The History of Inspector Ian Rutledge

June 1919 − A TEST OF WILLS

Ian Rutledge, returned home from the trenches of the Great War, loses his fiancée Jean after long months in hospital with what is now called PTSD, and faces a bleak future. Fighting back from the edge of madness, he returns to his career at Scotland Yard. But Chief Superintendent Bowles is determined to break him. And so Rutledge finds himself in Warwickshire where the only witness to the murder of Colonel Harris is a drunken ex-soldier suffering from shell shock Rutledge is fighting his own battles with the voice of Corporal Hamish MacLeod in his head, survivor’s guilt after the bloody 1916 Battle of the Somme. The question is, will he win this test of wills with Hamish—or is the shell shocked witness a mirror of what he’ll become if he fails to keep his madness at bay?

July 1919 − WINGS OF FIRE

Rutledge is sent to Cornwall because the Home Office wants to be reassured that Nicholas Cheney wasn’t murdered. But Nicholas committed suicide with his half-sister Olivia. And she’s written a body of war poetry under the name of O.A. Manning. Rutledge, who had used her poetry in the trenches to keep his mind functioning, is shocked to discover she never saw France—and may well be a cold-blooded killer. And yet even dead, she makes a lasting impression that he can’t shake.

August 1919 − SEARCH THE DARK

An out of work ex-soldier, sitting on a train in a Dorset station suddenly sees his dead wife and two small children standing on the platform. He fights to get off the train and soon thereafter, the woman is found murdered and the children are missing. Rutledge is sent to coordinate a search, and finds himself attracted to Aurore, a French war bride who will lie to protect her husband and may have killed because she was jealous of the murder victim’s place in her husband’s life.

September 1919 − LEGACY OF THE DEAD

Just as Rutledge thinks he’s coming to terms—of a sort—with the voice that haunts him, he’s sent to northern England to find the missing daughter of a woman who once slept with a King. Little does he know that his search will take him to Scotland, and to the woman Hamish would have married, if he’d lived. But Fiona is certain to hang for murdering a mother to steal her child, and she doesn’t know that Rutledge killed Hamish on the battlefield when she turns to him for help. He couldn’t save Hamish—but Rutledge is honor bound to protect Fiona and the small child named for him.

October 1919 − WATCHERS OF TIME

Still recovering from the nearly fatal wound he received in Scotland, Rutledge is sent to East Anglia to discover who murdered a priest, and what his death had to do with a dying man who knew secrets about the family that owns the village. But there’s more to the murder than hearing a death-bed confession. And the key might well be a young woman as haunted as Rutledge is, because she survived the Titanic’s sinking and carries her own guilt for failure to save a companion. 

November 1919 − A FEARSOME DOUBT

A case from 1912 comes back to haunt Rutledge. Did he send an innocent man to the gallows? Meanwhile, he’s trying to discover who has poisoned three ex-soldiers, all of them amputees in a small village in Kent. Mercy killings—or murder? And he sees a face across the Guy Fawkes’ Day bonfire that is a terrifying reminder of what happened to him at the end of the war…something he is ashamed of, even though he can’t remember why. What happened in the missing six months of his life?

December 1919 − A COLD TREACHERY

Rutledge is already in the north and the closest man to Westmorland, where at the height of a blizzard, there has been a cold blooded killing of an entire family, save one child, who is missing in the snow. But as the facts unfold, it’s possible that the boy killed his own family. And where is he? Dead in the snow, or hiding? And there are secrets in this isolated village of Urskdale that can lead to more deaths.

January 1920 − A LONG SHADOW

A party that begins innocently enough ends with Rutledge finding machine gun casings engraved with death’s heads—a warning. But he’s sent to Northamptonshire to discover why someone shot Constable Ward with an arrow in what the locals call a haunted wood. He discovers there are other deaths unaccounted for, and there’s also a woman who knows too much about Rutledge for his own comfort. Then whoever has been stalking him comes north after him, and Rutledge knows if he doesn’t find the man, he’ll die. Hamish, pushing him hard, is all too aware that Rutledge’s death will mean his own…

March 1920 − A FALSE MIRROR

A man is nearly beaten to death, his wife is taken hostage by his assailant, and Rutledge is sent posthaste to Hampton Regis to find out who wanted Matthew Hamilton dead. But the man who may be guilty is someone Rutledge knew in the war, a reminder that some were lucky enough to be saved, while Hamish was left to die. But this is a story of love gone wrong, and the next two deaths reek of madness. Are they? Or were the women mistaken for the intended victim?

