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Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge…

Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge… (edition 2013)

by Charles Todd

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2712141,869 (3.64)22
Title:Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries)
Authors:Charles Todd
Info:William Morrow (2013), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, Charles Todd, Ian Rutledge, British

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Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd



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This is first book in this series that I have read. Apparently, the authors are a mother and son team, and my sense is that, when they started writing this, they weren't even sure where it was going to end up.
A good mystery novel should leave the reader guessing, but, at the same time, be written in a way that reassures the reader that we are getting somewhere. This has way too many characters, some of them with totally unbelievable roles.
There were a number of disjuncts in the plot too. For example, the book starts out with an interesting flashback to 1916, set in Funchal, Madeira. A German submarine starts shelling the town and someone suffers a personal tragedy. One assumes this will all tie in with the main plot set four years later in 1920. However it doesn’t! The flashback has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot of the main novel. In 1920, two young men who run a shipping firm both mysteriously vanish. One of the young men is the main character of the 1916 flashback. But, aside from the fact that this character runs the Funchal side of the business for the firm, there is no connection to the flashback at all. Nothing that happens to the character or the firm during the flashback episode come into the plot. So what was the point?
And at the very end there is just one brief throwaway line that indicates what happened to the original missing man, and the very last sentence of the book could even confuse people about which man is actually being referred to in that previous statement.
However, it was a quick holiday read; and Rutledge was of sufficient of interest that I may well seek out others in the series. ( )
1 vote Jawin | Jun 24, 2015 |
Title: Proof of Guilt (Inspector Ian Rutledge #15)
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 343
Year: 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Publishing
On this case, Inspector Ian Rutledge has more bodies and suspects than he knows what to do with! He initially investigates what appears to be a car accident. A body is found in the middle of the road with signs of being dragged beneath a car. There is no identification on the body and no one steps forward, claiming to have accidentally struck someone on the road in the dark. A few outlying areas send in reports of missing persons, but nothing definitive is determined.
In the meantime, Rutledge is sent to the small villages of Dedham and St. Hilary to try and track down a missing wine merchant. He learns the merchant heads up a very profitable business with a partner in Madeira. As he investigates, he begins to believe the businessman may have been murdered by his partner in Madeira. That is until the partner turns up missing as well! Now what? Ian has missing persons, dead bodies, and former criminals on the premise of being rehabilitated, living on the good will of a naïve lady who may or may not be connected to these two cases. Hamish is as always in Ian’s mind offering comments and criticism, some helpful while others not so much. Rutledge makes up his mind based on the evidence of who is the guilty party, but can find no hard proof. What follows is a race to see if Ian can catch a killer before the killer catches Ian.
Lots of tension and suspense as this story races to its climactic end! There is one question that remained unanswered at the end of the story, but it still was a great ride from beginning to end. I first started this series with book #16, not realizing I was beginning at what at the time was the most current book. I enjoyed that book so much that I decided to start with book one to learn about Ian’s history and what made him tick as a policeman. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, A Fine Summer’s Day, when readers are taken back in Ian’s life to a time before WWI. This will only enrich the character and make him more human and three dimensional. Kudos to the writing team of Charles Todd for another fantastic story!
My rating is 5 stars.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/. Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457 ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Mar 1, 2015 |
This is the one with the family named French that lives in London and Madeira. On several occasions, some of them crucial to the plot, characters do nonsensical things. For our dear Ian, the new boss is as bad as the old boss, although in a different way. The consequences are similar, however, as as they include provision by the (Acting) Chief Superintendent of Scotland Yard of opportunities for Rutledge to take dangerous risks upon himself in order to solve a case despite obstruction by his boss.

This novel was poorly edited. For example, at one point Rutledge parks his car a couple of blocks away, walks to the Rectory, gets out of his car, and approaches the Rector.

Hamish is behaving pretty nicely these days, and good old Frances, kept ever in the dark by the brother who loves her, seems to have found love at last. ( )
  jzdro | Dec 5, 2013 |
See more reviews at Short & Sweet Reviews.

Proof of Guilt is the fifteenth book in the series of Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries; however, like most long-running mystery series, it's possible to jump right in without having much, or any, previous knowledge of the series. That held true for this book for the most part, although there were some confusing aspects and I think I overall would have been more satisfied with it had I been a long-time reader. Rutledge, who fought in WWI, is still living with the after-effects, most of which are easy to understand, save for the occasional voice in his head belonging to a dead soldier named Hamish. This isn't explained at first so I thought I'd missed out on Hamish's introduction; it takes a few mentions of Hamish before the narration explains it. Also, there's very little time given over to physical description of Rutledge or other returning characters, so I spent the entire book not actually having a clear mental picture of the main character -- not a big deal for all readers, but it threw me for a bit of a loop.

