Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Test of Wills

by Charles Todd

For some reason, this year has been filled with Stephen King and first books in a series. A Test of Wills falls into the latter category, being Book 1 of the Inspector Rutledge mysteries. Suffering from PTSD after WWI, Ian Rutledge returns to his post as an inspector with Scotland Yard. His supervisor, wanting to find a reason to dismiss him, sends Rutledge off to solve a seemingly unsolvable small village murder.

The first section of the book is pretty good in revealing the murder and identifying a number of possible suspects, as well as building the character of Rutledge and the ghosts of his past, one of which will not leave him alone. However, once the investigation begins, there seems to be a lot of repetition without much story-building. Rutledge returns to the same suspects over and over with the same questions and results until the "surprise" ending, which seems to come out of nowhere. Even as the story progressed I expected this exact type of ending.

I think this may be a decent first of a mystery series. Easy reading with a hint of historical reference, but not enough to qualify as historical fiction (in my opinion). I might pick up another one in a pinch. If you like Maisie Dobbs, Ladies Detective Agency or Flavia de Luce novels, you'd like this one.

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