April 1920 – A Pale Horse

In the ruins of Yorkshire’s Fountains Abbey lies the body of a man wrapped in a cloak, the face covered by a gas mask. Next to him is a book on alchemy, which belongs to the schoolmaster, a conscientious objector in the Great War. Who is this man, and is the investigation into his death being manipulated by a thirst for revenge? Meanwhile, the British War Office is searching for a missing man of their own, someone whose war work was so secret that even Rutledge isn’t told his real name or what he did. Here is a puzzle requiring all of Rutledge’s daring and skill, for there are layers of lies and deception, while a ruthless killer is determined to hold on to freedom at any cost.

May 1920 – A MATTER OF JUSTICE

At the turn of the century, in a war taking place far from England, two soldiers chance upon an opportunity that will change their lives forever. To take advantage of it, they will must do the unthinkable, and then put the past behind them. Twenty years later, a successful London businessman is found savagely and bizarrely murdered in a medieval tithe barn on his estate in Somerset. Called upon to investigate, Rutledge soon discovers that the victim was universally despised. Even the man’s wife–who appears to be his wife in name only–and the town’s police inspector are suspect. But who, among the many, hated enough to kill?

June 1920 – THE RED DOOR

In a house with a red door lies the body of a woman who has been bludgeoned to death. Rumor has it that two years earlier, she’d painted that door to welcome her husband back from the Front. Only he never came home. Meanwhile, in London, a man suffering from a mysterious illness goes missing and then just as suddenly reappears. Rutledge must solve two mysteries before he can bring a ruthless killer to justice: Who was the woman who lived and died behind the red door? Who was the man who never came home from the Great War, for the simple reason that he might never have gone? And what have they to do with a man who cannot break the seal of his own guilt without damning those he loves most?

July 1920 – A LONELY DEATH

Three men have been murdered in a Sussex village, and Scotland Yard has been called in. The victims are soldiers, each surviving the nightmare of World War I only to meet a ghastly end in the quiet English countryside. Each man has been garroted, with small ID discs left in their mouths, yet no other clue suggests a motive or a killer. Rutledge understands all too well the darkness that resides within men’s souls. Yet his presence on the scene cannot deter a vicious and clever killer, and a fourth dead soldier is discovered shortly after Rutledge’s arrival. Now a horror that strikes painfully close to home threatens to engulf the investigator, and he will have to risk his career, his good name, even his shattered life itself, to bring an elusive fiend to justice.

August 1920 – THE CONFESSION

A man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses that he killed his cousin five years ago during the Great War. When Rutledge presses for details, the man evades his questions, revealing only that he hails from a village east of London. Less than two weeks later, the alleged killer’s body is found floating in the Thames, a bullet in the back of his head. Rutledge discovers that the dead man was not who he claimed to be. The only clue is a gold locket, found around the victim’s neck that leads back to Essex and an insular village that will do anything to protect itself from notoriety.

September 1920 – PROOF OF GUILT

An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and a clue leads Rutledge to a firm, built by two families, famous for producing and selling the world’s best Madeira wine. There he discovers the current head of the English enterprise in missing. But is he the dead man? And does either his fiancée or his jilted former lover have anything to do with his disappearance? With a growing list of suspects Rutledge knows that suspicion and circumstantial evidence is nothing without proof of guilt. But his new Acting Chief Superintendent doesn’t agree and wants Rutledge to stop digging and settle on the tidy answer. Rutledge must tread very carefully, for it seems that someone has decided that he, too, must die so that justice can take its course

Late September 1920 – HUNTING SHADOWS

A fashionable wedding in Ely Cathedral is interrupted by a single rifle shot that kills one of the male guests. A few days later, a man standing for Parliament in a by-election is also shot—and the only clue is a frightened woman’s glimpse of a monster’s face behind the weapon. The Yard is called in and Rutledge finds himself in the flat, once marshy Fen Country looking for any motive that might connect the two murders. A third victim survives, but what he saw is inexplicable on a quiet Fen road. Rutledge must dig deeper into the shadows of each victim’s past to discover the truth behind a war memory, an old rumor, and an unexplained disappearance. Trying to reach London to prevent a miscarriage of justice, Rutledge must make a pact with the devil –who may be the murderer after all.

June – December 1914 – A FINE SUMMER’S DAY

(Coming Jan. 2015)
The long-awaited story of Inspector Ian Rutledge’s last case as the shadows of World War I close in on a summer memorable for its glorious weather. And of the woman he loved and wanted to marry. A must for Rutledge fans.


