A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #11)

A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #11)

by Charles Todd


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The superb new entry in the historical series The New York Times Book Review hails as "outstanding" and the Cleveland Plain Dealer calls "superb"

At the turn of the century, in a war taking place far from England, two soldiers chance upon an opportunity that will change their lives forever. To take advantage of it, they will be required to do the unthinkable, and then to put the past behind them. But not all memories are so short.

Twenty years later, a successful London busi-nessman is found savagely and bizarrely murdered in a medieval tithe barn on his estate in Somerset. Called upon to investigate, Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge soon discovers that the victim was universally despised. Even the man's wife—who appears to be his wife in name only—and the town's police inspector are suspect. But who, among the many, hated him enough to kill?

Rutledge tenaciously follows a well-concealed trail reaching back to an act so barbarous and with consequences so devastating that even the innocent are enveloped by the murderous tide of events. As he summons all his skills to break through a wall of silence in time to stem this tide, others are eager to twist the truth for their own ends. When justice takes a malevolent turn, can Rutledge's own career survive?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061233609
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/08/2009
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Series , #11
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 335
Sales rank: 74,257
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. Among the honors accorded to the Ian Rutledge mysteries are the Barry Award and nominations for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s Dilys Award, the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the U.S., and the John Creasey Award in the UK. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

Read an Excerpt

A Matter of Justice

Chapter One

The Scilly Isles

May 1920

Ronald Evering was in his study, watching a mechanical toy bank go through its motions, when the idea first came to him.

The bank had been a gift from a friend who knew he collected such things. It had been sent over from America, and with it in a small pouch were American pennies with which to feed the new acquisition, because they fit the coin slot better than the English penny.

A painted cast-iron figure of a fat man sat in a chair, his belly spreading his brown coat so that his yellow waistcoat showed, and one hand was stretched out to receive his bribe from political figures and ordinary citizens seeking his favor. His name was "Boss" Tweed, and he had controlled political patronage in New York City in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Through an alliance between Tammany Hall and the Democratic Party, graft had been his stock-in-trade. Now his image was encouraging children to be thrifty. A penny saved . . .

The note accompanying the gift had ended, "Look on this as a swindler of sorts for the swindled, my dear Ronald, and take your revenge by filling his belly full of pennies, in time to recoup your pounds. . . ."

He hadn't particularly cared for the tone of the note, and had burned it.

Still, the bank was a clever addition to his collection.

It had been a mistake to confide in anyone, and the only reason he'd done it was to vent his rage at his own impotence. Even then he hadn't told his friend the whole truth: that he'd invested those pounds in order to look murderers in the face, to see, if such a thing existed, what it was thatmade a man a killer. In the end all he'd achieved was to make himself known to two -people who had no qualms about deliberately cheating him. The explanation was simple...they wanted no part of him, and losing his money was the simplest way to get rid of him without any fuss. He hadn't foreseen it, and it had become a personal affront.

He had sensed the subtle change in the air when he'd first given his name, and cursed himself for not using his mother's maiden name instead. But the damage was done, and he'd been afraid to let them see what he suspected.

Yet it had shown him...even though he couldn't prove it...that he'd been right about them. What he didn't know was what to do with that knowledge.

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord . . . But the Lord had been remarkably slow exacting it. If anything, these two men had prospered.

And he had had no experience of vengeance.

There was only his mother, crying in his father's arms, this quiet, unassuming woman fiercely demanding that whoever had killed her dear boy be punished. A ten-year-old, listening from the shadows of the stairs, shocked and heartbroken, had endured nightmares about that moment for years afterward. And it was his mother's prodding after his father's death that had sent him to Cape Town in 1911, to bring her dear boy home from his South African grave.

"Your father couldn't do it. But you must," she'd urged him time and again. "It's your duty to Timothy, to me, to the family. Bring him home, let him lie beside your father in the churchyard, where he belongs. Find a way, if you love me, and let me see him resting there before I die!"

Trying to shake off the memory, Evering took another penny from the pouch and placed it in Boss Tweed's outstretched hand.

Almost quicker than the eye could follow, the hand slid the penny into the waistcoat pocket as Boss Tweed's head moved to nod his thanks.

The man smiled. It was no wonder he preferred these toys to -people. He had come home from Cape Town with his brother's body, after two years of forms and long hours in hot, dusty offices in search of the proper signatures. What he hadn't bargained for was the information he'd collected along the way. Information he had never told his mother, but which had been a burden on his soul ever since. Almost ten years now. Because, like Hamlet, he couldn't make up his mind what to do about what he knew.

Well, to be fair, not ten years of single-minded effort.

The Great War had begun the year after his return from South Africa, while he was still trying to discover what had become of those two men after they left the army. It wasn't his fault that he'd been stationed in India, far from home. But that had turned out to be a lucky break, for he discovered quite by accident where they were and what they were doing. In early 1918 he'd been shipped back to London suffering from the bloody flux, almost grateful for that because he was able at last to look into the information he'd come by in Poona.

Only he'd misjudged his quarries and made a fool of himself.

It wouldn't do to brood on events again. That way lay madness.

