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A Fearsome Doubt by Charles Todd

Title:  A Fearsome Doubt (Inspector Rutledge #6)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  295
Year:  2002
Publisher:  Bantam Books
A case from before the war comes back to haunt Inspector Ian Rutledge.  Before the war, as a young inspector, he was key to bringing a man to trial for murder.  The man was convicted and sentenced to death.  The criminal was executed, leaving behind a wife and two young children.  Six years later, the widow shows up at Ian’s office with new evidence that could potentially clear her husband’s name.  She pleads determinedly for her husband’s name to be cleared for her children’s sake.  Due to her persistence, Ian begins to look over his old case notes.  He begins to question some aspects and people involved in the case.  Ian begins to doubt his findings.  Did he send an innocent man to the gallows?
On the heels of this old case, Ian is assigned another case of multiple murders of soldiers who fought in the war.  Three soldiers have been given wine laced with laudanum to kill them.  The only things the three men have in common are their history of all being from Kent and serving in the same unit during the war and they are all three married.  So while Ian is out trying to solve these three murders and dealing with a badgering woman from his old case, he also is trying to protect his good friend’s widow from doing something foolish.  As he searches for clues, he again has flashbacks to the horrid conditions of the war and the awful actions a lot of men had to perform.  Hamish is in residence as usual inside Ian’s mind.  He is often cruel in his comments to Ian as punishment for what he endured at Ian’s command.  Guilt and shame over the deaths of the men under his command in the war are ever present in Ian’s mind as well.
Another deeply poignant look inside Inspector Rutledge’s mind and his thought processes.  His overwhelming guilt that caused him to want to die at the end of the war is depicted as well as his continuing struggle with this issue.  He doesn’t think about suicide nearly as often, but readers get the feeling it is never out of the realm of possibilities.  What a shattered man!  He has great strength and courage as well.  He makes himself get up and live every day, even though some days it would be so much easier not to.  There is a good mystery here also with a great ending I didn’t see coming.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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