The History of Nurse Bess Crawford

November 1916 – A Duty to the Dead

Bess Crawford, a nurse on the doomed hospital ship Britannic, grows fond of the young, gravely wounded Lieutenant Arthur Graham. Something rests heavily on his conscience, and to give him a little peace as he dies, she promises to deliver a message to his brother. It is some months before she can carry out this duty, and when next she’s in England, she herself is recovering from a wound. As she frets over the delay, that simple message takes on sinister meanings. When Bess arrives at the Graham house in Kent, Jonathan Graham listens to his brother’s last wishes with surprising indifference. Neither his mother nor his brother Timothy seems to think it has any significance. Unsettled, Bess is about to take her leave when tragedy strikes. She quickly discovers that fulfilling this duty to the dead has thrust her into a maelstrom of intrigue and murder that will test her courage as not even war has.

Early Summer 1917 – An Impartial Witness

Serving in France during the First World War, Bess Crawford is sent back to England in with a convoy of severely wounded men. One of her patients, a young pilot, has clung to a photograph of his wife since he was pulled from the wreckage of his plane, and Bess sees the photo every time she tends to him. After the patients are transferred to a clinic in Hampshire, Bess is given forty-eight hours of leave which she plans to spend in her London flat catching up on much-needed sleep. But in the railway station, in a mob of troops leaving for the front, Bess catches a glimpse of a familiar face—that of the same pilot’s wife. She is bidding a very emotional farewell to another officer. Back in France days later, Bess picks up an old newspaper with a line drawing of the woman’s face on the front page, and a plea from Scotland Yard asking if anyone has seen her. The woman had been murdered the very evening Bess glimpsed her at the terminal. Bess asks for leave to report what she knows to Scotland Yard. And what she learns in England leads her to embark on the search for a devious and very dangerous killer—a search that will put her own life in jeopardy.

December 1917 – A Bitter Truth

When Bess Crawford returns from France for a well-earned Christmas leave, she finds a bruised and shivering woman sheltering in the doorway of her London flat. Realizing that the woman, who eventually reveals that her name is Lydia, has nowhere else to turn, Bess takes her in. Lydia is fleeing from her husband, who struck her after a terrible quarrel, and she refuses to return home unless Bess accompanies her. Concerned for her, Bess puts aside her visit to her own family and goes with Lydia to Ashdown Forest in Sussex. There are other guests at the Ellis house, and the atmosphere is tense, fueled by Lydia’s angry husband. Shortly after they arrive, one of the guests, recovering from wounds, is found murdered, and Bess is not only in the center of the hunt for a killer but is under suspicion herself.

Spring 1918 – An Unmarked Grave

The Spanish Flu epidemic has spread, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well. However, war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of a murdered officer. Before she can report the terrible news, Bess falls ill, the latest victim of the flu. By the time she recovers, the officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he? Bess begins to piece together what little evidence she can find to unmask the elusive killer and see justice served. But she must be as vigilant as she is tenacious. With a determined killer on her heels, each move Bess makes could be her last.

Summer 1918 – A QUESTION OF HONOR

Ten years before, when Bess and her parents were in India with the Regiment, five people were brutally murdered, and the finger of guilt pointed to a Lieutenant serving under the Colonel-Sahib. But the man escapes before he can be arrested, and later evidence indicates that he died while trying to cross the dangerous Khyber Pass. And now in France, a dying Subadar tells Bess that he has seen this same man serving in the British ranks. Was the Subadar the killer’s sixth victim? Before Bess can tell her father, she must make certain that the Indian soldier wasn’t delirious. Then with Simon’s help, she goes after the man who had stained the honor of the Regiment. But what she discovers as she searches, could have been her own fate as a child, and the shocking truth behind a string of murders lies in the present as well as the past.

Autumn 1918 – AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE

On leave in London, Bess is ordered to escort one of her former patients to a ceremony at Buckingham Palace where he will be decorated by the King. She doesn’t recognize this man, who is still recovering from severe wounds, but it doesn’t matter. Or does it? The morning after the ceremony, the Sergeant is missing. The Army is summoned, but it is Scotland Yard that discovers the first clue to his whereabouts: he has just killed a man in the middle of a bridge in Shrewsbury and disappeared into the shadows again. It is Bess is faces severe reprimands from the Army and her Nursing Corps for dereliction of duty in losing this decorated hero. To ever return to her duties in France, she must find this killer before the Army hangs him for desertion, so that he can stand trial for murder and she herself can be cleared of all charges. With Simon’s help, she finds a tantalizingly faint trail, but she is determined to follow it wherever it leads. The answer she stumbles upon is unexpected and deadly.