On the shelves behind him was an array of mechanical and clockwork toys, many of them for adults, like the golden bird that rose from an enameled snuffbox to sing like a nightingale.

Banks were a particularly fine subject for such mechanical marvels. A penny tip to the owner sent a performing dog through a hoop. In another example, a grinning bear disappeared down a tree stump as the hunter lifted his rifle to fire. Humor and clever design had gone into the creation of each toy. The shifting weight of the penny set the device concealed in the base into motion, making the action appear to be magical.

He had always found such devices fascinating, even after he'd worked out the mechanism that propelled them. His mind grasped the designer's plan very quickly, and sometimes he had bettered it in devices of his own. Skill calling to skill. He took quiet pride in that.

A Matter of Justice. Copyright © by Charles Todd. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #11) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
voraciousreaderFL More than 1 year ago
Great story! I now have another mystery author to look-out for. I'll be acquiring as many of the previous Inspector Rutledge stories as I can find!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've become very attached to Ian and Hamish his "unconventional" partner. The story line is full of twist and turns. The settings are vivid and full of the mood of the seasons. Each book adds a little more to the person who is Ian Rutladge and his struggle with the aftermath of the war he survived. Characters return and others are added. Each is very real because each exhibits human behavior in all its endless variety,good,evil,kind,and self-centered. It's in determining who lets what behavior rule that we find our killer while also understanding who the victim really was.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1920, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is in Scotland attending his friend¿s Somerset wedding when his London based superior informs him to go to nearby Cambury to lead a murder investigation. Ian arrives at the affluent Hallowfield estate to find the ¿squire¿ former financier Harold Quarels hanging from a harness used to hold the Christmas angel used as part of the holiday gala. He and his inner ghost Hamish MacLeod, whom he had executed during the war, agree that whoever did this murder was extremely angry at the victim.

Constable Padgett who found the corpse is not very helpful and in fact he impedes the inquiry. In spite of the local cop¿s hindrance, Ian begins to learn that every villager, estate workers, and even Harold¿s wife loathed him and had motives to kill him. Additionally his business partner Davis Penrith and Quarels only recently ended their relationship and several people lost a ton of money due to Quarles's failed African investment strategy. However, Ian and Hamish feel all this just obfuscates the real reason for the homicide; which lies in revenge of multiple murders and theft during the Boer War two decades ago.

The latest Rutledge-MacLeod post WWI police procedural is a strong entry in one of the best anti-war series on the marketplace. Readers ironically know who is behind the murder and why long before Ian figures it out after additional killings occur. Although Hamish seems to behave himself a bit more than usual, fans will relish this excellent historical whodunit as Charles Todd affirms he is no chicken hawk as he once again makes it clear his position that war is only good for the profiteers and politicians.

Harriet Klausner
Scrabblenut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have loved most of the Inspector Rutledge mysteries, and I did enjoy this one as well. However I don't like mysteries where the reader knows most of the answers before the main story even begins, so that spoiled this one for me a bit, although there were still some surprises at the end. The characters were interesting and there was lots of psychology involved in the story.
BCCJillster on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as much personal development of Rutledge or Hamish as the earlier books, but I still love visiting with them.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A complex case with its roots in the Boer War confronts Inspector Rutledge. Harold Quarles was cordially hated by almost everyone, including his wife and the local police inspector. But which one killed him? The answer is signalled from the beginning, but there's enough doubt to sustain the puzzle.An okay read, but not one of the better entries in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another Charles Todd success. Took a few chapters to get involved, but after getting some background on the characters, could not put this one down for long. Love the detail on the countryside, townspeople and customs of old Great Britain. Things are not what they seem and the twist and turns climax another notch in Rutledge's belt... Great read....
BookLoverCT More than 1 year ago
I just discovered this Charles Todd series in January. I am reading them all, in order, and have enjoyed them all. I love to switch off my reading between several favored authors and each time, I look forward to getting involved in the Inspector latest mystery. The Harold Quarels story was excellent .. kept me guessing throughout. I enjoy Hammish, and try to 'read' it in his accent.
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BelleMM More than 1 year ago
I Started with the first book in this series a little over a year ago. I am addicted. The book starts a bit slow, but don't put it down, the author is building his story.... and what a story!! This author draws you in and paints a picture you can see in your mind. Totally immersing you in the world of Ian Rutledge and the time after the war. But not just the mystery itself but the plight of the people, and the soldiers after the war. So many widows and fatherless or orphaned children. History tends to leave that out. This book tells the good and the bad and weaves it into a page turning novel that will have you staying up late to read just one more chapter.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am hooked on Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge mysteries. Todd gives the reader an in-depth look at the post WWI period in areas of England while the Inspector solves a murder mystery. The books are also a strong critique on war. Each of Todd's mysteries is engrossing and well written. I highly recommend them.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the main character, Ian Rutledge, but this was not one of my favorite stories. Still a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReaderShan33 More than 1 year ago
I love mysteries, but this one left me flat. I found it slow and boring. Maybe you would like it better. The cover is what enticed me...it looked creepy. But it turned out to just be so so.
lb7 More than 1 year ago
Good book! This is a good series and the authors are wonderful in the development of complex characters and also in informing the readers of the historical times that surround the story's setting.