A Pale Horse
An Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd
Review: The mother and son team of Caroline and Charles Todd (writing as Charles Todd) have crafted a wonderfully atmospheric story in A Pale Horse, the tenth mystery in this series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge.
It is April, 1920. A man has been murdered in an abbey in Yorkshire. The unusual circumstances of the crime are that he was clothed in a monk's robe and a gas mask, similar to those worn by the Germans when they released their lethal gasses in the Great War. He was also found with a book on alchemy. His identity is unknown. And he was not killed where he was found, rather his body moved there sometime after his murder. Meanwhile, a man has gone missing in Berkshire, over 200 miles to the south of Yorkshire. Inspector Rutledge is sent to investigate but isn't even given the name of the missing man. A link between these two cases seems unlikely and yet, as Rutledge begins to ask questions, he's not sure they aren't. In nearby Wiltshire, a village lies beneath a green knoll where centuries ago a chalk white horse was etched into the limestone. Below the horse is a community of old homes originally built for lepers, outcasts from society. The current residents also want to separate themselves from others, but for reasons known only to them. With no one admitting to knowing anything, Rutledge must use every resource available to him to determine what has happened and why.
A Pale Horse is a brilliantly written mystery, carefully and meticulously plotted. Rutledge, who suffers from shell shock from his service in the Great War, and his inner self, Hamish McLeod, make a terrific investigative "team". Other characters are equally memorable and add immeasurably to the thrill in following the investigation as it crosses the counties of England. At times Rutledge isn't even sure he's pursuing someone, yet he must continue as he believes that he has to speak for the dead.
The title no doubt refers to the horsemen of the apocalypse, the fourth of which, Death, rides a pale horse. It's deceptively clever. A Pale Horse is a hard book to set down as seemingly each page offers another opportunity for intrigue. It is highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Pale Horse.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of A Pale Horse for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Bitter Truth
William Morrow (Hardcover), August 2011
ISBN-13: 9780062015709; ISBN-10: 0062015702
Location(s) referenced in A Pale Horse: England
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A Pale Horse by Charles Todd — An Ian Rutledge Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 2008
List Price: $23.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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