A Matter of Justice
Morrow, Dec 30 2008, $23.95
In 1920, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is in Scotland attending his friend’s Somerset wedding when his London based superior informs him to go to nearby Cambury to lead a murder investigation. Ian arrives at the affluent Hallowfield estate to find the “squire” former financier Harold Quarels hanging from a harness used to hold the Christmas angel used as part of the holiday gala. He and his inner ghost Hamish MacLeod, whom he had executed during the war, agree that whoever did this murder was extremely angry at the victim.
Constable Padgett who found the corpse is not very helpful and in fact he impedes the inquiry. In spite of the local cop’s hindrance, Ian begins to learn that every villager, estate workers, and even Harold’s wife loathed him and had motives to kill him. Additionally his business partner Davis Penrith and Quarels only recently ended their relationship and several people lost a ton of money due to Quarles's failed African investment strategy. However, Ian and Hamish feel all this just obfuscates the real reason for the homicide; which lies in revenge of multiple murders and theft during the Boer War two decades ago.
The latest Rutledge-MacLeod post WWI police procedural is a strong entry in one of the best anti-war series on the marketplace. Readers ironically know who is behind the murder and why long before Ian figures it out after additional killings occur. Although Hamish seems to behave himself a bit more than usual, fans will relish this excellent historical whodunit as Charles Todd affirms he is no chicken hawk as he once again makes it clear his position that war is only good for the profiteers and politicians.