The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge #21)
Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge seeks a killer who has eluded Scotland Yard for years in this next installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series.An astonishing tip from a grateful ex-convict seems implausible—but Inspector Ian Rutledge is intrigued and brings it to his superior at Scotland Yard. Alan Barrington, who has evaded capture for ten years, is the suspect in an appalling murder during Black Ascot, the famous 1910 royal horserace honoring the late King Edward VII. His disappearance began a manhunt that consumed Britain for a decade. Now it appears that Barrington has returned to England, giving the Yard a last chance to retrieve its reputation and see justice done. Rutledge is put in charge of a quiet search under cover of a routine review of a cold case. Meticulously retracing the original inquiry, Rutledge begins to know Alan Barrington well, delving into relationships and secrets that hadn’t surfaced in 1910. But is he too close to finding his man? His sanity is suddenly brought into question by a shocking turn of events. His sister Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr. Fleming stand by him, but there is no greater shame than shell shock. Questioning himself, he realizes that he cannot look back. The only way to save his career—much less his sanity—is to find Alan Barrington and bring him to justice. But is this elusive murderer still in England?

The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge #21) Details

TitleThe Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge #21)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherWilliam Morrow
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical Mystery, European Literature, British Literature

The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge #21) Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    The Black Ascot is the 21st installment in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series by beloved author duo (mother and son), Charles Todd. For a series to have this lasting power, it has to be good, and in my eyes, it’s pure gold. Not to mention, the authors also have another beloved series devoted to Bess Crawford. In The Black Ascot, Ian Rutledge, working for Scotland Yard, is on the hunt for an elusive killer. What spawns the hunt is a tip from a former convict. These are always suspicious for you ne The Black Ascot is the 21st installment in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series by beloved author duo (mother and son), Charles Todd. For a series to have this lasting power, it has to be good, and in my eyes, it’s pure gold. Not to mention, the authors also have another beloved series devoted to Bess Crawford. In The Black Ascot, Ian Rutledge, working for Scotland Yard, is on the hunt for an elusive killer. What spawns the hunt is a tip from a former convict. These are always suspicious for you never know the underlying motives, but Rutledge is intrigued enough to report it back to his supervisor. The killer is none other than Alan Barrington, who has been on the lam for over ten years. The Black Ascot is a famous royal horserace occurring in 1910 in tribute to the late King Edward VII. Barrington is suspected of a horrific murder during Black Ascot. Giving the tip legs is the fact that Barrington seems to have returned to England, so Scotland Yard needs to nab him while they can. Rutledge researches meticulously as only he can deliberately going piece-by-piece through the original charges and documents. Just as he’s getting closer to finding Barrington, his shell shock resurfaces and brings his sanity into doubt. Rutledge realizes in order to heal himself he has to move forward and that means with finding Barrington, too. Is Barrington still in England to find?Overall, The Black Ascot is another solid endeavor in this well-loved series. Tackling the important topic of shell shock/PTSD for Rutledge added interest and made our beloved main character more fallible and lovable at the same time. There is a slam-bang ending here you simply have to experience for yourself. Thank you to Charles Todd for baring Rutledge to us in this way and for shining a light on such an important topic of the time and currently as well. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 21st story in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and I've been right there for each of them. Even though I liked this story (because I'm inclined to like the work of this writing team and I especially like this main character) there were a lot of times when Rutledge "imagined" that some circumstance might have happened and from there on it became an established piece of evidence. When the plot is a little thin for one of these Rutledge novels that kind of thing seems to happen often. This is the 21st story in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and I've been right there for each of them. Even though I liked this story (because I'm inclined to like the work of this writing team and I especially like this main character) there were a lot of times when Rutledge "imagined" that some circumstance might have happened and from there on it became an established piece of evidence. When the plot is a little thin for one of these Rutledge novels that kind of thing seems to happen often. This is another story where