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A Fearsome Doubt (Inspector Ian Rutledge #6)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,190 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
Bestselling author Charles Todd has earned a special place among mystery’s elite writers with his acclaimed series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, a former soldier seeking to lay to rest the demons of his past in the aftermath of World War I. But that past bleeds into the present in a complex murder case that calls into question his own honor...and the crim ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Bantam (first published July 29th 2002)
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235th out of 1,317 books — 3,347 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Annie Oosterwyk
Nov 21, 2010 Annie Oosterwyk rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I can't read this series anymore. The mystery solutions seem totally disconnected from the well-drawn characters and fabulous writing style. I just get so infuriated with the magic endings it's not worth it.
Sep 20, 2007 LJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Todd, Charles – 6th of Series

Rutledge is taken aback when a persistent Nell Shaw brings him new evidence that could clear her late husband's name. Had Rutledge and his fellow policemen inadvertently sent an innocent man to his death six years earlier? Reconsidering the pre-World War I case serves to distract the inspector from his current assignment: determining who is killing maimed ex-soldiers in the peaceful countryside in Kent. Rutledge is sidetracked as well by his frie
Mar 13, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it
Penned by a son-mother team, Charles Todd, I was told, wrote cozy mysteries. Well, Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard does sip a lot of tea in London and rural England. But this literate, somewhat melancholy crime fiction is grittier than I expected it to be. The ghost of Hamish, Rutledge's dead soldier-friend from the World War One trenches, breaks into Rutledge's thoughts, dispensing advice and philosophical asides. Sometimes this literary device works, sometimes it's a little annoying. The p ...more
May 12, 2015 Eleni rated it really liked it
This one was kind of nerve-wracking, but in a "can't put this book down" way. I enjoyed the complications, the character of Inspector Rutledge trying to come to terms with his past, with the war, with the possibility of love, the frustration, doubts about an old case, Guy Fawkes Day bonfires and of course, Hamish. The conclusion is dramatic and struck me with its emotional intensity. Another well-done mystery in the series, I recommend it.
Greg Z
Jul 05, 2015 Greg Z rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I've enjoyed the first five of this series (I'm reading them in order). Determined to figure this one out before Todd reveals the murderer(s?), I took copious notes as to who is who and when and what, etc., with diagrams of interconnecting relationships, etc. This book has about 275 pages of red herrings on top of red herrings and actually lots of fascinating mysteries/questions are opened. I thought I had solved it this time, but alas I was wrong again! That's fine, I've read a lot of Agatha Ch ...more
Aug 21, 2007 Chris rated it it was ok
The weakest in the Rutledge series so far, Fearsome Doubt's big problem is that the A mystery makes little sense and the B mystery is really boring. The writing is strong as always, but there are too many coincidences and too many irritating characters (I actually groaned in one scene when Nell Shaw appeared) in this one.
Apr 27, 2013 Dulcie rated it really liked it
This is my favorite in the series so far. I loved all the different story lines and how they were woven together. I like how we are seeing more of Ian in his personal relationships and learning more about his past, and I love all the interesting characters.
Number 6 in the Inspector Rutledge mystery series, and it's just as enjoyable as the previous five. Well written, atmospheric (post-WWI period), and hard to solve before the pieces all fall together in the end.
Okay, if the plots don't get better, I'm giving up on these. Good setting and characters do not make up for plots which don't tie together and get resolved out of nowhere in about the last ten pages of the book.
Jan 06, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
I have become more and more enamoured of Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge. His alter ego formed by guilt and shell shock is his soundboard for mulling over the mysteries he's sent to solve by Scotland Yard. I'm glad that the author only explains, for the most part, that Hamish berates him and tries to wear him down with his reminders that Rutledge felt forced to kill him during WWI. I continue to say that I think his methods are sometimes brutal and more of an attempt to assure himself he still has w ...more
Larry Piper
Mar 15, 2016 Larry Piper rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read, especially in light of the fact that I was reading it during the week that commemorates the nuclear annihilation of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although the book was written about ten years ago, it deals with a British police inspector, Ian Rutledge, who had served in WWI and who came back rather shell-shocked. So there are lots of comments about the experience of war and the essentially senseless slaughter that comprised most of WWI.

