BookBrowse Reviews A False Mirror by Charles Todd

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A False Mirror

An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

by Charles Todd

A False Mirror by Charles Todd
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2008, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A high-quality police procedural set in 1920s rural England

Readers first met Ian Rutledge in A Test of Wills (1996) set in 1919. Rutledge, who left a brilliant career at Scotland Yard (British national police headquarters) in 1914 has returned at the end of the Great War, but he is burdened with the heavy secret that he is still suffering from shell shock. With him almost constantly is the cynical, taunting voice of Hamish, a young Scots corporal he was forced to have executed on the battlefield for refusing to fight.

The following ten stories to date each revisit Rutledge one month after the previous one, following the war-damaged detective on his cases that take him to different parts of rural England. The authors (a mother-son writing team) are consciously following this slow pace because they, like many of their readers, are particularly interested to explore the healing process of their wounded protagonist. They also choose to set each mystery in a village or small town location as "the villages were still more or less prewar, compared to the increasingly modern and sophisticated metropolis, and therefore infinitely more interesting in their variety of reaction to change".

In A False Mirror Rutledge continues to be haunted by his time in the trenches, represented by the voice of Hamish who speaks to Rutledge with warnings and advice. Rutledge is busy on a case involving a murder in Green Park in the center of London when he is suddenly taken off the case and sent to the scenic fishing village of Hampton Regis on the south coast of England, where a man who served under Rutledge at the Somme is accused of brutally beating Matthew Hamilton, a local man and foreign diplomat.

The villagers believe Mallory wants Hamilton dead so he can reclaim Felicity, Mallory's former fiancée who didn't wait for him to return from the war. A scenario that reminds Rutledge of his own wartime abandonment.

Mallory, convinced that he will never get a fair hearing from the local authorities because the evidence against him is circumstantial but compelling, has taken Felicity and her maid hostage and refuses to negotiate with anyone other than Rutledge. Despite his personal dislike of the man, Rutledge becomes convinced that Mallory is innocent and that there is something more sinister and complex behind the brutal beating than is first seen.

For anyone already familiar with this series it should be a given that the authors deliver a neatly packaged plot laced with psychological suspense reminiscent of Agatha Christine, Arthur Conan Doyle and P.D. James, but what raises the series above the mass of historical detective mysteries are the memorable characters, the subtlety of the plot-twists, the evocative, fully-realized settings and, most of all, the war-damaged, painfully slow-healing character of Rutledge himself.

It is possible to delve into this series at any point, but if you wish to read in series order, it is as follows:

  1. A Test of Wills (1996).
  2. Wings of Fire (1998)
  3. Search the Dark (1999)
  4. Legacy of the Dead (2000)
  5. Watchers of Time (2001)
  6. A Fearsome Doubt (2002)
  7. A Cold Treachery (2005)
  8. A Long Shadow (2006)
  9. A False Mirror (2007)
  10. A Pale Horse (Jan 2008)

This review was originally published in February 2007, and has been updated for the January 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice


Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Second hand books are wild books...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -