Title: Search the Dark (Inspector Ian Rutledge #3)
Author: Charles Todd
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Inspector Ian Rutledge is still in the hot seat with his superior, Superintendent Bowles. As a result, he is sent away from London again on another case and out of the superintendent’s hair. This time he is sent to Dorset to discover if a man is truly guilty of killing his wife and two small children.
Ian begins asking the same questions the local authorities have asked. He institutes another search for the missing children as their bodies haven’t been found yet. The body of a woman, who they assume is the criminal’s wife as he has identified her. One problem is the man they have arrested is mentally unstable due to his service in the war. Inspector Rutledge is uncomfortable dealing with this man because it reminds him too much of himself. The search continues and another woman’s body is found. Could the man in jail have arrived a few months prior and also killed this woman?
Inspector Rutledge begins to uncover more than he bargained for in his search for justice and truth. He knows he is being manipulated by at least one woman involved in the case. He meets another former soldier, the son of a politician, who also is painful to interact with as it forces Ian to remember his own role in the war and the scars left behind, not only physical scars, but mental ones as well. Hamish is ever active in antagonizing and convicting Ian in his own mind. The guilt Ian has over Hamish’s death has driven Ian to allow Hamish to live even if it is only within his own mind. Could this former soldier be the murderer? His French wife? The former soldier who hangs out at the local pub?
As the case is pursued, the authors really showcase the devastating effects of war on the human mind and how it changed everything about a person who survived it. Readers will get a good mystery, but also a chance to experience a survivor’s war on a personal front through the eyes of Inspector Rutledge and in this story through a few other former soldiers eyes as well. As I continue reading this series, and this is my fourth book, I am continually struck with the depth of feeling and insight Charles Todd has into the mind of a survivor. The story was a little slow in a few spots, which is why the 4 stars instead of 5, but this is still a recommended book. I’m looking forward to reading book 4 next and find out what crime Inspector Rutledge will be investigating.
My rating is 4 stars.