A Fatal Lie

Charles Todd. Morrow, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-290557-4
Bestseller Todd’s so-so 23rd novel featuring Scotland Yard’s Insp. Ian Rutledge (after 2020’s A Divided Loyalty) takes Rutledge, in the spring of 1921, to Wales after a boy’s fishing outing at a canal snags a man’s corpse. The body is unidentified, but a tattoo suggests the dead man belonged to one of the Bantam Battalions, units of undersized soldiers who served in WWI. When a label in the cadaver’s shirt yields the name of the woman who special-ordered it, Ruth Milford, Rutledge travels to Shropshire to seek her out. Ruth initially lies about her identity, but the information she reluctantly provides leads Rutledge to believe it was her husband, Samuel, who died. The Milfords’ baby daughter, Tildy, disappeared a year earlier, snatched from her carriage when Ruth briefly left her alone, and is believed dead, and Rutledge pursues the theory that Samuel’s murder is somehow connected with that earlier tragedy. The psychic scars of Rutledge’s WWI trauma are underplayed, and the whodunit plot generates little suspense. Hopefully, Todd (a mother-son writing team) will return to form next time. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, DeFiore and Co. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/10/2020
Release date: 02/16/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-290558-1
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-06-306193-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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