Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: The Black Ascot by Charles Todd

Kerry Hammond is here with a review of the latest book in one of her favorite series.

The Black Ascot by Charles Todd is the 21st book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and it releases on February 5, in Hardcover from Willian Morrow. Rutledge is a Scotland Yard detective who fought for England in World War I. As with many who served, Rutledge came back a wounded man, but his wounds are not visible to the naked eye. He suffers his demons alone, keeping his shell shock as much to himself as he can. He tries to lose himself in his work and uses it to cope with his condition.

The year is 1921 and the detective’s most recent case involves a re-evaluation of an investigation that has gone cold. Ten years earlier, Alan Barrington was accused of murder. Rather than face the noose, Barrington fled and hasn’t been seen or heard from….until now. A sighting of the fugitive causes Rutledge to delve into the original investigation and examine the witness testimony. His keen eye soon notices discrepancies and inconsistencies in the evidence, and Rutledge is determined to discover what really happened all those years ago.

I am a huge fan of the Ian Rutledge series and have been reading from the very beginning. Each time I proclaim a book my favorite in the series, the authors go and write a new and even better one. The Black Ascot is definitely up there as one of the best. It’s just the sort of mystery that I love, enough of a puzzle that I can’t wait to get to the end to see how Rutledge pieces it all together. 

The series is by no means a fast-paced thriller, rather the authors take their time and the reader learns of the murder and subsequent investigation piece by piece, right alongside our detective. These books aren’t about violence, they’re about secrets, and that's why they're so entertaining. 

I enjoy the writing style and the authors’ ability to transport the reader back to the early part of the 20th century, at a time when England was still recovering the loss of so many brave soldiers. A quick read of the Acknowledgments in the books will tell you a bit about what inspired each installment. There is usually a village, castle, or event that creates a nugget of an idea for the authors. With that nugget, a mystery is created. It adds even more to the story for me to know that one of the locations or residences actually exists and that it was used as part of the story. 

As a side note: these books can be read independently or in order from the first in the series.  

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

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