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Proof of Guilt (Inspector Ian Rutledge #15)

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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,385 ratings  ·  258 reviews
An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is leading the investigation to uncover what happened. While signs point to murder, vital questions remain. Who is the victim? And where, exactly, was he killed?

One small clue leads the Inspector to a firm built by two families, famous for producing and selling the world's best Madeira wine.
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Hardcover, 343 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by William Morrow
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Community Reviews

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Jacqueline Elsner
Sadly, I am disappointed in this latest Ian Rutledge mystery. It reads like an outline of a clever plot, not like the unfolding of his story.

Choppy, not succinct, dialogue. Confusing plot revelations. Too little depth to Rutledge's inner drama, or the drama of the confused principals of this mystery. Plot advancement of his sister, Frances, thrown in as a "by the way, try this on for size, Ian."

Basic instruction for good writing: show, don't tell.

This Rutledge book is told, not shown.

Note to ed
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Carol Best
This is my third Ian Rutledge book and as usual, now that I am finished the book, I feel exhausted. I had no problem with all the characters and how they all fit together but the ending if the story is indeed ended, left a lot of strings dangling. The authors better be writing a sequel! Very unsatisfying after all the turmoil of following poor Rutledge all over Essex, London and Surrey in his motor car.
Joanne
I'm a longtime fan of Ian Rutledge, the soulful Scotland Yard inspector dealing with PTSD after serving as an officer in France during WWI. Rather than creating a partner for Rutledge to work with on his cases, the talented mother/son team writing under the nom de plume of "Charles Todd" have employed a clever device that works even better: Rutledge persistently and maddeningly hears the voice of Hamish, the young Scottish soldier he had to have shot for failing to obey a direct order during the ...more
Gloria Feit
The typical Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery is so filled with details, as the Scotland Yard policeman ferrets out clues, that often the reader can become confused or engulfed with too much information or too many characters. This novel is no exception. It is a painstaking investigation begun when the body of a man, apparently a hit-and-run victim, is found lying in a London Street.

A valuable watch is found on the body, linking him to a well-know wine merchant who was reported missing. Has he now
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Susan
Charles Todd, we are through. While your fictional police detective Ian Rutledge fits my requirements for police detective heroes (troubled, depressed, lonely, borderline psychotic, etc), you haven't given him a good story in a long time. I have given up on a few of your previous novels but persisted with this one because the initial premise was intriguing -- missing persons, unidentifiable corpses, English villages -- but what a mess it turned out to be. Too many characters whose names begin wi ...more
Kathy Davie
Fifteenth in the Inspector Ian Rutledge historical mystery series revolving around a Scotland Yard inspector battling his own demons from World War I.

My Take
For the most part, I was dissatisfied with this story's events. The clues that Rutledge pulled together seemed bogus, as if invented to fit the story. And part of me wonders if I'm feeling this way simply because I can't stand the new character's, Markham's, approach. Otherwise, I enjoyed Todd's usual descriptive expertise in setting the man
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Barbara
There are no shortage of potential crimes in this Inspector Rutledge mystery. An unidentified body washes ashore in Sussex; another unidentified body is found on a Chelsea street; Lewis French - a London wine merchant with the company French, French, and Traynor- is missing; and his partner Matthew Traynor - based on the Portuguese island of Madeira - can't be located. Inspector Rutledge, tasked with looking into these incidents, interviews the wine company's chief clerk, Lewis's sister, Lewis's ...more
Larraine
One of the wonderful things about reading Charles Todd is the complexity of the story. Charles Todd, the nom de plume of a mother and son team, writes in the fashion of the old fashioned British murder mystery with a tad more blood and violence, but not much. This is the 15th in the series which features Inspector Rutledge, a WWI veteran, who lives with the voice of one of his men in his head. Despite that he functions well and is outstanding at his job. He has never fully recovered from the hor ...more
Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Ian Rutledge is back....solving another murder, and what a murder it is. Rutledge is left with nothing but a body in the middle of the street, questions about how the body got there, and no identification but a gold watch inside a coat pocket...a gold watch that could only belong to a gentleman.