The library tells me that this
Charles Todd presents Inspector Ian Rutledge in his sixth outing. The novel presents Rutledge in an even more complex character, not only dealing with the after effects of combat in World War One, but with the possibility that prior to the Great War, he may have sent an innocent man to the gallows.

Ben Shaw was a likable man. He performed acts of kindness to elderly women, performing tasks around their homes that needed doing. He refused to take payment. The problem is that the women whom he help
Dec 06, 2015 Betty rated it liked it
Didn't like this particular "Rutledge" story as all the others I've read so far. But that won't stop me.
Sara Bartlett
Jul 20, 2013 Sara Bartlett rated it liked it
If I spend the hours to read a mystery I expect a conclusion that is plausible, this one isn't. there is no way anyone would expect this ending and such an unbelievable ending. I had come to a conclusion on the side story of Mrs. Shaw which was as the author intended, but the primary plot, while well developed and created some very well developed characters, ended very poorly. it's as though the author realized at the end there was no possible explanation and just picked a character out of the b ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it
Still keeping me interested, and excited to get to the next one....

Inspector Ian Rutledge, a former soldier seeking to lay to rest the demons of his past in the aftermath of World War I. But that past bleeds into the present in a complex murder case that calls into question his own honor...and the crimes committed in the name of God, country, and righteous vengeance.In 1912 Ian Rutledge watched as a man was condemned to hang for the murders of elderly women. Rutledge helped gather the evidence t
Lisa Johnson
May 21, 2014 Lisa Johnson rated it really liked it
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
Apr 19, 2014 Sheila rated it really liked it
Inspector Rutledge receives a surprise visit at his Scotland Yard office from the wife of a man convicted of murder. Rutledge played a major role in the investigation that lead to the conviction, but the event happened before the war. The wife, Mrs. Shaw pleads with Rutledge to reopen the case, she has found a locket from one of the victims among her neighbor's belongings. Mrs. Shaw has two children and believes with the history of their father being a murdered, the children have no chance for a ...more
It is one year after the Armistice ended "the war to end all wars," but Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is still haunted by his time in the trenches and still suffering from post traumatic stress, or "shell-shock" as it was then called. He has returned to his old life and tried to move on and make the best of things, but the past keeps intruding. And he still carries with him at all times the persona and the voice of Hamish MacLeod, the young soldier under his command who he was forced t ...more
Melinda Seyler
May 17, 2015 Melinda Seyler rated it liked it
Inspector Ian Rutledge has returned from WWI a bruised and damaged man. He has a constant companion of one of his soldiers and difficulty dealing with a lot of flash backs and lack of knowledge of the last days of the war. He is approached by the widow of a man he charged with multiple murders who swears her husband was innocent and Rutledge must prove it. He is reluctant to reopen the case , but guilty in case the man was in fact innocent. Then Rutledge is sent to Kent to investigate a series o ...more
Florence Millo
Nov 08, 2012 Florence Millo rated it really liked it
Inspector Rutledge is sent from London to Kent to solve the murders of 3 wounded veterans of the Great War. Before leaving, he is confronted with the possibility that a man who had been convicted and hanged on Rutledge's evidence may have been innocent after all. While dealing with his own ghosts from the war, he untangles the webs. A really good read!
Richard Stueber
Feb 23, 2015 Richard Stueber rated it really liked it
Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard, still haunted by the spirit of Hamish MacLeod whom he had executed in World War I, Is haunted also by a case from 1912 and is working on a present day case in November, 1919 down in Kent.
In 1912 he was brought in to finish up a murder case in which Ben Shaw is tried, convicted and hanged. His widow Nell and Daughter Margaret implore Rutledge to discover the truth of the murders. Rutledge thinks he may have been wrong.
Down in Kent various friends and acqua
Janet Mahlum
Jul 03, 2016 Janet Mahlum rated it really liked it