Rutledge drives f.o.r.e.v.e.r between one town, city or village and another picking up minute clues before he's on the road again to find the next totally obscure fact that miraculously presents itself. That formula is used more often than I like.Having read the first paragraph of this review you probably wonder why I continue to read the series and then criticize this book. Well, because with twenty-one stories in the series there are going to be plots that are better than others - that's just a fact. I found this one weak as to plotting but strong as to character growth. Rutledge suffers from shell shock from his time in France during the war. At this time shell shock was synonymous with cowardice so Rutledge must keep his condition hidden from everyone. If his condition were to become known he would not be allowed to continue his career with Scotland Yard. His career with Scotland Yard is what is helping him cope with and heal from his shell shock. These novels are always about Rutledge performing his job with his high standards while continuing to heal from his condition. This is a fictional character I've come to care about so if a plot of a specific book is a little thin I will still find enjoyment in watching the interaction of Rutledge and Hamish and wonder how long this secret can remain hidden. I was worried that this story was going to be the time when it all fell apart. I had even begun to think about what work Rutledge and Hamish could do away from the Yard. Whew, this was a close one.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 21st of the Rutledge books, and I have read them all. During this tale, the year turns from 1920 to 1921 and Ian is investigating a possible murder or more going back to racing event, The Black Ascot, held soon after the death of Edward VII in 1910. Again we have the Chief Superintendent giving him assignment that will keep him out of the office and out of his hair. All possible avenues are considered and followed up by Ian as he tries to determine whether deaths are murders or not a This is the 21st of the Rutledge books, and I have read them all. During this tale, the year turns from 1920 to 1921 and Ian is investigating a possible murder or more going back to racing event, The Black Ascot, held soon after the death of Edward VII in 1910. Again we have the Chief Superintendent giving him assignment that will keep him out of the office and out of his hair. All possible avenues are considered and followed up by Ian as he tries to determine whether deaths are murders or not and carried out by whom. The facts uncovered put Ian in danger leading to attempt on his life.Many towns are visited, many clues collected. There is a ruthless killer who has so far managed to cover up his involvement. Time for a reckoning!The authors maintain authentic settings, manners and societal changes of the time. I do wish Ian would gain a spark of happiness or be recognized for his work. I had to pour a bit of red wine for myself. I don't believe I wrote any spoilers.Library Loan
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    The Black Ascot by Charles Todd is the 21st book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I had an ecopy of this book, but most of the book did I listen to (a very enjoyable workday) and I found the audiobook version pleasurable. Although to be honest, Simon Prebble is not my favorite narrator. He has a voice that I try to get used to, there is a gruffness that I just can't seem to truly enjoy. However, the story is good really good. So after a while, I forgot about the voice and let the story take The Black Ascot by Charles Todd is the 21st book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I had an ecopy of this book, but most of the book did I listen to (a very enjoyable workday) and I found the audiobook version pleasurable. Although to be honest, Simon Prebble is not my favorite narrator. He has a voice that I try to get used to, there is a gruffness that I just can't seem to truly enjoy. However, the story is good really good. So after a while, I forgot about the voice and let the story take over.Now, I have not read more than six books in this series. It was through the Bess Crawford series (by the same author) that I discovered this series and I have to say that so far this is one of the best books in the Ian Rutledge series I have read. I love how Ian Rutledge (and Bess Crawford as well) have a tendency to solve even the most difficult cases. Even those cases that hardly seem like a case. Like the case in this book that seems like an open and shut case. But, is it really so? Slowly Rutledge starts to unravel a mystery only he can solve. Only he is tenacious enough and through small clues does he start to puzzle the case together... And, I really don't want to spoil the book so I just want to say that it's a great ending! I want to thank the publisher for providing me with the copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!
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  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    January 1, 1970
    Yes! This was such a good one! I was pleasantly baffled throughout the entire thing - that doesn't usually happen for me, I can usually start to piece these things together. Not so with The Black Ascot! And Simon Prebble's narration was once again absolutely fantastic! This one totally deserves a 5-star!
