Like the others in this series, Charles Todd's latest Inspector Rutledge mystery is in part a ghost story, but one that only frightens the protagonist. Inspector Ian Rutledge has returned to Scotland Yard after fighting in the trenches in World War I...and combating shell shock, something he has managed to hide from everyone except a hostile superior. To make matters worse, he is haunted by Hamish MacLeod, a young soldier he was forced to execute for cowardice.
This book (the 12th in the series) opens with a moving scene in which a young woman, living alone in a rural farmhouse, looks for a way to welcome her husband home from the war. The story then shifts to London, where Inspector Rutledge is first mugged (allowing the desperate young man to escape and attack again) and then called in to investigate a sick man's disappearance from a clinic. The victim (if he is one) is one of three brothers in the Teller family, and as Rutledge investigates, his case is connected with the death of a woman, also named Teller, in a rural farmhouse...
I like this series. It's serious and moody, and the mechanism of hearing Hamish's voice (sometimes helpful, sometimes haunting) is an effective twist. It seems almost credible that Hamish could be haunting him, certainly that he could think so. (As you might guess, this book was especially enjoyable as an audiobook.)
I've read several of the books in this series, and A Duty to the Dead, the first in a new series about Bess Crawford, an independent young English woman who becomes a nurse at the outbreak of World War I. There's a second book in that series due out soon (and I'm looking forward to reading it).
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