Another mystery very well written. One by one I was able to dismiss the red herrings for what they were. Steadily the clues began to point to one individual. The more I read, the more convinced I was that I was right. With less than 50 pages to go, I turned out the light and prepared to fall asleep, sure sure in my mind I had solved the mystery. But suddenly it came to me that the one I suspected couldn't possibly be the murderer. My mind fixed on another suspect - one I had initially discounted ...more
Karen Wyle
Apr 28, 2015 Karen Wyle rated it really liked it
The ongoing concept: British police detective and former WWI officer Ian Rutledge returns to duty after the war, haunted by and living with the voice of Hamish MacLeod, the Scottish subordinate he felt compelled to execute for disobeying orders. A Fearsome Doubt uses this device more effectively than one or two of the others I've read thus far: the ongoing dialogue between Inspector Rutledge and Hamish contributes more to the mood and the mystery, and Hamish has been evolving into a reluctant co ...more
Jun 20, 2013 Paulina rated it liked it
I like this author and series. The books are interesting. It isn't good to read them back to back, though. Sometimes I have trouble keeping all of the characters in the mystery straight in my mind. But I like how the author makes the time period live. And I like the main character a lot.
Julie Barrett
Eh, this was my least favorite in the series so far. I'm all for a slow-paced mystery that isn't gory but this is a bit TOO slow-paced. And the method of killing, a mellow overdose of laudanum in wine, is not very ominous or threatening. Oooh! He fell asleep and never woke up! Help! And while when I started reading this series, I was glad the author didn't delve much into the inspector's personal life, at this point I would care for at least a bit of development on that front. He's like a robot ...more
Robert Scott
Inspector Ian Rutledge has a widow of a man convicted of murder & hung 10 years prior, before the war, show up in his office with a new piece of evidence she says proves him not guilty. This along with constant comments from Hamish (his mind resident ghost) disrupts his investigation of 3 murders of amputee veterans around the village of Marling in Kent. His & his sister Frances' friend Elizabeth Mayhew, war widow of Richard his best friend since childhood had invited him to a Guy Fawkes ...more
Valerie Jackson
Feb 19, 2015 Valerie Jackson rated it liked it
This is the weakest book in the series that I have read so far. I'm hoping the story-lines improve and the ending of the next one doesn't feel like it was a last minute thought. I'm also growing weary of Todd leaving loose/unresolved ends in the stories.
Inpsector Ian Rutledge is as asked to look into the possible innocence of a man who was hanged for murder 6 years earlier. Rutledge begins to second guess himself and the roll he played in having the man hanged. He is also sent to look into the murders of several former soldiers who are each minus a limb.

As Rutledge battles his own demons from WWI he relives much of what happened to him and others during the war. Hamish, the entity in Rutledge's head often helps him solve the problems he is conf
Katherine L
Not my favorite Ian Rutledge mystery by a long shot. Nell Shaw's screaming and all those exclamation points were extremely grating. The resolution to the mystery wasn't very satisfactory--I had an ending in my head that felt much more compelling!
May 09, 2016 Sandy rated it it was amazing
"A Fearsome Doubt" raises many questions. It examines self-doubt and its crippling consequences. Starting slowly, plodding and clueless, like much of the beginning police work that Inspector Ian Rutledge endures when investigating a series of mysterious murders, the book is peopled with interesting characters who struggle with their own insecurities. Rutledge moves forward through sleepless nights, addressing crisis after crisis and drawing no closer to the answer. After many red herrings includ ...more
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Ian Rutledge (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1)
  • Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #2)
  • Search the Dark (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #3)
  • Legacy of the Dead (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #4)
  • Watchers of Time (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #5)
  • A Cold Treachery (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #7)
  • A Long Shadow (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #8)
  • A False Mirror (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #9)
  • A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #10)
  • A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #11)

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