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Wings of Fire

(Inspector Ian Rutledge #2)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  7,207 ratings  ·  579 reviews
Rich with atmosphere, luminous period detail, and human complexity, this second brilliant mystery from the author of A Test of Wills—a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Mystery, and Edgar Award nominee—marks the return of Inspector Ian Rutledge, “a dogged and insightful character whose psychological landscape and continuing recovery are deft ...more
Mass Market Paperback, A St. Martin’s Dead Letter Mystery , 323 pages
Published May 15th 1999 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published February 1st 1998)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1
“Shaken from sleep, and numbed and scarce awake,
Out in the trench with three hours' watch to take,
I blunder through the splashing mirk; and then
Hear the gruff muttering voices of the men
Crouching in cabins candle-chinked with light.
Hark! There's the big bombardment on our right
Rumbling and bumping; and the dark's a glare
Of flickering horror in the sectors where
We raid the Boche; men waiting, stiff and chilled,
Or crawling on their bellies through the wire.
"What? Stretcher-bearers wanted? Some
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
For the second time Inspector Ian Rutledge has been sent to the countryside to look into some suspicious deaths. His superior wants him out of the way. Of course it wasn't a demanding read, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. A generous 4 stars. ...more
Deb Jones
This is a meaty, character-driven series set in post-WWI Great Britain. Ian Rutledge is a detective inspector with Scotland Yard, having recently returned from four years of active military duty and time spent in hospital due to injuries and effects from his military service.

Rutledge, who is plagued by the effects of shell shock (today called PTSD) and a severe head injury, is internally haunted by a Highlander Rutledge killed during the war, a man by the name of Hamish. What a wonderful literar
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This second book in the series is not as strong as the first, in my opinion. A little too much merry-go-round with the suspects and a weaker motive discovered in the end. That said, I enjoy Todd's writing and flair for the dramatic, and Ian Rutledge is a strong leading character whom I will continue to follow with this series. Three stars says it all: I liked it. ...more
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
On these books it is all about the mystery. There is no romance, no sex, the dirtiest words are damn and bloody. But I have to read to the end to find out who did it and this book did not disappoint!!
Just lean back enjoy the ride.
There is no CSI, no fingerprints, no latex gloves and most importantly - no search warrants!! Just a good interviewer (kind of a Mentalist type) who reads people and can tell their guilt by looking at their face.
There is always an attractive woman for Ian - and their r
Lewis Weinstein
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
A terrific story.

Inspector Rutledge is on his own, sent out from London to re-investigate three recent deaths which had been closed cases. What he unravels about the dead people and those still alive is a remarkable family history played out over decades. The plot offers many twists and surprises.

Set a few years after WWI, Todd allows the reader to immerse in the period, behind the action and never interfering, but often adding a telling detail.

And of course, Rutledge's man in his head is there
Mary Ellen
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
I gather many GR readers think this book was better than the first Ian Rutledge mystery. Not me. It was a tedious slog that I read to the finish mainly because I'd paid for the thing, and wanted to get my money's worth. Why didn't I like it? For one, it was boring: Rutledge talks to the cousin of the deceased, then the parson, then the housekeeper, then back to the cousin, then to the innkeeper, then maybe someone else, then back to another person he already spoke with...all the while going in c ...more
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I love the idea and setting of this book but I thought it was too complicated of a plot. I was 75% through the book and was still confused on who was who.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it

This is the second novel in Todd’s Inspector Rutledge series. In this installment, Inspector Rutledge is sent to Cornwall by his Scotland Yard superior to investigate the three deaths of three half siblings in a local manor house. Two have apparently died as a result of a suicide pact, the other as a result of an accident. Rutledge is there to investigate the possibility of foul play, although his jealous superior really wants to keep him away from the hunt for a serial killer currently taking p
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is a veteran of World War One. He has survived the war, but is haunted by the memories and experiences of futile frontal assaults and relentless artillery barrages, one of which buried him alive. Unknown to anyone but Rutledge, he hears the voice of one of his men, a Scot named Hamish, who died under circumstances best left discovered by the reader. Hamish is his constant companion, advising, cajoling, and frequently warning Rutledge when he's going off th ...more
Richard Derus
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.75* of five

