Title: Proof of Guilt (Inspector Ian Rutledge #15)
Author: Charles Todd
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.