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  • LJ
    January 1, 1970
    First Sentence: Ascot this year was very different from Ascots of the past.Inspector Ian Rutledge saves the life of a man who is suffering from shell shock and threatening to commit suicide. In turn, the man gives him a tip that Alan Barrington, a man who was suspected of committing murder during the Black Ascot horse race 10 years previous, is back in England. When Rutledge's own sanity is called into question, after many years of hiding his suffering from shell shock, he realizes he must solve First Sentence: Ascot this year was very different from Ascots of the past.Inspector Ian Rutledge saves the life of a man who is suffering from shell shock and threatening to commit suicide. In turn, the man gives him a tip that Alan Barrington, a man who was suspected of committing murder during the Black Ascot horse race 10 years previous, is back in England. When Rutledge's own sanity is called into question, after many years of hiding his suffering from shell shock, he realizes he must solve the Black Ascot murder case or lose everything important to him.Todd balances the personal and professional sides of Rutledge very well, showing that his approach to the law is sympathetic, but not weak or naïve. He also doesn't make assumptions or jump to conclusions. The explanation of Hamish is succinct but sufficient enough to understand Ian's tendency for self-imposed reticence toward becoming close to others. One finds it sympathy-inducing while being drawn to the character. An encounter with a female journalist, and a suspenseful nighttime adventure, truly sets the story on its way, yet Todd is also very good at creating a vivid sense of place—"He stopped in front of a handsome three-story building that spoke of Empire, a baroque gem between two staid brick edifices that spoke of Understated Wealth. … The knocker on the door was heavy brass and made a satisfyingly substantial sound as it struck the plate beneath."No matter the war, the impact and damage to those who fought, visible or not, is always there, and Todd's offering something of an explanation is very well done and quite moving: "He won't tell me about his war." "None of us do. It isn't something to share, you see." "What we've seen, what we've done, ought to stay in France. But it didn't, it came home in our memories. They aren't memories we want you to know. You are the world we fought for. Safe and sane and not ugly. Better to keep it that way."There is an unexpected and dramatic twist, with various scenarios and conjectures presented by Ian, that allows us to see his thought process. With the help of Ian's friend Melinda Crawford the pieces begin to fit and the circle closes. One may be somewhat conflicted about this book. The relationships of the characters involved in the murder are a bit complicated and can become muddled. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing which gets a bit tiresome, but we are taken along on every step of the investigation as it happens up until the end where some information is withheld from the reader. Although perhaps not the strongest book in the series, it is several of the characters which make it particularly enjoyable."The Black Ascot" concludes very well and with an explanation which makes everything clear. This is such a good series, and one to continue reading. The BLACK ASCOT (HistMys-Insp. Ian Rutledge-England-1910/1921) - VG Todd, Charles – 21st in series William Morrow – Feb 2019
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    As always with any long-lived series, picking up the next book involves expectation and excitement -- and a bit of a leap of faith. You hope and trust that the author(s) have managed to keep the characters vibrant and alive and are finding fresh ways to keep the overall arcs of their lives and interactions progressing in new and interesting ways, while keeping the main focus on some kind of mystery. The peril to be avoided at all costs is a main character who just re-emerges as precisely the sam As always with any long-lived series, picking up the next book involves expectation and excitement -- and a bit of a leap of faith. You hope and trust that the author(s) have managed to keep the characters vibrant and alive and are finding fresh ways to keep the overall arcs of their lives and interactions progressing in new and interesting ways, while keeping the main focus on some kind of mystery. The peril to be avoided at all costs is a main character who just re-emerges as precisely the same individual in book after book, never changing, never developing -- a dull and tedious version of Hercule Poirot. At least with Agatha Christie, she managed to place her detectives and their quirks in the midst of highly distinctive crimes. But I've encountered too many series where the author becomes lazy, relies on the popularity of his or her formula, with the result that midway through the book I look up and realize I simply can't distinguish book #15 from book #14 or book #16. Happily, in spite of having a main character in Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge who has his own quirks (the ghost of a dead soldier, Hamish, who rides shotgun and talks to him while he's investigating and becomes his invisible sidekick), the Charles Todd