A more assured second outing for a mystery series that is becoming an addiction! This is a very well-written novel that happens to have a mystery at its center. The role of Hamish-the-voice is a little skimpier this time, not quite as loud on the page; I'm not sure that's entirely to my liking, but I think it's probably the best way to treat that difficult character. He could be a very great distraction, used too freely, though I find him fascinating...sleuth and sidekick on
Christopher Swann
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've enjoyed the other Ian Rutledge mysteries I've read, but this was one of my favorites so far. Mystery/police procedural novels can suffer from too much familiarity and cliche or from gimmicks. Todd sets the Ian Rutledge novels in post-WWI England, which is an interesting historical time period, and the novels reflect that not-so-far-off world quite well, which enough periodic detail to satisfy a historian of the era. The risk Todd makes is that these novels depict Rutledge, a survivor of the ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This wasn't really the English murder mystery I expected, it's really more like a Gothic novel mixed with an English murder mystery. It reminded me a lot of Daphne Dumaurier's Rebecca, and that's a compliment. It has all the Gothic elements: A stormy Cornish coast, a mansion, a family with a complicated family tree and plenty of skeletons in closets, a talented poet who is also a housebound cripple, a witch, and hints of incest, ghosts, mysterious hounds haunting the house and its inhabitants. W ...more
Actual rating: 3.5-3.75, but there's just something not quite letting me rate it as "really liked it".

I did like it, but ... dunno. Perhaps the pace was a bit too slow for me right now. Or it was just that the central mystery, while certainly interesting as such, never properly captivated me. Or perhaps it was the "lyrical singing of jackdaws" that kicked me out of believing in the story and never quite let me back in again. Who knows.

Anyway, still a good book, and Rutledge is a terrific charact
This was an excellent second book in this series. Rutledge is sent to Cornwall to investigate the deaths, believed to be suicides, of two members of a prominent family. Rutledge soon begins to suspect that a string of accidental deaths over many years, all in this same family, may actually have been homicides. This time, Hamish, the inner voice he has carried since WWI, is more an asset than an impediment. Rutledge is also aided by the poetry of one of the dead, a woman whose poetry he has loved ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Really enjoyed this one as well. The coastal setting was fun. I liked the small town and the cast of characters. The sheer number of murders may have been a bit ridiculous, but the character work is really strong. Olivia and Nicholas were interesting. I really liked Rachel Ashford a lot. The local vicar was endearingly sincere and kind. I just liked this. I also really like the psychological aspects of the crime-solving, and of Hamish, the voice in Rutledge's head. ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well color me pleasantly surprised. I had read the first in the series and found it basically okay, but this book was significantly more engaging. I don't know if the mystery was better plotted (much more satisfying reveal IMHO), or because the setting and the characters felt more fully drawn (the first one had sort of a bland generic village aspect to them), but I found this a delightful mystery. ...more
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wings of Fire is the 2nd book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series by Charles Todd. The series is set after WWI and Rutledge is an Inspector in Scotland Yard. He served as a military policeman during the War and returned damaged, not knowing who he was. Somewhat cured, he has returned to work but still is 'haunted' by the voice of Hamish, a Scottish soldier whose death Rutledge bears some responsibility for. Hamish is his conscience and adviser or just a troublesome irritant at times.
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Inspector Ian Rutledge returns to London still fighting his own demons. Scotland Yard is on an all out manhunt for a Ripper copycat. In order to get the glory for himself, Bowles sends Rutledge out on the case in Cornwall to keep Rutledge out of the way in London. When Rutledge arrives to Cornwall, the case seems pretty straight forward. A double suicide and an accident. What really shocks him is that one of the suicides happens to be the author of the poems that got him through the war. As he m ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge is one of those great characters of British crime fiction. He fought in the trenches of WWI France, and came back a shattered man, carrying the guilt of what he had seen in the war. The twist is that his guilt takes form as a very convincing delusion. Rutledge hears the voice of a man who died under his command. This voice, a Scottish officer called Hamish, serves as Rutledge's conscience. It is also the voice of his intuition, which he fears he lost in the ...more
Feb 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book will make you reconsider watching reality TV.

