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A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd
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Title: A Cold Treachery (Inspector Rutledge #7)
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 556 (large type edition)
Year: 2005
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Inspector Ian Rutledge has just finished a case and is in the area when help is requested nearby. He is sent to investigate the murder of a family at their kitchen table. No signs of resistance are seen, but one family member is missing. All the men in the small village are mustered to search the cold, desolate area of northern England for the boy. As the days pass, the mission turns from rescue to recovery in the minds of the men. No 10-year-old boy could survive the cold as well as being without food and water. As there are no witnesses, Ian begins methodically questioning other people who knew the victims.
At the hotel where Ian sets up his headquarters, there is a pretty, young woman in a wheelchair that catches Ian’s attention as a man, not an inspector. Nothing romantic happens in this story, but maybe in the next one? Ian is stymied as he has multiple people pointing their fingers at multiple suspects without any hard evidence of guilt. If only the boy were around, maybe he saw something! As time passes, the local chief constable becomes more and more unhappy with Inspector Rutledge and his lack of results. Can Ian find the guilty party before he is replaced? Who could commit such a heinous crime?
There was a great twist at the end of the story that I didn’t see coming! There is lots of tension mounting throughout the story. I did think that the search for the little boy went on too long and that his fate should have been revealed sooner. The internal conversations that take place between Ian and Hamish I find so very interesting. They add so much depth to the character of Ian and to the overall story. This is still a very good mystery and definitely worth reading. I am thoroughly enjoying this series and can’t wait to read book eight next!
My rating is 4 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 | May 28, 2014 |
Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge is by far the most entertaining of any mystery series I'm reading. The character development is top notch. The stories are captive to the final page ( )
  ScottKalas | Jun 10, 2013 |
I've been reading the Inspector Rutledge series since its inception and always enjoy a new one. What I remember best about this one (five years later) is the setting -- a hard Northern England winter. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
I do so wish that "Charles Todd" would knock it off with the sentence fragments trailing dots . . . ( )
  jzdro | Jan 3, 2013 |
Reading Frances Brody's second Kate Shackleton novel prompted me to return to the Inspector Rutledge mysteries by Charles Todd, as both are set just after the First World War. I still enjoy these detective stories, but there is definitely a formula, as with all enduring series - for once, I would like Inspector Rutledge to visit a town or a city (the case in Preston referred to in this story would have been interesting), to challenge or simply escape the village mentality of the rural crime scenes he is constantly being dispatched to!

'December 1919. The North of England'

Although Old Bowels is slightly more reluctant to send Rutledge this time, considering the success rate of his recent investigations (see novels 1-6!), the haunted Inspector is already on scene in 'The North' when the Yard is called in to investigate a mass murder in the Lakes. The Elcotts, a farming family with four young children, are found shot to death in their isolated farmhouse in the middle of a blizzard. The small valley community is shocked, with no clues to explain the brutality or identify the murderer - unless they can find 10 year old Josh Robinson, who has somehow escaped his family's fate. Search parties are sent out into the bleak, snow-covered fells of the surrounding landscape, but by the time Rutledge arrives, hope of finding the boy alive is dwindling. Without a witness to the crime, the Inspector must rely on the motives of those closest to the family, including an ex-husband, a jealous brother, and a sister looking for someone to blame. 'Greed. Jealousy. Revenge. The land - the lover - the wife ...' The more Rutledge delves into secret lives, the more like a soap opera the story becomes!

The murderer is fairly obvious after the first few chapters, I have to say, but I enjoyed watching Rutledge gather the clues and struggle with his temper all the same. And despite Todd's frequent stereotypical references to 'the North' and its Bronte-esque inhabitants (those who aren't on the lam from London, anyway), the wintry weather and harsh scenery of the mountains contribute a dark and oppressive atmosphere to the story. Evocative and exciting. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Oct 15, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Traditional mystery lovers who prefer their whodunits enriched with psychological insight will heartily embrace Todd's seventh Inspector Rutledge novel (after 2002's A Fearsome Doubt )...As with its predecessors, this novel is imbued with tragic sadness, and Rutledge's struggle with his own demons serves as a moving counterpoint to the searing pain of other characters trapped by circumstances or emotions beyond their control. Perhaps this superb effort will bring Todd an audience to match the deserved critical acclaim he has received.
added by mysterymax | editPublisher's Review (Dec 6, 2004)
 
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For Cassandra,

who appears here as Sybil...

