BOOK REVIEW: A FALSE MIRROR
A False Mirror is the ninth book in the Ian Rutledge series by the mother-son team writing under the name Charles Todd. Rutledge, a Scotland Yard Inspector recently returned from WWI, is but a shell of the person he was prior to the war. He's haunted by the things he saw and more importantly some of the things he did while serving. In this case, the war comes “home” to him even more than usual as he is sent to Hampton Regis to defuse a hostage situation involving a man who served under him in France.
Stephen Mallory, has been accused of beating Matthew Hamilton, the husband of his former lover, Felicity. Because Mallory is afraid he will be convicted for a crime he claims to have not committed, he has taken the Felicity and her housekeeper hostage and has demanded that Rutledge not only come, but that he is put in charge of the case. Rutledge has all sorts of problems to deal with while working this case. First and foremost, the case mirrors an episode in his own life. He too has lost a lover to another man, so he can on some level empathize with Mallory. But Rutledge does not really like Mallory because of his performance during the war. The local police are not all that happy to have Rutledge present and throw up roadblocks to Rutledge's investigation. While it is clear that Mallory is still in love with Felicity, and therefore would seem to have a reason to want rid of Hamilton, he is adamant in his denial of the crime. So, if Mallory didn't do it, who else had a motive? Then Hamilton's body disappears from where he was convalescing. While Rutledge knows where Mallory is, what if the culprit is someone else? Who took Hamilton?
This is a dark, complex psychological series. The main character, Ian Rutledge, is haunted by his war experiences. In this book, as well as throughout the series, the ghost of Hamish, a fellow officer who Rutledge shot when he tried to run away, talks to Rutledge. Hamish serves as sort of a sounding board or alter ego for Rutledge. With all of the inner thoughts as well as the “conversations” with Hamish, the books in the series sometimes tend to drag on a bit. This seems to be the case with this book more than some of the others. That said, people who have followed the series from the beginning won't be disappointed with A False Mirror. For readers who have not yet tried the Inspector Rutledge books, I'd recommend going back and reading art least the first book, A Test of Wills to get the back drop for the series.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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