The character on whom much of the story hinges, is dead.
But before her demise, she has managed to marry three men (all of whom die in turn, leaving the way open for the next husband). With each husband she has 2 children, 4 of which are sets of twins. Of the twins, one twin has died of each set, and one husband moved in bringing his niece, and another brought his daughter from a previous marriage.I paused at chapter three and spent some tim
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming back to this book after several weeks, tried my memory. But it didn't take long for me to get back into the plot. Inspector Rutledge has been sent to a small town at the request of a family member who questions whether a joint suicide is really what happened to a brother and sister. As Rutledge delves into the situation, he begins to question the deaths of several other members of the family many years before. The plot kept me guessing. Rutledge is still recovering from the trauma of WWI, ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Very atmospheric, well-plotted historical mystery.

4.5 stars.

For a further review: .
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Too many character names to keep track of but you can see that Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge series has promise. ...more
Colin Mitchell
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Ian Rutledge, back in the Yard following his return from the trenches of France, is sent to Cornwall at the request of the Home Office to look into some suicides that may not be all that the locals want to accept. He finds lots of secrets in the background that may lead him to the killer.

There was not a lot of atmosphere of the surrounding area, which came over more as the Dartmoor of Devon than Cornwall and made me feel I could be anywhere. There are some issues over the American spelling ie co
Sep 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: British mystery fans
This is #2 in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I finished #1 few months ago and was so impressed, I've acquired a number of volumes and plan to read them intermittently over the next year or so. I've never been a big fan of so-called British mysteries but I do like these stories, perhaps because of the characters, especially Rutledge.

Rutledge, a veteran of World War One survived the war, but is haunted by his experiences, including being buried alive in a German artillery barrage. He also he h
Lisa Johnson
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Title: Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge #2)
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 306
Year: 1998
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to investigate an apparent double suicide, followed by another murder all in the same family. His boss wants him out of the way and wants to satisfy an important person by sending someone to investigate these supposed crimes. He is also hoping Inspector Rutledge will fail in this endeavor.
Ian Rutledge has been sent to the small village of Borcom
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the second in the Inspector Rutledge series. In this novel, despite the fact that there is a serial killer in London, Rutledge's superior, Inspector Bowles, does not want him involved in the case especially after his success with his first case. Rutledge knows that Bowles does not want him around, but avoids any confrontation. He is also unsure of himself, wondering if that success was just a fluke. It doesn't help that he has the voice of Hamish, a Sgt he had shot for refusing to follow ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, wwi
WINGS OF FIRE** by Charles Todd (Mystery Fiction, 1920s England) 1 star rating

In 2010, I also greatly enjoyed Charles Todd’s first Ian Rutledge mystery, A Test of Wills. I was excited to find a new series set in a period that fascinates me (WWI and shortly after) and to root for the protagonist, who suffers from shell-shock.

This entry, Wings of Fire, was agonizing to read and I would have dumped it early on but that the title satisfied a reading challenge category. There was a not-quite mystery
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Second in the detective series about Ian Rutledge, the shell-shocked WWI veteran. There's a beautiful period mood about these books, and Todd has a gift for creating a cast of people that you come to be curious and care about. I can honestly say I had a hard time putting this down, I kept wanting to read too fast for the content in order to see Rutledge unravel the mystery. Unlike the first volume, the solution doesn't come out of left field at random, so it was much more satisfying. My only nit ...more
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History & Mystery: Inspector Ian Rutledge 3 18 Mar 19, 2016 11:33AM  

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Charles Todd is the pen name used by the mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd. Together they write the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford Series. They have published two standalone mystery novels and many short stories.

Other books in the series

Inspector Ian Rutledge (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1)
  • Search the Dark (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #3)
  • 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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“dark periods when living seems to be harder than giving up. Have you never felt that death seemed a friend you could turn to gladly?” Hamish” 0 likes
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