No Shred of Evidence
An Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd
Review: Inspector Ian Rutledge has returned to Scotland Yard after serving the UK Army during the Great War suffering from what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder. Every day is struggle. But his latest case is really a test when he's called in to take over a murder investigation after the previous inspector suddenly dies of a heart attack, in No Shred of Evidence, the eighteenth mystery in this series by Charles Todd.
Four women from good, solid families have been accused of trying to kill a young man, whose small dinghy was sinking off shore. A witness on shore, a local farmer, swam out to help the man, later claiming the women, in a nearby rowboat, were hindering his efforts. One of the women claimed she was using an oar to assist him, but due to the instability of the small boat with its four passengers, the oar clubbed him on the head instead. The farmer, having reached the desperate man, managed to get him into the rowboat, though he was unconscious at the time. Because of the man's head wound, and what the farmer claimed he saw, the women were taken into custody. Unfortunately, by the time the nearly drowned man made it to the hospital, he died, and the case was being handled as a murder investigation. Rutledge sees no motive for the women to kill the man, collectively or individually, indeed there is a case to be made that they were in fact trying to help him. But the farmer's eyewitness testimony, and Rutledge's own nagging doubts, make this a most interesting, and frustrating, case.
There are a number of intriguing elements to No Shred of Evidence. This is not a whodunit-style mystery per se, as Rutledge must first determine if there was intent to kill, and that's where much of his analysis is directed. The cast of characters is interesting and illustrate the class-system in place in 1920s England, where presumption of guilt, and innocence, is almost a matter of evidence and social standing. The pacing of the story is deliberate, not brisk but thoughtful, one that draws readers in. One of the better entries in this fine series, and one that is recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of No Shred of Evidence.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of No Shred of Evidence for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Pattern of Lies
William Morrow (Hardcover), August 2015
ISBN-13: 9780062386243; ISBN-10: 0062386247
Location(s) referenced in No Shred of Evidence: England
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No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd — An Ian Rutledge Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 2016
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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