cover image A Lonely Death

A Lonely Death

Charles Todd, Morrow, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-172619-4

Scotland Yard Insp. Ian Rutledge returns to France for the first time since he survived the horrors of trench warfare in the pseudonymous Todd's fine 13th mystery featuring the tormented and all-too-human sleuth (after 2010's The Red Door). In 1920, with his spirits shaken by the suicide of a fellow veteran, Rutledge travels to Sussex to catch a killer who's already garroted three men, all of whom served in WWI. When Rutledge presses his inquiries aggressively, a local's complaint leads to his removal from the case. Frustrated at the internal police machinations, which appear aimed at keeping him from advancement rather than assessing the validity of the charges against him, the inspector joins a friend on a mission of mercy across the Channel. The mother-son writing team could have dispensed with a contrived subplot involving a cold case, but as usual their subtle prose and profound empathy for all their characters enhance a suspenseful and twisty plot. (Jan.)