Sara's Reviews > The Confession

The Confession by Charles Todd
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's review
Apr 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: audio, 100-in-2012, wwi, cozy-mysteries
Read in April, 2012 — I own a copy

Charles Todd is actually an American mother/son writing team. They write mystery novels set in the World War I period. This happens to be a time that I am completely obsessed with, so I’ll forgive them their lack of firsthand Britishness. The Todd team, henceforth to be refered to just as Charles Todd, currently write two series. My favorite is the Bess Crawford series. Bess is a nurse during WWI and her penchant for investigation dovetails nicely with her desire to help those she encounters.

This book is in the longer Ian Rutledge series. Rutledge was an officer in the war and now serves as a Scotland Yard inspector. What sets Rutledge apart from the many other war veterans of fiction is his severe shell shock. During the war Rutledge was forced to convene a firing squad and execute his sergeant, Hamish McLeod, for refusing an order during battle. Rutledge’s shell shock takes the form of Hamish’s ghost. He never leaves Rutledge in peace, but acts as part conscience, part confidant, part torment. Despite, or perhaps because of Hamish’s presence, Rutledge manages his investigations with keen insight into human nature and a dogged determination to bring criminals to justice.

The Confession centers around an incident wherein a man, calling himself Wyatt Russell confesses to the murder of his cousin. Rutledge cannot hold Russell because the alleged murder occurred five years earlier, in the height of WWI. There is no body or any other corroborating evidence. Rutledge has no choice but to let the man go and poke around on his own. He begins to suspect that Wyatt Russell is not the man’s real name, however, before long the man is the victim of murder himself. Several strange things begin to surface about Wyatt Russell and his family. Russell’s mother is a presumed suicide. Russell and his cousin, the putative victim, are both listed as deserters from WWI. Something happened at River’s Edge years ago and someone is still willing to kill to keep it quiet.
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