1990-2003

And for Biedermann,

who always believed he was one of us...

1989-2004

Good night, dear friends.
First words
The North of England
December 1919

He ran through the snow, face into the swirling wind, feet pounding deep trenches into the accumulating drifts.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553586610, Mass Market Paperback)

Integral to most crime tales is the unearthing of concealed and unfavorable facts about suspected malefactors. But the mother-son duo who write under the nom de plume "Charles Todd" are particularly adept, in their historical novels featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, at exploiting painful secrets as tools in developing both character and plot. It's rare, in a Todd tale, that even the innocent should escape unscathed. The authors demonstrate their skills once more in A Cold Treachery, which sends the shell-shocked and lonely Rutledge to probe the winter massacre of a sheep-farming family in northern England, at the same time as he searches for the missing and only witness to that chilling savagery.

"It was beyond comprehension," we're told of the December 1919 violence, near the rustic Lake District town of Urskdale, that left Gerald and Grace Elcott and three of their progeny shot to death. A fourth child, 10-year-old Josh Robinson, is nowhere to be found. He's thought to have fled from the scene, only to have perished in a recent blizzard. Coming off the grim proceedings recalled in A Fearsome Doubt, Rutledge--shackled as always to the nattering ghost of Hamish MacLeod, a Scotsman he'd ordered executed on a World War I battlefield--must determine whether the murderer was a passing stranger, or a local who'd previously concealed his or her aptitude for barbarity--and might kill again. Gerald Elcott's less-successful brother, Paul, has ample motive (he’s next in line to inherit their clan's farm), as does Grace's sister, Janet Ashton, who just happens to arrive in Urskdale with a gun in hand (supposedly to protect her sibling from Paul's anger). Yet there's another, more frightening possibility--that Josh, Gerald's stepson, upset by the breakup of his parents, committed these atrocities. Desperate for clues, and with his impatient superior threatening to replace him on this case, Rutledge still can't claim to know who, or what, was behind the carnage.

After their disappointing standalone, The Murder Stone, it's a relief to see the Todd pair return to the "gloomy, defeated and exhausted" postwar England of Ian Rutledge, where no end of dire dramas appear to lurk. Like its half-dozen predecessors, stretching back to A Test of Wills, A Cold Treachery satisfies with its copious period details, characters traumatized by fate and failures, and a bedeviled young protagonist who must solve other people's problems before his own. And even as Hamish seems here to slip further into the background, there's finally the prospect of Rutledge finding companionship of a more corporeal sort. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Called out by Scotland Yard into the teeth of a violent blizzard, Inspector Ian Rutledge finds himself confronted with one of the most savage murders he has ever encountered. Rutledge might have expected such unspeakable carnage on the World War I battlefields, where he'd lost much of his soul - and his sanity - but not in an otherwise peaceful farm kitchen in remote Urskdale." "Someone has murdered the Elcott family at their table without the least sign of struggle. Was the killer someone the young family knew and trusted? When the victims are tallied the local police are in for another shock: One of the Elcott's children, a boy named Josh, is missing." "Now the Inspector must race to uncover a murderer and to save a child before he's silenced by the merciless elements - or the even colder hands of a killer. Haunted and goaded by the soldier-ghost of his own tortured war past, Rutledge will discover the tragedy of war that splintered one marriage - and pulled together another.". "Love, jealousy, greed, revenge - or was it some twisted combination of all of them? Any one could lead a man or woman to murder. What had the Elcotts done to ignite their killer's rage? With time running out, Rutledge knows all too well that such a cold-blooded murderer could be hiding somewhere in the blinding snow...preparing to strike again."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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