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A Lonely Death

(Inspector Ian Rutledge #13)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,581 ratings  ·  433 reviews

“Todd’s Ian Rutledge mysteries are among the most intelligent and affecting being written these days.”
Washington Post

Critics have called Charles Todd’s historical mystery series featuring shell-shocked World War One veteran Inspector Ian Rutledge “remarkable” (New York Times Book Review), “heart-breaking” (Chicago Tribune), “fresh and original” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel). In A Lonely Death, the haunted investigator is back in action, trying(South(Chicago(NewPost


Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  4,581 ratings  ·  433 reviews

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A Lonely Death: Charles Todd's Mixture of War and Revenge

It's time to confess that I have my own guilty pleasures on my library shelves. Mine happen to be the Inspector Ian Rutledge novels by Charles Todd.

If you've not met Inspector Rutledge, this is definitely not your starting place. A Lonely Death is his twelfth case. The series dates back to A Test Of Wills.

So, I suppose that a bit of background is in order. Rutledge is an Inspector for Scotland Yard. He is not the favorite of Chief Superintendent Paul Bowles. Perhaps it i
Lewis Weinstein
I have read and enjoyed several Charles Todd novels ... this one, not so much. There were so many characters, so many themes, and none of them were very well developed. I guess the most defining aspect of my lack of excitement is that I didn't really care who the murderer turned out to be. Not good for a "who-done-it."
Lynne Perednia
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One by one, WWI veterans in a small village are murdered. Alone in the wee hours of the morning as farmers or brewers, they are garrotted with the identity disc of a soldier left in their mouths. The names on the discs are not theirs. Why are they being targeted? Why are other men's names placed in their mouths? Was there anything that happened during the war that led to being murdered afterward? Or before that, when they were all lads in the village?

Haunted Scotland Yard Inspector I
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot was great, the characters were great, the setting was just splendid. Can we please have just one happy thing happen to poor Ian? Is that too much to ask? Overall I felt depressed when this book ended and even though the writing was good I'm not sure I'll continue with the series.
First Sentence: The sod had grown over the graves, turning the torn earth a soft green, and the rows of white crosses gleamed brightly in the morning sun.

Veterans of The War survived the horrors of fighting only to now be murdered in this Sussex village of Eastfield. Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is sent to find a killer whose mark is killing with a garrote and leaving identity disks, but not their own, in the mouths of the victims. How many more will die and might one of t
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A period detective story, set just after World War One. Scotland Yard detective Rutledge is called in to investigate the deaths of three men in a small Sussex village. It would appear initially that the deaths are unrelated apart from the timing. When Rutledge begins to ask questions a variety of possible connections begin to surface.

The writing here is very restrained, as befits the time period. There are continual references to the war and its effect on those involved. The quality of the writing onsurface.

Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This mystery series has as its protagonist a man flawed and damaged from his service in WWI. He is shell shocked and frequently has flashbacks of his experiences. His hallucination and constant companion is a man in his regiment, of whom Rutledge was forced to make an example and of whose loss he has never recovered. Hamish both taunts him with his shortcomings and brings him to his senses when needed. The series is remarkable as it explores the horrors of war and tremendous burden of the office ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Someone is killing former soldiers using a garrote and leaving identity discs in their mouths. Inspector Ian Rutledge along with his ghost Hamish investigate. Rutledge also investigates a cold case over ten years old. Eventually he is accused of attacking a fellow inspector and must defend himself.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been generally enjoying this series, but this one is... not good, on really a number of fronts.

1. The mystery is predictable. I knew who it was, and how he was moving around unnoticed about midway through the book.

2. There are a couple of staggering coincidences in two of the sub-plots (the Mrs. Channing sub-plot, and how Rutledge helps Cummings solve the case that haunted him). One of the coincidences would have had me rolling my eyes. In combination, they were ri
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

London, July, 1920 – Chief Inspector Cummins is clearing out his desk in preparation for his retirement. Ian Rutledge is helping him pack up his books when Cummins begins to talk about his years at Scotland Yard. He tells Rutledge that he enjoyed the hunt, the chase to catch the criminal but there is one case he has not been able to solve and it has haunted him for fifteen years. “I was a little superstitious about it, if you want the truth. I kept the folder on my desk for years, telling myself
Amy Corwin
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of the Inspector Ian Rutledge historical mysteries and this one is yet another engrossing read. Todd blends heartbreaking detail of the post WWI era with the psychological complexity of men trying to resume their lives after a devatating war.