novels are not palling on me. Part of the interest lies in the authors' (a mother-son duo) ability to delve into the atmosphere of post-WW1 England without being overly ponderous about it, and letting those social and political trends develop into intriguing plotlines. This time around, Rutledge is driving aimlessly through the country, trying to avoid spending time with those who will recognize his struggles with Hamish and battle with the after effects with shellshock, when he is on the spot to prevent a tragedy involving another damaged victim of the war years. In exchange, the man gives him some second-hand information: one of the country's most-wanted men, accused of murdering the widow of his late friend by tampering with the car of her new husband after the "Black Ascot" of 1910 (so-called because everyone attended in mourning for Edward VII) has been seen in the country. Could this be true? If so, why would he risk it and where has he been? Who has helped him to hide and -- if he is back -- has he decided to clear his name or commit further crimes? Rutledge's superior, perhaps in hopes of getting this troublesome but skilled detective out of his way, gives him the apparently impossible task of finding the long-missing man (the Lord Lucan of the early 1920s??) But what will he find out along the way -- about himself, as well as the long-missing Alan Barrington? Just how ruthless is the man who committed that long-ago crime -- whoever he may be? Once again, the authors bring us, slowly and delicately, a few more inches along Ian Rutledge's life path, while at the same time delivering a mystery that has a slow but steady buildup in suspense. I do wish that Todd was less prone to have his characters go barreling around the country in motorcars from point A to point (at times, the novels feel like a kind of Baedeker guide...) but overall that's a minor quibble about what is a solid addition to what remains a solid and rewarding series of historical mysteries. They aren't as in-depth as the two books penned by Rennie Airth and set in this era featuring John Madden, but are great to hunker down with on a cold winter weekend. Recommended.I received an e-galley of the book from the publishers via Edelweiss.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Ironically as I was reading this the Kentucky Derby had it's own crazy ending with a disqualification which seems appropriate in its own right to use here.This one had me pondering why more times than I care to count as I couldn't grasp the 'thrill of the chase' which lacked substance for 'truth keepers' seeking evidence.It was a case of Alan Barrington who was missing for the past 10 yrs but never declared dead after a tip came in altering the direction of the investigation by Inspector Ian Rut Ironically as I was reading this the Kentucky Derby had it's own crazy ending with a disqualification which seems appropriate in its own right to use here.This one had me pondering why more times than I care to count as I couldn't grasp the 'thrill of the chase' which lacked substance for 'truth keepers' seeking evidence.It was a case of Alan Barrington who was missing for the past 10 yrs but never declared dead after a tip came in altering the direction of the investigation by Inspector Ian Rutledge.Mrs Fletcher Murro seemed to have more pull than anyone in getting the truths revealed in this mysterious motor car crash. I suppose the question is was there tampered evidence? Was it brake failure? Was Alan part of this mysterious murder mystery all during the race of the royal horse the Black Ascot?It began in 1910, went through 1921, and ended in England...but was there guy still alive or long gone because the tipster could be wrong in concluding that Barrington went to England.It's an interesting albeit different plot here.I hope you enjoy!
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  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    I love the Ian Rutledge series. What a detective he is; he never gives up on a case as long as there is the slightest chance of finding the guilty party. What makes this case different is the fact that the suspect hasn't been found guilty, but has been on the run for 10 years! Two men of amazing wills face off in this post-Great War mystery. I enjoyed this look at the time period from just before WWI to 1921. There was only one thing that I found puzzling, which concerned Rutledge's wounding by I love the Ian Rutledge series. What a detective he is; he never gives up on a case as long as there is the slightest chance of finding the guilty party. What makes this case different is the fact that the suspect hasn't been found guilty, but has been on the run for 10 years! Two men of amazing wills face off in this post-Great War mystery. I enjoyed this look at the time period from just before WWI to 1921. There was only one thing that I found puzzling, which concerned Rutledge's wounding by pistol shot. I know forensics was at an early stage at the time, but surely the conclusions by the police and even Rutledge's own assumption was bizarre. Also, the fact that he had no memory of how it occurred was a little too pat. One last thing, it was interesting to learn about the Black Ascot. The Rutledge books are full of historical references, but this was one I hadn't known about.
