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Search the Dark (Inspector Ian Rutledge #3)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,743 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
The introspective hero of Wings of Fire and A Test of Wills (Edgar Award nominee) returns in Search the Dark, a provocative new mystery by Charles Todd. Inspector Ian Rutledge, haunted by memories of World War I and the harrowing presence of Hamish, a dead soldier, is "a superb characterization of a man whose wounds have made him a stranger in his own land." (The New York ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published May 15th 2000 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published May 1st 1999)
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Best Historical Mystery
176th out of 1,205 books — 3,203 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

What on Earth are the murders of some seemingly unrelated women in the Dorset countryside to do with Scotland Yard? Well, as always, Ian Rutledge and his internal nemesis Hamish are sent where the Yard thinks they stand the best chance of getting rid of them (though the only one they KNOW they're getting rid of is Ian). As always, strict instructions are issued for Rutledge to avoid antagonizing the powerful people involved in this case; as always, he fails; and as always, Ru
Jan 11, 2010 Bee rated it liked it
Another good novel in the Rutledge series. This one wasn't my favorite, but was still a really great mystery.
Rating 4.5 stars.
Somehow the Inspector Rutledge novels turned out to be "comfort food" (so to speak) for me; something to relax me (and yes, I know it's a murder mystery).
In the third book of the series, after Warwickshire and Cornwall, Superintendent Bowles sees another chance to get Rutledge out of his sight, and as far from London as possible, when a woman is found murdered in Dorset.

Ian Rutledge, WWI veteran suffering from what we know today as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) tries t
Mar 11, 2009 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another book in the Inspector Rutledge series, Search the Dark, is again set in a small English village. In this case, Rutledge is sent to investigate the death of a woman, and to help search for her missing and possibly dead children. The local police, who are not terribly welcoming to Rutledge, have arrested a man for the crime. But it is not as simple as that, being really pretty twisty! The man locked up thought he saw the wife and children he believed dead during the war getting off a train ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
World War I has ended--or has it? For milions of people in England and in the other countries who participated in the senseless slaughter of that war, it will never end. Inspector Ian Rutledge is physically healed, but emotionally hanging on by a thread. He carries the voice of Hamish MacLeod, a soldier he was forced to execute in France for refusing to obey a direct order, in his head. Trying to keep anyone from realizing the extent of his emotional injuries, Rutledge returns to work at Scotlan ...more
May 28, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
Our war damaged Inspector is once again sent out by his boss to look into the murder of a woman and her missing children. The village police chief, resenting Scotland Yard's intrusion into his territory, believes he's arrested the murderer but Inspector Rutledge appears to harbor doubts. In speaking with the prisoner, he discovers another war damaged soul, but the man is horrified and shocked by what he believes he has done and cannot be drawn into speaking at length about his wife and children ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
While not a bad book it is more than a little formulaic and I was not terribly impressed. I used to read a lot of detective/mystery, but I drifted away from the genera and normally only go back there is the writing is meant to be really good or there is an added interest.

In this case I thought that the period setting might be enough to add extra interest, but it is apathetically absent. We are told, almost on every page how most of the characters are just back from 'the war' but it is all tell
Feb 22, 2015 Caidyn rated it it was ok
As usual, the book was far too long to support the mystery. Same ramblings on about things that I already had figured out. Same female character that fascinated Ruteledge, just with a different name tacked on at the end. Already at the third book, I can figure things out myself. It's very well written and deeply centered on Rutledge's thoughts, but that doesn't mean it's very interesting with the mystery and constant going over details that weren't hard to pick up if he actually thought about th ...more
Lisa Johnson
Feb 24, 2014 Lisa Johnson rated it it was amazing
Title: Search the Dark (Inspector Ian Rutledge #3)
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 310
Year: 1999
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Inspector Ian Rutledge is still in the hot seat with his superior, Superintendent Bowles. As a result, he is sent away from London again on another case and out of the superintendent’s hair. This time he is sent to Dorset to discover if a man is truly guilty of killing his wife and two small children.
Ian begins asking the same questions the local authorities have asked. He
I came across this book by accident, hiding on my shelf and opened it to scan the first page; later that day I closed the cover and sat back feeling I have used my time wisely.

