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    Review of THE CONFESSION by Clarles Todd


    William Morrow, January 2012

    A stranger walks into the office of Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge and confesses a murder. When Rutledge presses him for details, the man backs off, refuses to explain--other than to say that he's dying. But the mystery takes a darker turn when that man turns up murdered himself.

    The case seems to haunt Rutledge. He returns again and again to the small fishing (and smuggling) village where the murder supposedly took place. The village is aggressively silent, guarding its secrets and holding onto its ancient ways. Worse, what Rutledge is able to learn proves that the man was lying--at least he wasn't who he claimed to be

    Set in 1920, the memories of World War I hang heavily over England. Rutledge himself suffered from shellshock and his haunted by the voice of a friend and subordinate whom he had shot for mutiny. Just about every young male seems to have fought and been damaged by the horrible war, and the weight of the war is a burden that none can get past.

    Author Charles Todd spins and intriguing and disturbing mystery. The village of Essex, with its many secrets, becomes a central character--damaging each of its residents. Rutledge's ghost, Hamish, is a matching secret: should Scotland Yard learn about Rutledge's shellshock, his career will be destroyed.

    While Todd's mood-setting is excellent, there were times when the mystery seemed slow. There was a lot of back-and-forth travel with not many clues. Some of Rutledge's bad decisions led to problems that could have been foreseen, which made it hard for me to be very sympathetic to him. Despite these quibbles, I enjoyed THE CONFESSION--my first exposure to Todd and his Inspector Rutledge. The post-war setting and village seemed particularly compelling.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/29/11

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