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  • Kathy Davie
    January 1, 1970
    Twenty-first in Inspector Ian Rutledge, the British historical detective mystery series that revolves around a Scotland Yard detective who struggles with PTSD and is haunted by the ghost of the corporal he had to shoot. This story starts in June 1910 in England.My TakeIt's all about the pursuit of truth, no matter what.It's an intriguing start — and reminds me of Alex Grecian's The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, 1), with its initial inciting incident. It also demonstrates Rutledge's compa Twenty-first in Inspector Ian Rutledge, the British historical detective mystery series that revolves around a Scotland Yard detective who struggles with PTSD and is haunted by the ghost of the corporal he had to shoot. This story starts in June 1910 in England.My TakeIt's all about the pursuit of truth, no matter what.It's an intriguing start — and reminds me of Alex Grecian's The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, 1), with its initial inciting incident. It also demonstrates Rutledge's compassion for his fellow man. A good turn that results in another. We see the investigation through Ian's eyes in third person simple subjective point-of-view, hearing his thoughts, his emotions, his interpretation of the clues that begin to open up. And The Black Ascot drove me mad as Todd dribbled out these itty, bitty clues that started the wheels turning, making me wonder which way this revival of a cold case would go. How Ian would find Alan Barrington, and if he'd remember what actually happened at his front door.It's some cast of characters! A few scummy ones, one who was truly evil, and quite a few decent ones. Along with a number who never spoke out, which doesn't say much for their characters. And I found it very interesting that Sergeant Gibson actually stood up for Rutledge several times...since Gibson doesn't like Rutledge. I'm with Ian when it comes to wondering why the Yard didn't put some investigative feet on the ground when he "shot himself". Makes me wonder about that murder investigation during Black Ascot as well.I do have a niggle. Sort of minor. But Todd was rather vague in a number of minor areas, including what Jane Warden was doing in that first house, and these little things drove me crazy.The StoryIt's the little things, the impressions that rouse Inspector Ian Rutledge's curiosity...and suspicions. Yes, the little things that begin to add up once Rutledge re-opens a ten-year-old murder case and re-examines the facts, the feelings. Those that didn't make it into any report. Then his sanity is suddenly brought into question by a shocking turn of events. His sister Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr Fleming stand by him, but there is no greater shame than suicide. Questioning himself, he realizes that he cannot look back. The only way to save his career — much less his sanity — is to find Alan Barrington and bring him to justice.But is this elusive murderer still in England? The CharactersInspector Ian Rutledge is a roving detective for Scotland Yard. Corporal Hamish McLeod is the soldier he was forced to shoot near the end of World War I. Frances is his beloved sister who married Peter a short while ago. Melinda Crawford is an old family friend with high (and mighty) connections who lives in Kent. She also appears in Todd's Bess Crawford series. Shanta is her Indian housekeeper. Jason is the butler. Angeline is a gullible friend of Melinda's.David Trevor is an architect and Ian's godfather who lives in Scotland. Morag is his housekeeper. Young Ian and Fiona are his grandchildren. Ross Trevor had been David's son and almost a brother to Ian.Jean is the woman who broke off her engagement with Ian. Kate Gordon is her cousin ( No Shred of Evidence , 18); Mrs Gordon is her mother and despises Ian.Alan Barrington and two others, college friends, were all in love with Blanche Richmond. Only Alan is remanded for her murder. Ellis lives in Kenya and is the cousin who is Barrington's heir. Hathaway had been the old steward. Jonathan Strange is one of the partners at Broadhurst, Broadhurst, and Strange, the law firm that oversees the Barrington estates. Arnold Livingston is the current steward for the estate.Blanche first married Mark Thorne. Harold Fletcher-Munro, a financial wizard, is her second husband. His London housekeeper is Mrs Shaw. Franklin is his driver. St