Saturday, January 17, 2015
A FINE SUMMER'S DAY by CHARLES TODD
Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge series is one I hope you have been reading. Not only is Rutledge an excellent character, through his investigations we get a good look at England post World War I. A Fine Summer's Day however is a prequel showing us the country on the verge of that terrible war and Rutledge's background.
He is an inspector with Scotland Yard before the war and newly engaged to the beautiful Jean Gordon. His sister and an older family friend try to warn him that Jean is not the woman for him and on occasion he has doubts himself but he loves her and she is thrilled to be planning their wedding. She is also determined, as the daughter of a military officer, that he should enlist and go off to war like seemingly every other young man in England. In her mind he would look handsome in a uniform and after a short time as a hero in glorious battle (of which she has no real concept), he would return to her and her social schedule. Rutledge is a realist, doesn't believe there is a good reason for them to go to war, and has no intention of enlisting.
Meanwhile he is thoroughly caught up in a case his superiors order him to leave alone. Several men have died, murdered, Ian thinks, even though one death at first sight seems like suicide. There are similarities in that most have consumed a glass of milk shortly before dying. All are reputable men with no apparent reason to commit suicide and don't seem to have any connection. However, the connection must be there and Rutledge is determined to find it before any more men are killed.
I enjoyed this story but even more I liked seeing the patriotic fever overcoming England as war becomes more definite. Even Rutledge's investigation is affected as young Scotland Yard and police department men rush to enlist and no matter what needs to be done there is a shortage of personnel to do it. And of course the reader knows how many of those young men will never see England again and how many will return maimed.
This is a wonderful addition to a superior series.