The main protagonist in this book and all the other in this series is a Scotland Yard policeman. Newly returned from the Great War, he has his own personal demons to deal with as well as helping those who are also dealing with their demons from fighting in this war. Add to that the stress of trying to find the criminals, a
Laura Edwards
I was all set to give this book 4 stars until reading the last couple of chapters. Absolutely riveting and a completed unexpected ending. The writing, as usual, is superb.

My main problems with the story (and why it was not a straight 5 throughout, more like a 4.5) is two-fold. First, I'm really irritated by the character of Bowles. He is completely unlikable and I really don't feel he is necessary to the story. A truly unwanted distraction. Take him away and does the story suffer at all? I don'
Joe Slavinsky
Feb 02, 2016 Joe Slavinsky rated it really liked it
Suggested by my cousin Janet, I've really gotten into the Inspector Ian Rutledge novels. I'm reading them in chronological order, and this third one in the series, is no less wonderful than first two. Rutledge, who's suffering from what we now call PTSD, from being in the trenches during WWI, is attempting, with great difficulty, to recover by doing his previous job, as a homicide detective with Scotland Yard. Of course, that job(which he feels is the only thing he's really good at-or was good a ...more
Bev Walkling
I am waiting to get the second book in this series from interlibrary loan but I don't think it made this novel any more difficult to follow. Inspector Ian Rutledge is once again sent out to assist with a murder mystery. The murderer seems clear cut - a case of murder in the heat of passion - or is it? As Rutledge follows a convoluted trail of thoughts, influenced by his inner voice Hamish, one thing is clear, there are many men who have been terribly damaged through their wartime experiences. No ...more
Richard Stueber
Jan 15, 2015 Richard Stueber rated it really liked it
Third in the series about Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard. The shell-shocked detective is still haunted by Hamish MacLeod whom he had executed in World War I. This takes place in 1919 in a number of small towns in Dorset, England.
Rutledge is sent to look into the murder of a woman who is at first presumed to be Mrs. Mary Sandra Mowbray of London, Her husband Arthur Albert Mowbray is in custody and a very strong suspect in her murder.
But is that who she really was, and did Arthur kill her?
Another b
Robert Scott
Jun 25, 2015 Robert Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-complete
What an amazing picture of the after effects of WWI, the "War to end all wars". Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is himself a prime example, carrying guilt for all the men sent to death by him as well as the ghost of Hamish a man he had executed failing to follow orders (namely to lead another futile charge against the Germans). Another "shell shocked" veteran is in jail in Dorset in the town of Singleton Magna accused of the murder of "his wife" who was in fact killed in a bombing raid o ...more
A. Roy King
Jun 19, 2015 A. Roy King rated it it was amazing
"Search the Dark" is the third in Charles Todd's historical mystery series featuring Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard inspector who has returned from the Great War with post-traumatic stress disorder manifested in the ghostly voice of the Scottish corporal he executed on the battlefield.

In this novel, Rutledge is sent to investigate the murder of a young woman, apparently killed by her husband, another returned soldier suffering from PTSD. The problem is, this man's wife supposedly died years befor
Oct 15, 2011 Charlene rated it really liked it
After some non-fiction, it was nice to return to my usual British mystery. The Ian Rutledge/Scotland Yard detective series, set immediately after WWI, is is one of the best series I've read and this particular novel held my interest and was a quick read.
Nov 07, 2015 Stuart rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Not a bad mystery, the third Rutledge story. I would have rated it higher, but the book spent the first half determining the identity of the dead person, when it became pretty obvious early on. In the between-the-wars era as usual, Rutledge is in Dorset to smooth inter-jurisdictionary issues should they arise in the case of a woman found dead at the side of the road, and her presumed husband already in custody, suffering from the WW1 equivalent of PTSD. The local policeman, perhaps stereotypical ...more
Mar 14, 2014 Luffy rated it did not like it
Many people can make a hefty case for Search the Dark for being a good, even excellent book. The evidence to the contrary is tenuous. Most of the book is splendidly written, but it amounts to naught for me, if it doesn't deliver in the last act. Add to that the lack of follow up to the real struggles of the detective and the hindrances he faced...add to that the lack of support for the little bits of clues that went unheeded by the authors themselves, then I think I may be justified in my summa ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Momkersch rated it really liked it
Another tale about Rutledge's return to Scotland Yard after serving in WWI. Rutledge is again sent out of the way by his nemesis Bowles. Another returning veteran has been arrested for killing the woman he was searching for, a woman who looks remarkably like his wife who had been killed along with her two children in a bombing raid several years before. He spotted her from the train, along with two children. By the time he returned to the station, the woman and children were missing, but soon a ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it
Much better than the second... Good story. Starting to like this series!!

