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A Game of Fear

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This was another wonderful outing in the Ian Rutledge series.  Sad that it was the last written by the co-authored team of mother and son, but they retained their high quality right through to the end.
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The 24th book in the Ian Rutledge series, takes place in 1921. Rutledge, as always is accompanied by the specter of his friend, Hamish, who died in WWI. Hamish serves as Rutledge’s sounding board and conscience. Although Rutledge wasn’t aware of why he had these horrid memories of WWI, today we can see that he suffered from PSTD. Rutledge is called to a small coastal town where a WWI airfield was located. He’s there because a friend of higher-ups in Scotland Yard, Lady Benton, says she saw a murder committed by a dead man. No body was discovered, but as Rutledge wades into the investigation, he discovers there’s murder involved by not done by a dead man. Although there are many different threads spreading out in the story, Todd (the pen name for a mother-son writing team) pulls them all together. Along with all the dead-end leads, Rutledge follows before solving the case, readers learn that his attraction to Kate Gordon continues to grow, as hinted at in previous books. At the end of the book, readers discover that he is being promoted to Chief Inspector, despite the animosity of his boss Markham. In the beginning of the book, readers are told of the death of the co-author’s mother and although the book’s ending indicates more to come, one wonders if the direction of the books might change.
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Inspector Rutledge was sent out to Essex to chase a ghost in the small village of Walmer. But he suspected a more mundane cause when he investigated happenings during the war at a local airfield. Then when a local widow disappears and found hung in one of the airfield sheds, he was certain there was a mortal explanation. He just needed to figure out who was the culprit and catch the murderer before more people were injured or killed. A nicely paced tale with plenty of period details and atmosphere that enhances this series!

Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read this tale!
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…ill met by moonlight!

1921, another nail biting mystery with Inspector Ian Rutledge working on a murder given to him by Chief Superintendent Markham rather as a taunt. Rutledge’s working relationship with Scotland Yard is not an envious one. His thoughts about his colleagues’ actions when told he was off to investigate the sighting of a killer ghost had him acknowledging that too often “humor has a malicious twist to it.” Lady Benton has seen a murder being committed by someone from her moonlit window. Come daylight no body/s we’re found. Someone with influence wants her fears laid to rest.
So up to Essex Ian is sent and of course there’s so much more to this occurrence than meets the eye. Ian becomes involved in searching for a murderer who’s a phantom.
As things start to become clearer the chase becomes just that more dangerous.
Thrilling shifts, moves and counter moves, as Ian plays a game of deadly chess with a cold blooded killer.

A William Morrow and Custom House ARC via NetGalley 
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
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“A Game of Fear,” by Charles Todd, William Morrow, 320 pages, Feb. 1, 2022.

It is spring in 1921. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge to the village of Walmer on the coast of Essex. Lady Felicia Benton claims she saw a murder, but there is no body and no blood. She also insists she saw the killer: Captain Roger Nelson. But Nelson died in a vehicle accident during the war.

The village is near a wartime airfield. Everyone in the village believes that Lady Benton’s losses have turned her mind. Her husband and her only child, Eric, are dead. 

Mary Dunn, who lives nearby, is afraid her son, Gerald, may have deserted. He has been missing for four years. Then Patricia Lowell, who works for Lady Benton, vanishes while leaving work.

Rutledge himself suffers survivor’s guilt. He hears in his mind the voice of Corporal Hamish MacLeod, whom he had shot for refusing to follow orders.

Charles Todd, the mother and son team of Caroline and Charles Todd, is excellent at building suspense and adding atmosphere. I’m sad to say that Caroline Todd died last August at the age of 86. Todd is a pen name. Her real name was Carolyn Watjen and her son’s name is David Watjen. He said she had started to work on “A Game of Fear.”

This is the 24th in the series. You don’t need to read the others in the series first, but you may enjoy it so much that you’ll want to read them. Fans of historical fiction and of mysteries will enjoy this and their second series featuring nurse Bess Crawford.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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Charles Todd's mother and co-author, Caroline, passed away last August, but the pair completed their twenty-fourth Ian Rutledge novel, "A Game of Fear," before her death.  In 1921, Ian travels to the village of Walmer on the Essex coast.  He is there to investigate a strange sighting by Lady Felicia Benton, a widow who saw what appeared to be a murder committed by the ghost of Captain Roger Nelson, whom she knew during the war.  Lady Benton lives in a former abbey that is now a manor house and, after meeting her, Rutledge believes that she is a woman of sound mind who is not likely to see things that are not there. She is also related to the Chief Constable of Scotland Yard. Therefore, Inspector Rutledge is expected to get to the bottom of this bizarre case. 

