Title: Racing the Devil (Inspector Ian Rutledge #18)
Author: Charles Todd
Publisher: William Morrow
My rating is 5 stars.
This story takes place in 1920 just two years after the end of WWI. It involves seven soldiers who, the evening before the Battle of the Somme, pledge to meet in Nice, France one year after the war has ended as a race. Two men die of wounds later in the war, but five men survive to make the journey to Nice. They each return home and try to begin living again; however, they are changed men.
The local rector in a small village in England is killed in a car accident. The only mystery at first appears to be why he has borrowed the car involved in the accident without asking permission from the owner of the car. The owner is out of town when the car is borrowed and upon his return he learns of the accident. The local law enforcement thinks there is something fishy with the accident and requests Scotland Yard’s help. Inspector Rutledge is sent to the scene and soon discovers that the Rector was actually murdered and not killed in the car accident. The car he borrowed just happened to be owned by one of the five men who drove to Nice, France for a reunion with four of his fellow soldiers. Soon another man is found dead, but is his death related to the Rector’s death. There is no doubt this second man has been killed in the same way as the Rector, a broken neck, but he has no link to any of the five former soldiers. Who killed him and why? Yet, another mystery for Inspector Rutledge to solve.
I love it when Ian is hunting down answers to questions and clues! To me, that is when he is at his best. Although he was pretty good when confronting the culprit and putting him in his place too. I also enjoyed his encounters with the little girl, Jem, in this story. The reappearance of family friend Melinda Crawford is also a treat in each story in which she appears. I just really like how these mysteries are put together, how they are written and the flow of the writing style. For me, these are some of my favorite British mysteries. I like too how time progresses from book to book. I’m already looking forward to the next adventure Ian will encounter in book 19!