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A Cold Treachery


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About the Author

CHARLES TODD is the author of The Murder Stone, A Fearsome Doubt, Watchers of Time, Legacy of the Dead, A Test of Wills, Wings of Fire, and Search the Dark. He lives on the East Coast, where he is at work on the next novel in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series.


Todd's latest Ian Rutledge mystery is set in a bleak, isolated Scottish village called Urskdale. Five members of the Elcott family have been found murdered in their kitchen. Only ten-year-old Josh is missing from the blood-spattered scene. Did he witness the murders? Could he have survived the freezing temperatures out on the moor or will his body remain undiscovered until spring? Rutledge organizes a massive search for the boy, while considering possible suspects and motives for the murders. He rescues beautiful Janet Rushton from a carriage accident, which further complicates the plot. A cousin of one of the victims, Janice has a score to settle and motives that are none too innocent. Meanwhile, Rutledge's uneasy truce with the dead soldier Hamish (whose voice Rutledge continues to hear in his head) threatens to crack under the strain of the investigation. Todd's gripping tale illustrates the devastating effects of extreme human emotions in a constricted environment. Urskdale and its inhabitants are clearly drawn. Indeed, the setting takes on an eerie life of its own. Highly recommended for most mystery collections.-Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Traditional mystery lovers who prefer their whodunits enriched with psychological insight will heartily embrace Todd's seventh Inspector Rutledge novel (after 2002's A Fearsome Doubt). Still haunted by the ghost of a corporal whose execution for insubordination he ordered during WWI, Rutledge fights a constant battle to hang on to his sanity by devoting himself to his detective work for Scotland Yard. This time, the brutal massacre of the Elcott family, including two adults and three children, takes him to the Lake District town of Urskdale. While the local authorities prefer to blame an outsider for the murders, the inspector quickly finds the hidden passions churning beneath the stolid surface of the small rustic town. Since one family member, a 10-year-old boy, wasn't found with his relatives' bloody corpses, Rutledge pursues clues suggesting that the missing lad may be either a potential future victim or the killer himself. Todd's ear for dialogue is superb, and he effortlessly conjures up the harsh life of a simple farm community through his vivid characters. As with its predecessors, this novel is imbued with tragic sadness, and Rutledge's struggle with his own demons serves as a moving counterpoint to the searing pain of other characters trapped by circumstances or emotions beyond their control. Perhaps this superb effort will bring Todd an audience to match the deserved critical acclaim he has received. Agent, Jane Chelius. (Jan. 25) FYI: Todd is the pseudonym of a mother-son writing team. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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