As fans of this series know, Ian is plagued by the horror of what he saw and did during World War I. Furthermore, the voice of a dead soldier, Corporal Hamish MacLeod, who was under Ian's command, has haunted him for years.  Ian wisely sought help for his emotional problems, and he functions normally—except for bout of claustrophobia, occasional flashbacks, and nightmares.  The authors set their story in a remote area that once housed a busy airfield occupied by airmen and support staff for the RAF. When Rutledge digs into the soldiers' backgrounds, he discovers disturbing evidence that points to the existence of a murderer who may still be at large.

Sadly, Ian's suspicions are borne out when a local resident is killed, and the remains of another body are uncovered.  "A Game of Fear" has plenty of angst and atmosphere, but its plot is slow-moving, the dialogue is repetitious, and the characters do not command our attention.  The villain is a cipher and, other than Ian, there are few individuals in this mystery who comes across as three-dimensional.  Inspector Rutledge is constantly on the move and he seems to come up with solutions out of thin air.  The book's conclusion is flat, anticlimactic, and dreary, and it is heartbreaking that Ian's life seems to be permanently scarred by his traumatic memories and corrosive feelings of guilt.
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As a longtime Ian Rutledge fan, I always know each new series entry will have Rutledge, a troubled WWI vet and Scotland Yard detective, untangling a dark and mysterious murder. Rutledge, like many Great War survivors, suffered from shell shock, what we now call PTSD. He is burdened with the ghost of a soldier he had to shoot for mutiny. 

Rutledge doesn't quite fit anywhere. Although an excellent detective, he is not very communicative and can be high-handed. He is not well liked at Scotland Yard and has been cursed with some very bad superior officers who would just as soon see him gone. And his personal life is non-existent. His fiancee and he broke up after he came whom wounded in body and spirit. He recognizes that it would have been a disastrous match, but still stings from the rejection. 

This book actually holds out a slight bit of hope of a more normal life -- Rutledge has strong feelings for a woman who is struggling with escaping from her family's expectations. It would be nice to see him progress on his tortured journey.

The mystery: a widow has seen a "ghost" -- she thought she glimpsed a man she knows to be dead killing another man. And she lives next to an abandoned airfield and there are a number of oddities: a mechanic who disappeared, an ace pilot who died in a car crash, a camp administrator who commits suicide. Rutledge carefully traces down the individual cases and tries to thread together a scenario. And then a local widow is found dead in a staged suicide.

This is an excellent series, dark and meaty. Thanks to Net Galley and to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Always a quality series, this 24th installment of the Ian Rutledge books is top notch. A Game of Fear begins with the Inspector Rutledge being assigned to a case that has paranormal overtones: Lady Benton, a widow who lost her son in the Great War, claims to have seen a dead Army officer kill another man. With no body and no evidence of a crime, village police are convinced her mind is playing tricks on her; however, given her position in the community, Scotland Yard is called in to aid in the investigation.

While no ghost is involved, murders seemingly committed by a dead man form the crux of the mystery. As always, Rutledge's superior detecting skills tease out clues that have eluded the village force and which come together in a dramatic and satifying denouement. Series fans will also be pleased with some positive turns in Rutledge's personal life. Even Hamish, the voice of Rutledge's war induced PTSD, seems to be a positive player in this investigation.

Even if you have not read the other books in the series, this entry stands on its own and is strongly recommended.

Full Disclosure--NetGalley and the publisher provided me with a digital ARC of this book. This is my honest review.
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Another solid entry in the Ian Rutledge series positions the reader in Essex as Rutledge investigates a "murder" witnessed by Lady Benton and committed by the "ghost" of a man she knows to be dead. 

Charles Todd has created a relatable, vulnerable, but very capable character in Ian Rutledge, who struggles with PTSD from WWI as he conducts his business as a Scotland Yard detective. There are nods to previous Rutledge adventures but a reader new to the series can follow along with ease. 

The plot was a little slow to start, but picked up and kept me going well past my bedtime to a satisfying conclusion. 

Recommended for historical mystery fans.
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I so enjoyed this newest book in the series. Even at 24 books, this series continues to be fresh with different murders and mysteries and Rutledge continues to show growth in his character and his abilities to solve some very difficult murders.