That said, Proof of Guilt is a pretty standard crime procedural, with the added bonus fact that it takes place in England in the 1920s. There are a lot of different social habits and rules that had to be observed back then, and it was neat to see those in a mystery rather than a romance. I'm used to modern crime stories, so it was a nice change of pace to read something unfamiliar, even if 2013-me was flailing on the inside because of how different investigative procedures were in the 20s. I did a lot of hand flapping over spoliation of evidence and confidentiality and looking for evidence that fits your theory instead of looking at evidence in an unbiased way.

But, never mind that. This is a book with a lot of twists and turns, and just as Rutledge (and the reader) starts to think that he's got a handle on the crime he's investigating, several more angles pop up to complicate the matter. There are a lot of characters to keep straight, a lot of backstory, a lot of motives. Many characters have similar names, too, which makes it harder to keep up. I could have used a list of characters, like fantasy books have, so I could remember at any given time what role a character played in the story.

The book started off slow, and the first few chapters were a bit of a chore to get through, but the pace definitely picked up by the end. I was left a little unsatisfied by the ending as I felt like all the loose ends were not tied up, but I'm guessing they were left open to be addressed in future books. I'd be interested in going back and checking out earlier books in the series, especially to get more context and background on Rutledge. For being a crime/mystery novel, the book is very clean - there was no bad language that I could recall, no romance/love side plots, and though there are deaths in the book, they are never described in great detail.

Check out the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of this book for yourself! Open to US readers (or international readers who have an address in the US where they can receive mail) only. ( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
How did they solve mysteries before we had the tool kits any good CSI agent had? Without DNA, Google, finger prints and fax machines? When no one was caught on a traffic cam dragging a body behind their car? Well apparently you had super stars like Inspector Ian Rutledge because after his fifteenth case documented in this wonderful mystery and all the evidence pointing in several different directions, including a signed confession, he is still able to catch the bad guy.Identifying one body is difficult enough in early 20th century England. But when it points to another persons disappearance and several other seemingly unrelated deaths? This mystery begins with just one unidentified body and the next thing you know, there is another which seems to be attached to another mystery which spans back generations. Proof of Guilt is a murder mystery set in post WWI England with our veteran Scotland Yard Inspector, Ian Rutledge leading the way and finding out just who really did it!

I adore mystery novels such as these. How I missed this series is beyond me. No. 15, Proof of Guilt, was the first exposure to the Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries. This was presented as a stand-alone however I really would have preferred having the experience and background of reading the prior books. Even if you are an avid reader of pre-scientific crime solving, this one takes paying very close attention. I had to start over again, with a notebook.

There were so many twists and turns I was lost several times. I kept thinking I knew who had done it, especially when I am given the obvious and suspicious freshly dug “flower bed” in the rose garden of a particularly cranky sister of a mysteriously missing man, smack in walks another character, clue or turn in the road and I could not have been more wrong. And than we have the very smarmy to smart for his own shirt former military inspector whose house the dead body, which started this crazy carnival ride, was found in front of.. our first person of interest.. wait than there was each of the fiancés, oh and the missing cousin… oh of course the lawyers, we can always count on the lawyers to be guilty of something right? Did I expect who it was to be who it was? Did I expect any of this? Oh god no I was so confused even with my scratched out list of names, my myriad of charts and arrows and clues .. and chewed on pencils (yes I was doing it old school.) And do not forget the watch, leave it to a bloody high-end time piece to make things go, excuse my stumble into pop-culture, wibbldy-wobbily and than some!

In the end I was un-knotting my fingers and uncrossing my eyes and drooling a bit… in other words I had a blast! I will be making time to read all of the prior 14 before because I believe knowing this inspector is going to be a reason to keep coming back for more.

I recommend this to anyone who likes a big mystery challenge, who thinks they cannot be beat? Oh bring it and try to figure this one out. The clues were there, it is making sure you can “weed” them out to find the answers! ( )
  AKMamma | Nov 25, 2013 |
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For Otto Penzler
and everyone at
The Mysterious Bookshop

For all you've done for the Mystery, for mystery writers,
and for mystery fans everywhere.
Here's to you!
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Funchal Harbor, Madeira
3 December 1916

He couldn't remember, later, what had taken him down to the harbor.
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When the clues in a hit-and-run investigation lead him to two families famous for producing and selling the world's best Madeira wine, Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge is pitted against his new supervisor, who has his own suspect.

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