Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge finds himself caught in a twisted web of vengeance, old grievances, and secrets that lead back to World War I in the 19th installment of the acclaimed best-selling series.
On the eve of the bloody Battle of the Somme, a group of English officers having a last drink before returning to the front make a promise to each other: if they survive the battle ahead - and make it through the war - they will meet in Paris a year after the fighting ends. They will celebrate their good fortune by racing motorcars they beg, borrow, or own from Paris to Nice.
In November 1919, the officers all meet as planned, and though their motorcars are not designed for racing, they set out for Nice. But a serious mishap mars the reunion. In the mountains just north of their destination, two vehicles are nearly run off the road, and one man is badly injured. No one knows - or will admit to knowing - which driver was at the wheel of the rogue motorcar.
Back in England one year later, during a heavy rainstorm, a driver loses control on a twisting road and is killed in the crash. Was it an accident due to the hazardous conditions? Or premeditated murder? Is the crash connected in some way to the unfortunate events in the mountains above Nice the year before? The dead driver wasn't in France - although the motorcar he drove was. If it was foul play, was it a case of mistaken identity? Or was the dead man the intended victim after all?
Investigating this perplexing case, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge discovers that the truth is elusive - and that the villages on the South Downs, where the accident happened, are adept at keeping secrets, frustrating his search. Determined to remain in the shadows, this faceless killer is willing to strike again to stop Rutledge from finding him. This time, the victim he chooses is a child, and it will take all of Rutledge's skill to stop him before an innocent young life is sacrificed.
©2017 Charles Todd (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers
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"A wonderful historical mystery!"
Charles Todd is the pen name for mother and son writing team Christine and Charles Todd. All Charles Todd books are coauthored.
Racing the Devil is the 19th novel in the Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery series. Rutledge is with Scotland Yard. The novels in the series are set in post WWI in various towns all around England. This book is a murder mystery set in 1919. This is only my fifth novel in this series and all have been solid 5 star mysteries. Simon Prebble is one of the best narrators in the world. His performance is flawless.
Charles Todd has done it again, with another great Ian Rutledge mystery, having equally good narration by Simon Prebble. The Ian Rutledge books are one of my favorite series of all times, and this episode does not disappoint.
This is a complex story that begins in France during the First World War, where a group of frightened soldiers make a promise to each other on the eve of a particularly bloody battle, to meet up with their motor cars in one year if they all survive. When that reunion occurs, there begins a series of attempted murder, then murders, which move from France to England, where Scotland Yard (represented by Rutledge) is sent in to investigate.
These stories are best read from the beginning of the series for good context of the characters, especially the complicated Rutledge, who carries the internalized presence of a man he was painfully involved with when he, himself, fought in the war--as something like a form of PTSD. This presence is a man who was called Hamish in life, and he lingers in Rutledge's mind in a haunting way. It has been interesting to observe the evolution of the Hamish presence over the years. Earlier on, he seemed a bit overdone--even though it contributed well to the stories. I felt that the Todds (a creative mother-son writing team) got Hamish just about perfectly woven into this book. His effect is a bit lower key, and I think it worked well.
I love the pace of the Ian Rutledge books. They are solidly good, interesting police procedurals (taking place a century ago), with greater than average uses of psychology and history. The characters are always well-drawn, and it is rare that I can figure out the mystery in advance. These are books to settle in with, as Rutledge (or the stories in which he features) tend to unwind themselves with many threads, rather than being fast-paced page turners. Very satisfying to read or listen to. Highly recommend!
"Todd Has Done It Again!"
Another fantastic book in the Ian Rutledge series! And the narration by Mr. Prebble was excellent. His often times brooding voice totally captures Rutledge. His range of female voices of course is not as good as the male ones but that does not detract. The story was gripping from beginning to end! If you haven't read or listened to the Ian Rutledge series, you have missed out!!!
"compelling, sad story"
the terrible consequences of the Great War in the lives of individuals are highlighted again by Todd. inspector Rutledge is always compelling, abd Simon Prebble's narration is superb as usual. another fine story of England post-WW I.
"Another great one"
I love the Charles Todd collaboration. The last book seemed a bit slow in going forward but this one kept me riveted. Lots of nefarious characters, a surprise criminal, and a satisfyingly convoluted plot and most of all, Simon Prebble's narration. He is magnificent and one of my favorite audible narrators. He can make even a mediocre book better.
"Good story solution was obvious"
Very good story though I guessed the protaganist when no one verified the individual was who they were supposed to. It seems that would have been one of the first things Rutledge would have done. Still a very good story.
"Superb to the bitter end"
I love all the Inspector Rutledge mysteries read by Simon Prebble but this one is especially good as I honestly didn't know until Rutledge did who the villain was. Racing cars, the dangerous road that twists down to Nice, English villages set on the Seven a Sisters coast, rectories and constables--all ingredients in this mystery. As usual Hamish Macleod saves Rutledge when it maters most.
"The best Ian Rutledge mystery yet."
A series of accidents befall a select group of people in an out of the way area of Britain. It will be the be the unspectoiunspectoirs job to sort it all out!.
One of Charles Todd's best. I just wish he would identify the cars -- it would have added so much interest and depth.
"Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge gets better with age!"
Once again, Charles Todd has written a great mystery yarn of post WW1. The characters are further enriched in this audible book by the superb narration of Simon Prebble. It is hard to imagine anyone else performing as Ian Rutledge. This novel moves at a good clip and keeps the listener intrigued with the various possibilities that may unfold. Having read all of the Ian Rutledge mysteries, I found it to be one of the best.
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