This book sees Rutledge really struggling with his shell shock (what they used to call PTSD), partly because this mystery deals with the war more than some of the others. Hamish, his ever present ghost, is also a bit more vocal and present in this book than in the last couple. He also has to face some old emotions and heartache of his own as he has to travel back to France in pursuit of the truth.

This story is quite different than some of the others in that much of the mystery pertains to events that happened on the airfield during the war. It was really difficult to decide what was true and what was possibly imagined by others in this one. There were some really good twists that were hard to see coming, but the overall tone of the book was somewhat subdued. I never really felt the fear that I perhaps should have given the events as they unfolded.

One of the things I really love about this series is the settings. Rural England after WWI was an interesting mixture of old and new. The conveniences of the city were far and few between in the villages he visits. This is really noticable when he has to drive to the next town just to place a phone call. The details in the writing really make you think that you are visiting these areas yourself.

Another great Inspector Rutledge story. If you have not yet given this series a try, you really should. Although they don’t need to be read in order, you should start with the first one, A Test of Wills, as that one sets up who Rutledge is and how the war affected his life.
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I was disappointed in this latest entry in Todd's series.  There is a strange lack of energy in the book and I never found fear in the atmosphere, although there were plenty of events to cause considerable fear.  Fans of the series, though, likely will be enjoy it.
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Only for fans of this detective series.  If you haven't read others in the series the motivations of the hero aren't particularly interesting.  The mystery didn't gab me and actually I didn't bother to finish it.
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A Game of Fear is the 24th installment in the Ian Rutledge series. For me, an important part of the series is the way Inspector Rutledge copes with his shell shock from WWI. Of course, there was no label at that time. Mental illness was not socially acceptable. In the previous few books, Rutledge seemed to be coping well. In this book, his PTSD is back with a vengeance. As he navigates the case of a ghost committing murder and sifting truth from lies and deception, he must be careful not to let his own ghost get the better of him. 

My condolences to Charles Todd on the death of his mother Caroline Todd. I will sorely miss their collaboration and hope that there is some way to continue the two series. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Rutledge has a challenging new case. A murder with a witness but no body or evidence of one. The very “stiff upper lip” lady of a manor adjacent to an old WW2 airfield has reported a murder in her garden. But it appears nothing happened. Is she losing it or did she really see something? She has connections so Rutledge is sent off to investigate. This was a twisty tale and quite interesting. 
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy for review.
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Excellent addition to the Ian Rutledge series. Rutledge is called to a distant location to investigate a ghost of sorts. The lady of the manor insists she saw a murder, but where is the body, and who was the killer? It's a sticky web of questions, red herrings and things that go bump in the night. Highly recommended.
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Another page-turner by the mother-and-son team under the Charles Todd pseudonym. A great combination of mystery and history!
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Another great Charles Todd title -- I very much enjoy their (Charles Todd is a mother / son writing team) Ian Rutledge post-WWI series.  In this episode, a woman sees a murder take place outside her window but there is no body and the man she can positively identify as the murderer has been dead for many years.  Rutledge has to go back to the time of the and the aviation field nearby to understand what is really happening.  Charles Todd is definitely a notch above the writing skill of your typical cozy. A pleasure to read!
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Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to Essex to investigate a murder. Unfortunately, there is no body and the witness identifies the killer as a deceased airman. One of the most involved mysteries I have read, spanning several years, identities and 2 countries. Excellent!
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I love Charles Todd books. If you've not read any, think a younger, more physically mobile Mr. Bates from 'Downtown Abbey' as a Scotland Yard detective in the early 1920s. This newest book has Rutledge again running hither and yon, trying to solve a murder, but one where there is no body and no real crime scene, out in the country on an estate. Lots of secrets and lots of backstory, most of which you won't learn until the book is nearly over.
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When a lady of the manor sees a dead man commit murder Scotland Yard gives Ian Rutledge the case.

Manor land served as an airfield during World War 1. The dead man was an ace pilot who died in a freak automobile accident in broad daylight. Too many people witnessed the death to believe the captain didn't die but if the lady of the manor says she saw the dead captain then law enforcement responds.

"A Game of Fear," book 24 in this series by mother-son writing team  Charles Tood, is better than ever. The story is unique and intriguing. Rutledge still battles his shell shock but he is slowly allowing himself to hope there might be someone in his future.
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