Publisher: New York : Harper, 2011
ISBN: 9780062091611
Characteristics: 305 p. ; 21 cm


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Sep 24, 2020

OMG! So good! This was my first foray into WWI themed fiction and it was spell-binding. The descriptions of trench warfare and the wartime experiences are harrowing and give the reader insight into what the troops in the trenches and on the battlefields faced. The Rutledge character is very well drawn and we feel his anguish and his longing to try and recover who he used to be prior to his wartime experiences. As to the plot, I did not see the plot twist coming at all, and had to re-read to make sure I understood things correctly. Kudos!

Jun 26, 2017

The detective is a likable character, struggling on while dealing with PTSD. The ending was a little abrupt and confusing, though.

Jun 24, 2017

Good mystery book about post WWI Britain. First in the series by Todd (actually a mother and son team of writers). Very convoluted and hard to figure out who done it? until the last few pages. There are many, many books in the Ian Rutledge series but it will be a long time before I read more.

This is a must read to have some back ground on subsequent Rutledge crime mystery. Nice twist of plot and good insight into PTSD after WWI without being too graphic. Quick read.

Feb 27, 2014

Set just after WWI, this is the story of Ian Rutledge re-entering his job as detective with Scotland Yard, all the while struggling with PTSD in the form of Hamish MacLeod, a dead soldier still living in Rutledge's conscience and supplying acid comments from time to time. The mystery revolves around the death of Colonel Harris and the investigation proceeds very much like you would expect an English mystery to do. I found the ending a little hard to believe, based on how the characters had been presented earlier on. However, it was a tidy ending. If you want a quick easy read whose solution might not come to you before the middle of the book, then this could be for you.

This is a must read for anyone who is interested in the Rutledge series. We discover the background of the man, a WWII hero who is haunted by the official definition of cowardice in war time. His professional career is dogged by jealous colleagues who set him up for failure. Great insight into the struggle for men to get back to 'normal' after the horrors of war and still find the bad guy in the small English village.

Sept 20 ordered

Dec 20, 2001

Ian Rutledge has come home from World War I alive. And he has brought a friend. Or is he a foe? For inside Rutledge''s head lives the executed Hamish MacLeod who dogs his every step and questions his every move. This makes Inspector Rutledge''s return to work at Scotland Yard very difficult. The unfortuante thing is that once he and Hamish were friends until Rutledge had to execute Hamish on the battlefield. Sent out to investigate a complicated murder case by a suspicious and masochistic boss, Rutledge will have to use Hamish''s voice and his own detecting skills to solve the first case in the series by author Charles Todd.


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