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 man 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.
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 killings.
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…
February 1920 − A FALSE MIRROR
A man is nearly beaten to death, his wife is taken hostage by his supposed 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
Death rides a pale horse, and in the shadow of this ancient English chalk-cut horse in Berkshire, death stalks the residents of eight cottages, social lepers each with a past. Has a reckoning already claimed the ninth, whose secret work in the war marked him as an outcast? And who is dead in Yorkshire, shrouded in the robes of repentance? In solving one crime, Rutledge unwittingly unleashes a murderer’s fear for himself. Deeply involved in the search for answers he’s forbidden to uncover, Rutledge is brought face to face with his own past.
May, 1920 – A MATTER OF JUSTICE
As Rutledge takes on what appears to be an open and shut case in Somerset—everyone admits to reasons for murdering the man found bizarrely displayed in a tithe barn, it ought to be simple enough to sort out his killer—there are other forces at work. A long-ago act of merciless cruelty has twisted the lives of three people, and justice is being subverted into revenge, and revenge triggers retribution. One person is willing to carry his knowledge to the gallows and another is prepared to die once a thirst for reprisal is slaked. Rutledge is drawn into a vortex of hatred that threatens to overwhelm him too.
June, 1920 – THE RED DOOR
The Tellers—three brothers and a sister—are a model family. They have no secrets from each other, the brothers have married well, and they each accept their role in seeing to it that such a proud and respected name is carried on. But a piece of information accidentally uncovered, a sudden and inexplicable illness resulting in a disappearance, and a brutal murder half way across England release long-held resentments and jealousies that savage the Tellers. This is a crime so nearly perfect that Rutledge is faced with perfect solutions that only serve to obscure the real truth, and a train crash leads him to question his own future on this anniversary of his return to the Yard one year ago.