In A Lonely Death, Rutledge is sent to Eastfield to investigate the deaths of three men. The men were garrotted when they were alone and identify tags were left in their mouths. But the names on the tags are not the men who were murdered. Th
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of historical mysteries
The latest (for me) of the Ian Rutledge mystery series finds him in the middle of career and personal crises. This time he is sent to Sussex to unravel the death by garrote of three local war veterans, all young men who had managed to make it home only to be murdered for no apparent reason. This case would tax Rutledge in personal and professional ways before its ultimate solution. As always, Hamish continues his invisible presence throughout the case, sometimes frighteningly strong. As well, he ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the Ian Rutledge series. This was a well-written and plotted book, following the investigation much like a real investigation, following all the twists and turns, reaching dead ends and then trying another theory. It kept me very involved in the story until the end. One of the best books in the series. I would give a 4.5 if possible. The only reason I deduct a half a star is because there was a subplot that was interesting until the end of the book. There was a shocking conclusion to this ...more
Richard Brand
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Rutledge story was a little bit more straight forward as to the murderer. There were lots of complications but it was a little more satisfying than a few others I have read. I was glad to see that Rutledge is starting to think about a new romance, but Todd sure put an end to it quickly. Maybe it will come again.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best Ian Rutledge--and I've read all but the most recent one. A fascinating plot, good characterization, and at last a climax that really ends things in a worthwhile way, instead of just finding out whodunit out of left field. This is a worthwhile series for those who like the setting: post-WWI in England, and the Rutledge character.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but my frustrations with the series remain. A too-neat tie-up of the two mysteries, a chase rather than deduction (in fact, I started to wonder if I'd missed something repeatedly, but even upon rewinding found there were just abrupt transitions and characters who were not differentiated enough). Still a good mystery compared to the sexist dreck I've been finding lately.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another moody, interesting mystery by Charles Todd. The subplot mystery seemed to come out of left field a bit and wasn't as well-integrated with the main story for my liking, but the gloomy brooding tone of the main mystery was a good rad.
These books are just starting to feel a little too formulaic and Rutledge just too distant. How about we have a book from Hamish's perspective?
Elly Wendy
3* I admire writers who construct lengthy, intricate plots such as this one. I am enjoying the Ian Rutledge series with the insights into that period of history, though it is largely a bleak picture. There is darn little, if any, humour for relief. But the stories do pull me along. As in the others, it seems difficult in works of this complexity to avoid a few bloopers, and if I am correct in my assessment, then I wish the talented writers had a little more help with the proofreading/editing. Th ...more
K. East
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These very involved mysteries from another time in history might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I do enjoy listening to them on audiotape while running multiple errands. Much of what happens in the working out of the mystery in the Inspector Rutledge series "happens" in Rutledge's mind. And now the author has added another element of internal conflict with the haunting memory of Hamish, the friend he had killed in the war. But while poor Ian never seems to have his love life run smoothly, he ...more
Surprised to find this was thirteenth in the series rather than the third which I'd actually intended to read. No wonder I felt there were gaps in my memory (there are, but in this case there are ten books in the series before this one that I have yet to read). Anyway, I still enjoyed this, and Simon Prebble's narration, as is to be expected, was first-rate.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Funny that bullying would be such a core reason for revenge; somehow, like most, I’ve buried those long-ago inflicted wounds that to carry them into my adult life seems preposterous, but is it?
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I did get mildly annoyed with how LONG this story dragged on (why so much info on the back and forth runnings of Rutledge??) I was very intrigued with the side plot with Merideth. I'll be more curious to see how that plays out more so than any of the actual "murders."
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Consistently enjoyable tales.
Gail Richmond
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing team of Charles Todd has done it again. There is nothing so satisfying as an Inspector Ian Rutledge novel, and this time the inspector himself has to fight to prove he is innocent while searching for hidden clues.

Well-written with suspense and the finely woven mystery elements in a detailed English setting, this novel will entertain with both its historic elements of post-WWI and the atmosphere of a contemporary serial killer.
It is 1920 and ex-soldiers who survived the horror of the trenches in World War I are being killed in a particularly gruesome manner in the quiet countryside of England. Three men have been garroted, and in the mouth of each has been found one of the identification discs that World War I soldiers carried into battle. However, the identification disc with which each man was found is not his own, and, in fact, appears to be unrelated to that particular ex-soldier. It seems a classic case of misdir ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great who done it! Also nice to find out a bit more about the Inspector's personal life, beyond the war that is.
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how I could have missed Inspector Ian Rutledge in my constant search for new "detective" novels. But now I'll read others about him.

Inspector Rutledge is with Scotland Yard just after the Great War. He is a veteran and suffers some aftereffects. One is the nearly constant voice of Hamish MacLeod, a Corporal under his command, who refused a direct order from Rutledge and was sentenced to the firing squad. Now Hamish is the little bird on the shoulder, with whom Rutledge h
Lisa Hura
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s always tough to come into a series of books in the middle. I imagine it’s hard for an author, as well — to make sure that new readers have enough information to understand the story, without boring your longtime readers. A Lonely Deathby Charles Todd does an excellent job of involving you in the ongoing story. It made me want to seek out the rest of the series and add it to my TBR list.

A Lonely Death is part of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series. Rutledge is a war veteran
Jeannie Walker
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three soldiers meet a horrible death in a quiet countryside, after they successfully survived the horrors of the great war of World War I. There is a serial killer at loose and Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard knows this when a fourth soldier is found dead. Each one of the murder victims were strangled in a horrific manner. One of the victims even had a false leg and was no match for the clever and vicious killer. The murderer leaves little to no clues, except for similar items (a small ID di ...more
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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 22 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 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)
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