The gold watch did give Rutledge some leads, but he kept finding dead ends with each investigation....the criminal was quite clever. Who could this body be? Without any identification and only a gold watc
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Marcia Ferguson
Normally it's an automatic five stars for any Charles Todd book, but the first half of the book would have warranted 3 stars. Fortunately it gained speed over the last half and I'm happy to give it four stars. The problem? Too many characters, and I was lost. Truly lost. If there had been some minor identifiers along the way, I could have kept characters straight perhaps, but all those last names with no 'identifier' made them all run together. Inspector Rutledge is always aces as a character, a ...more
Karen
Not my favorite in the Ian Rutledge series and I've read them all.

The first chapter is irrelevant to the rest of the book. The ending is unsatisfactory. Rutledge spends the entire book driving from one part of England to another. Markham is not fleshed out - last book he was better than Bowles, this book, he's almost as bad. Makes me wonder if this mother-son writing team has a bit of a tug of war over the characters and plots.

In the end, the bad guy is who you expect. Except for, where, exactl
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Pamela
I have really enjoyed the previous books in Todd's Ian Rutledge series. This one--not so much. It seemed the author(s) were trying to throw every plot device into the book that they could. The result was an uncomfortable and at times embarrassing jumble that left far too many questions unanswered. The main two being (view spoiler)

I was so looking forward to this, and so disappointed. Sorry to say,
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Amy
I'm not sure what went wrong with this book. It might be an editing issue. But the result was a completely unsatisfactory ending. This isn't a spoiler alert. There's no resolution to a primary part of the plot. Oversight? Copy dropped in production? Hard to guess, but definitely a problem.
Colleen
I love this series so I was disappointed with this latest installment. At some point Ian really has to move on and have a breakthrough with Hamish. The plot points with Portugal were also confusing and I never got a good feel for any of the dead. I hope the next one is more enjoyable.
Patricia
When Ian Rutledge is assigned to head up an investigation involving an unidentified body, Rutledge has a difficult job. First, he must identify the body and that does not prove to be an easy task. Second, he must decide if the victim is a murder victim or if he died accidentally. Then once he has reached the conclusion that the victim was murdered Rutledge must discover where he was murdered. Rutledge feels that the victim met his death at a different location and the body was later moved.

Rutled
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Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Sometimes in any criminal case it often appears open and shut. Meaning all the clues point to all the right people and it's simply a matter of connecting the proverbial dots to solidify the case. However in some, no matter how simply it looks to solve, but burden of proof may often times prove difficult or in some cases completely misleading. If you love a great mystery with a bit of twist to it and not too easy to solve, than I might suggest Charles Todd's latest novel, Proof of Guilt. This is ...more
Drennan Spitzer
So I'm just going to say it: I really love Charles Todd! Todd is the pseudonym for a mother-son writing duo. Recently, I reviewed the latest book in their Bess Crawford series, a thoughtful, entertaining, compelling work. And now, we have Proof of Guilt, the fifteenth in their Ian Rutledge series. I ask you, where has Charles Todd been hiding all my life?

One of my very favorite reads is the murder mystery / period piece hybrid. I'm searching for a term for this very specific sub-genre. It works
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Lynn
Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard -- the consummate policeman bound by rules but whose persona includes a spot-on intuition fueled by the "presence" of Hamish, the spirit of a fellow soldier from the Great War. Hamish seems to me to be part Guardian Angel, as his 360-degree vision and perception warn Rutledge of danger. But, Hamish is also the voice of reason who offers clear and logical suggestions to help a perplexed Rutledge see more clearly.

In this particular episode of Rutledge's life
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Becky
This one didn't quite capture me the way the others have. Probably because I am still not able to focus completely after husband's death. This plot seemed so labyrinthine that I could not keep track -- again probably my problem.

I do love reading what I now call the "slower, non-tech" mystery. Things that might be settled in our time by a quick text or phone call or data search, can take days or weeks. And some questions are never asked because there isn't the context in which the question would
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Jim
I was hooked the moment I started reading "Proof of Guilt," but disappointed at the conclusion, which left me shaking my head at the too-many left-open questions and really what Rutledge's solutions accomplished. But I'd read this book again.

