A Game of Fear by Charles Todd
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Summary from NetGalley:
In this newest installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge is faced with his most perplexing case yet: a murder with no body, and a killer who can only be a ghost.
Spring, 1921. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge to the sea-battered village of Walmer on the coast of Essex, where amongst the salt flats and a military airfield lies Benton Abbey, a grand manor with a storied past. The lady of the house may prove his most bewildering witness yet. She claims she saw a violent murder—but there is no body, no blood. She also insists she recognized the killer: Captain Nelson. Only it could not have been Nelson because he died during the war.
Everyone in the village believes that Lady Benton’s losses have turned her mind—she is, after all, a grieving widow and mother—but the woman Rutledge interviews is rational and self-possessed. And then there is Captain Nelson: what really happened to him in the war? The more Rutledge delves into this baffling case, the more suspicious tragedies he uncovers. The Abbey and the airfield hold their secrets tightly. Until Rutledge arrives, and a new trail of death follows…
ARC provided by William Morrow publishers via NetGalley for an honest review.
For those of you not familiar with this series, the author Charles Todd is a pen name for a mother and son duo that actually write together on this series and another one. Together they have written over 40 books. Sadly Caroline Todd passed away in November and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family. But I am also happy that we will have one more book by this duo to love and cherish.
I so enjoyed this newest book in the series. Even at 24 books, this series continues to be fresh with different murders and mysteries and Rutledge continues to show growth in his character and his abilities to solve some very difficult murders.
This book sees Rutledge really struggling with his shell shock (what they used to call PTSD), partly because this mystery deals with the war more than some of the others. Hamish, his ever present ghost, is also a bit more vocal and present in this book than in the last couple. He also has to face some old emotions and heartache of his own as he has to travel back to France in pursuit of the truth.
This story is quite different than some of the others in that much of the mystery pertains to events that happened on the airfield during the war. It was really difficult to decide what was true and what was possibly imagined by others in this one. There were some really good twists that were hard to see coming, but the overall tone of the book was somewhat subdued. I never really felt the fear that I perhaps should have given the events as they unfolded.
One of the things I really love about this series is the settings. Rural England after WWI was an interesting mixture of old and new. The conveniences of the city were far and few between in the villages he visits. This is really noticable when he has to drive to the next town just to place a phone call. The details in the writing really make you think that you are visiting these areas yourself.
Another great Inspector Rutledge story. If you have not yet given this series a try, you really should. Although they don’t need to be read in order, you should start with the first one, A Test of Wills, as that one sets up who Rutledge is and how the war affected his life.