Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About The Book
Hampton Regis, a small harbor town on the southern coast of England, is a
most unlikely place for violence. Yet, one spring morning, a man is found on the
strand so severely beaten that he slips in and out of consciousness. The prime
suspect? His wife's jilted lover, who served with Rutledge in the recently ended
Great Warbut who left the Front under a cloud. Badly wounded, yes, but did
someone also cover up cowardice? It falls to Scotland Yard Inspector Ian
Rutledge to find out.
Questions Relating to A False Mirror
- In A False Mirror, people see reflections of themselves that they
believe are true. Even Rutledge sees in the love triangle an echo of his
relationship with Jean. How does this affect his objectivity when dealing
with Mallory or Felicity?
- How does Felicity change or grow in the course of the novel?
- Guilty consciences play a role in the actions of characters. For
instance, the rector, who sees his own failure and Stratton who sees his own
guilt. How does this impact their actions?
- Which character had the most impact on you, in the course of the novel?
Questions Relating to The Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
- In World War I "shell shock" was considered cowardice, loss of nerve, a
disgrace. Todays modern diagnosis is post traumatic stress disorder. How
does Rutledges shell shock and his perception of responses to it affect his
behavior and that of others?
- How important a part in Rutledges recovery does his fiancée Jean play,
and how does her rejection affect his relationship with other women. Does he
often find in them something that was lacking in his idealistic memory of
- How does the setting affect the characters?
- The interaction between Chief Superintendent Bowles and Rutledge is
based in part on the changing face of Scotland YardBowles is the
up-through-the ranks man, while Rutledge represents the new better educated
and trained policeman. How strong an influence is a boss in the lives of
- Murder, according to the authors, is a failure in relationships. Do you
think an ordinary person can be driven beyond their ability to endure or
cope, and see murder as the only way out?
- Hamish, whose voice Rutledge hears, is a strong character in his own
right. Yet hes seen through Rutledges eyes. How do you respond to Hamish
as a man? What role does Hamish play?
- Rutledge was rejected by his fiancée Jean. And afterwards hes resisted
involvements. Do you feel a love interest for Rutledge is possible?
- In their books looking back at the Twentieth Century, both Peter
Jennings and Tom Brokaw referred to World War One as the pivotal event that
shaped the rest of the century. How does Rutledges experience in the
trenches shape your view of war?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.