Title: No Shred of Evidence (Inspector Ian Rutledge #17)
Author: Charles Todd
Publisher: William Morrow
I have enjoyed every book in this series. Each one is a wonderful journey into the mind of Inspector Ian Rutledge and sometimes into the mind of a criminal to see if I can figure out the motive. This particular case takes place in the autumn of 1920. Ian has just finished writing up a report on a case he has wrapped up when he is called into the Chief Superintendent’s office and assigned a new case. He hasn’t even been home yet to unpack from his prior case. He quickly sets off for Cornwall to take up the case where the previous inspector left off. He arrives to find that the previous inspector’s notes have been misplaced as well as the statements from the parties involved. This inspector has died unexpectedly of a heart attack. In the confusion of packing up his belongings, the papers go missing. Without these, Ian must start from scratch and interview all those involved in the case.
The case about four young women from respectable, wealthy families had gone out in a row boat. On their return trip to the dock, they encounter a young man whose boat is sinking. Before they can row over to him, the boat sinks. They try desperately to drag him on board their row boat, but they aren’t strong enough. An oar is grabbed to extend to him to hand on until they can tow him to shore, but this accidentally hits him in the head. From shore they hear a man shout, see him jump in the water and swim to them. He helps the almost drowned man into the boat. Upon reaching shore, he accuses the four women of trying to murder the young man by hitting him with the oar and trying to hold his head under the water to drown him. They deny it, telling their side of the story. So the investigative work begins for Ian. As Ian follows up on statements and tries to find evidence of support the story of the women, more questions arise. Another mystery or two become intertwined with this case, and Ian has his hands full. It doesn’t help that one of the four women is the cousin of his former fiancée. He knew her before the war and that she had feelings for him then. What about now? Ian must race to find the answers before the women can be bound over for trial and perhaps sent to prison or worse.
Once again, this mother and son writing team have produced a winning mystery. I eagerly look forward to each new mystery in this series, as well as the Bess Crawford series, as they are always entertaining, make me use my brain and usually keep me guessing until the end! I so enjoy settling down in my comfy chair and opening the book to delve back into the life of Inspector Rutledge, to see how he thinks and what makes him click as a detective as well as a human being. This is another hit mystery in my view!
My rating is 5 stars.