Ian Rutledge is the main character in more than a dozen mysteries by Charles Todd, an author who actually writes his books along with his mother. Rutledge is an inspector for Scotland Yard in the initial years after World War I. Rutledge is a still-suffering
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Kriss
How did they solve mysteries before we had the tool kits any good CSI agent had? Without DNA, Google, finger prints and fax machines? When no one was caught on a traffic cam dragging a body behind their car? Well apparently you had super stars like Inspector Ian Rutledge because after his fifteenth case documented in this wonderful mystery and all the evidence pointing in several different directions, including a signed confession, he is still able to catch the bad guy.Identifying one body is di ...more
Deb
A man is apparently hit by a motorcar in a hit-and-run accident on a quiet street in Chelsea. He has no identification, and no one is able to identify him. Rutledge is lead to a respected firm of wine merchants where he discovers that the head of the firm has gone missing. Yet he is not the hit-and-run victim. The investigation eventually leads to a jilted fiancee, a unhappy sister, and a former convict with a history of violence. One of the things I liked about this installment in the series is ...more
Lisa
It took me a bit to get into it but when I was a third of the way through I managed to go through it quickly. I was rather disappointed with the ending. This being the only book I've read of the series I'm guessing what the author does is continue the story or the ending to the previous story in the next book but there was nothing conclusive for me to feel satisfied. Someone was still missing and then there was the household he suspected was involved. I guess that could be part of the next book ...more
Shelton Chelberg
I have enjoyed all the previous Ian Rutledge books in the series, but this one was very uneven. The opening was intriguing, and, as always, I love the details of unexpected aspects of British life. But this book was all over the place (literally!) and many issues felt unresolved at the end.

Don't start the series here, just start at the very beginning!
Judy
It's the summer of 1920 and Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to investigate the apparent hit-and-run of an unidentified body in Chelsea. And yet, the body doesn't appear to have been dragged and all identifying evidence has been removed from the body except for a very expensive French watch. Circumstantial evidence points to the body being associated with a English firm producing the world's best Madeira wine and suspects abound. In this 15th in the Ian Rutledge series, the mother-son writing team ...more
Kathy
Todd always tell a gripping, can't put down story. Would have given it 5 stars except I had two problems with the book. A man is arrested for murder when there is not one single piece of direct evidence tying him to it. No body has been found, no clues linking him. Only the chief superintendent at Scotland Yard who insists on the arrest because he wants a quick solution. Naturally Rutledge believes in his innocence and goes out to prove it and catch the real culprit. Second problem. The end leav ...more
Larry
Inspector Ian Rutledge's 15th case since he was demobbed after a tough war (WWI) begins with a hit-and-run victim of unknown identity. The case is complicated when two brothers go missing, and are presumed dead. What's the connection between the two seemingly separate cases? Rutledge is a dogged investigator, though psychologically marred by his war experiences. He is an attractive character, his methods are interesting, and the picture of life in postwar England is striking. The series is one o ...more
Kathleen
This, the fifteenth book in the Ian Rutledge series, was one I missed in 2013. Set in London, 1920, the plot is one of the most complicated Todd has written, incorporating many of the themes of post WWI England: economic hardships, bitterness, the staggering grief and loss shared by so many, horrific war wounds, and for some, the need to move on with the present. Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge tackles this case with its roots in Portugal, involving murder, broken engagements, missing perso ...more
Mary
These Ian Rutledge books have a special quality. They said "shell shocked" in those days. We say PTSD. The battle scenes are so vividly drawn, maybe some of the best of rhat type of scene that I have ever read. We are with him then and with him now as he strives to make a life for himself out of the broken pieces of his old life. Naturally, since he is in Homicide at Scotland Yard, he is dealing with death each day. He and the voice of Hamish, the executed Scotsman, are a team, a most unusual te ...more
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lewis french 2 7 Dec 08, 2014 08:19PM  
The Mystery, Crim...: Proof of Guilt Review and Giveaway 1 7 Feb 15, 2013 01:01PM  
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Charles Todd is the pen name used by a mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd.
More about Charles Todd...
A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1) A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1) An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford #2) Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #2) A Lonely Death (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #13)

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