Book Review: Charles Todd’s A Lonely Death

Posted March 18, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

Book Review: Charles Todd’s A Lonely Death

A Lonely Death


Charles Todd

that was published by William Morrow on January 4, 2011 and has 343 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include An Impartial Witness, A Bitter Truth, The Confession, An Unmarked Grave, The Walnut Tree, Proof of Guilt, A Question of Honor, An Unwilling Accomplice, Hunting Shadows, A Pattern of Lies, A Fine Summer's Day, No Shred of Evidence, The Shattered Tree, Racing the Devil, A Casualty of War

Thirteenth in the Inspector Ian Rutledge historical mystery series set in England after WWI in 1920.

In 2011, A Lonely Death won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery.

My Take

Oh man, I have to wait a whole year before the next installment appears about Inspector Ian Rutledge! I really hate that. Especially when it appears that Ian’s personal life is changing, and his professional life has taken a nasty turn. Why is that scum like Detective Superintendent Bowles always seem to rise to the top? Oh wait — it’s like boiling bones for a soup and the scum rises to the top, but isn’t scum normally skimmed off?

Just to keep us from getting too obsessed, Todd throws in a cold case involving Stonehenge and flint and Rutledge’s romantic stresses.

I am very impressed with how Detective Inspector Rutledge manages to solve these crimes. In an age when we are accustomed (at least through CSI, lol!) to using science to help, Rutledge must rely upon psychology (self-taught) and following trails. Whether these are the paths leading back to childhood traumas, family dysfunctions, social expectations, or the effects of war, Ian teases the truth out against a very hostile backdrop.

A fascinating mystery written well enough to keep your interest tightly riveted.

The Story

Three people have been murdered in the Sussex of 1920 England, and the father of the last victim has insisted upon Scotland Yard coming in to investigate, as he is afraid that the local police will simply fixate on his younger son.

Bowles is out of the office, so Rutledge gets assigned to the case where he manages to put a few noses out of joint which leads to behind-the-scene machinations, which could have serious repercussions for Ian.

The Cover and Title

A Lonely Death is a very accurate title for this tale. Over and over again in so many ways. I don’t, however, get the relevance of the cover. If someone could explain this to me?