A dead woman and two missing children bring Inspector Rutledge to the lovely Dorset town of Singleton Magna, where the truth lies buried with the dead. A tormented veteran whose family died in an enemy bombing is the chief suspect. Dubious, Rutledge presses on to find the real killer. And when another body is found in the rich Dorset earth, his quest reaches into the secret lives of villagers and Londoners whose privileged
Lynne Tull
Oct 30, 2014 Lynne Tull rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I don't think this book was as good as the first two books. I thought the mystery was too far fetched. The characters were not engaging in any way. I really like Ian Rutledge, but not this case. Again I figured it out somewhere along the way, but was not too sure. I never did get a sense of how he figured it out. He just wrapped it up quickly without too much explanation and that was the end of it. I wanted to hear more about what happened to Rutledge and the other characters after all was said ...more
Cathleen Akers
Sep 07, 2014 Cathleen Akers rated it really liked it
My first introduction to Inspector Rutledge since my public library does not have the whole of the series :( but I plan to read more. Wasn't sure at first of the Hamish conversations, but I got used to it. I like Rutledge and I want to see him find some peace at some point. I'm guessing that given the number of books in this series, that may come only slowly and in degrees--if at all. Also, I so appreciate how WWI is dealt with, like a character somewhat itself. That doesn't sound quite right, n ...more
Nov 26, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
This is the 3rd of this series that I have read and I found it a bit less well developed than the previous ones. This time we see our protagonist trying to extricate a previously disturbed war veteran from a murder charge while searching for the lost children he allegedly saw on a train platform. Again there are a lot of characters to track and subplots to follow, but the story was more contrived than the others and the final conclusion really a bit far fetched. Still the characters are interest ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, series, wwi
Third in the Inspector Rutledge series, set in post WWI England. Enjoyable mystery.
Jan 28, 2014 Sheila rated it really liked it
I quite enjoy the books this author/s have written. In this novel, Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to Dorset, England as a young woman has been found dead and the man and two children she was seen with are missing. Rutledge is assigned the task of finding the children. The main suspect is the woman's husband. But the case is not what it first seems. The suspect's wife and children were killed by a bomb in London when he was fighting in France. He was positive the woman he saw and the children wer ...more
Deb Moehrke
Aug 03, 2015 Deb Moehrke rated it liked it
Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to Dorset to help locate two children, presumed dead, and thought to have been killed by their father. As usual, the case is not the straight forward one that the local police would like it to be. This is the third book written by Charles Todd I've read and once again he keeps me guessing to the very end. His characters and plot lines are so well developed that you have to watch for very subtle clues to spot the murderer before he or she is revealed.
May 14, 2015 Patsyann rated it really liked it
I love these books because they are not long books. The stories are short, no secondary characters, Ian Rutledge is a great character and the author really makes me feel like I am in England in 1919. I feel like I am in that little car (possibly a Model T or whatever Model they had in 1919 England) driving around the English countryside.
I didn’t like this book – Ian Rutledge was less tortured, I like him best when he uses his mental state to solve crimes. In this book, his relationship with a ma
Apr 28, 2013 Dorothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Search the Dark is the third in author Charles Todd's excellent Inspector Ian Rutledge series, and, in my view, it is the best so far. Several other entries have followed this one and I will be interested to read them later to see just where the series goes.

But not for a while, I think. After reading the first three books in quick succession in a matter of weeks, it's time for me to move on to something else. First, though, let me tell you about this book.

Inspector Rutledge suffered terribly in
Jul 16, 2008 Stephanie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans, anglophiles, mystery lovers
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Third book in a series of English mysteries set just after the first world war. Many mysteries have a troubled cop, detective, etc... at their heart but in this case the Scotland Yard detective is literally haunted... or mad. Ian Rutledge is a talented detective but he came back from the war with a heavy conscience and the spirit of a scottish soldier that he had shot for disobeying orders squatting in the back of his mind. Whether this is a real supernatural twinge or Rutledge is suffering from ...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 18 books)
  • A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1)
  • Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #2)
  • Legacy of the Dead (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #4)
  • Watchers of Time (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #5)
  • A Fearsome Doubt (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #6)
  • 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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