Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: A Fine Summer's Day

A Fine Summer's Day
A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Somewhere in this house there's a copy of A Long Shadow, the 8th Inspector Ian Rutledge novel, 1/3 finished but probably missing its bookmark. I took a detour into Scotland, and I've since been reading a lot of Tartan Noir. It's great to be back in London, though, and being a little behind in the series is perfectly fine as A Fine Summer's Day is a prequel.

I've had a lot of questions about pre-war Rutledge, mostly centered around Jean. Did he believe she truly loved him? Did she love him? Did he only think he loved her, and the pain of the betrayal is worse than the loss of her companionship? I don't wonder how he could love a woman so shallow, as Ian seems to fall for women easily. As naturally suspicious as he is of everyone, he's entirely too trusting of attractive women.

I won't reveal any details about Ian and Jean and their engagement. The book is predominantly a mystery, a very good one, and the moments spent on Ian's personal life are precious. So too, are the appearances of friends whose names you'll recognize. Some will die in the war, but in this novel they're all untouched by grief and loss with the exception of Ian and Frances. Their parents' deaths are relatively recent, and the pain of it is still sharp.

This book is for those die-hard Rutledge fans as well as historical mystery fans entirely unfamiliar with this series and its characters.  Rutledge's last mystery before he leaves for the war takes him all over England, and 30 years into the past. It's a fascinating parallel to what this novel is accomplishing by taking us back into Ian's past, though it leaves it for us to see the impact of those pre-war relationships on the post-war detective.

Highly recommend for followers of the series and newcomers alike, but it will be more appreciated by those with a connection to Ian Rutledge already.

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