Mary'sThe Richmonds were the squires of the village. The Hollands bought the Richmond home. The Ramseys were close friends of the family; their daughter, Louise, had been one of Blanche's friends. Louise married Donald Villiers who was killed in the war. Elizabeth works as a waitress at an inn.Ullswater, CumberlandJane Warden was one of Blanche's best friends. Her fiancé, Robin, died. Mrs Davenport is the cook; Mrs Jordan is the housekeeper. During the war, Lieutenants Darling, Browning, and Clive Maitland and Captain Austin recuperated at the house. Mrs Rhodes is the housekeeper at Jane's own house.Near Chichester, SussexLorraine Belmont and her family have always been Catholic. Maud is the housekeeper? cook? Mark's father had been a solicitor. The bitter Sara Thorne, Mark's sister, still lives in the village.SandwichJulia is Jonathan's sister married to a local solicitor, Gardener. Jonathan's father runs a jewelry store. Jonathan owns a house here which is run by Mr and Mrs Billingsley. The blind Alfred Morrow is a frequent visitor to the house. Mrs Porter is an aunt, I think. Oliver Ranson is the vicar. Wendover, outside DoverThe overprotective Morrows live here. Rollins is their driver. Mrs Parkinson is their housekeeper. Williams is the lady's maid. (Lizzie is Williams' eldest sister. Nan is a sister who is housekeeper for an MP; Josephine is lady's maid to a barrister's wife; and, Marie had been a nursing Sister during the war and now works in Harley Stret.) Inspector Windom is investigating a murder and a beating. Sister Stevens is the nurse on duty that night; Sister Marvin in the morning. Jenny Harold had been a hooker with a heart.Near AscotFrank and Sally Bradley had had a farm where the accident occurred. Nate Bradley is a third cousin who married Felicity Bradley, Frank's daughter, and now runs the farm. Freddy had been Frank's nephew, Felicity's cousin. Tommy is one of the farmhands today.Helmsley, GloucestershireConstable Biggins takes offense. Mr Waters is a solicitor and Nell's uncle. Her father is the Vicar...and a coward.Bramley, WorcestershireHarold was the grandfather, John the father, and Clive Maitland the son who went to war after dying in a climbing accident. Dorian Alders is the rector at St James. Jasper is the family dog. And the Maitland home was sold to the Barnards who also took on the Maitland law firm. Mr Seton had been the previous rector. Scotland YardChief Superintendent Jameson is Rutledge's superior, and he hates Rutledge. Sergeant Gibson is Rutledge's contact at the Yard. Inspector Kendall is working a case. Chief Inspector Telford is assigned to the investigation at the end.Dr Fleming is the psychiatrist who treated Rutledge after the war. Sister Peterson is one of the nurses at the clinic. Policemen who have died or retired since include Chief Inspector Hawkins, Inspector (Lieutenant) Johnson investigated Thorne's disappearance, Chief Superintendent Bowles was Rutledge's previous jerk of a boss, Constable Grant was the cop who was first on scene, and Inspector Putnam is the man Ian's father hoped could dissuade his son (Sally is his welcoming wife).Jimsy Poole is a retired and famous journalist who now runs a bar. Millie "M.R." Hill wants to follow in her father's footsteps as a journalist.Eddie Wade is an ex-convict, recently released. Mary is his wife, and they had two children: Timmy and Ellie. Sadie Milling is his nasty mother-in-law. His sister married Hans. Cousin Maude was also ashamed. Danny was a fellow inmate.The Cover and TitleThe cover is a misty grayish green of a stormy sky in the background. In the foreground, the silhouette of a jockey atop a horse clears a hurdle. At the very top in yellow is a very tiny testimonial while an info blurb, in yellow, is at least twice as big below that. The authors' name is below this in white, and the title is in yellow, slightly overlapping the horse.The title refers to an event, The Black Ascot of 1910, when all the attendees at Ascot wore black in mourning for King Edward VII.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an advance copy of this book by the publisher, through the Goodreads giveaway program.I have read and enjoyed most of the Inspector Rutledge series but not for some time so I had a short period of reaquaintance. I admit I stopped reading the series because Hamish (whose favorite word is 'Ware) had become annoying to me. That and he were much less pronounced in this book. However, I felt the book lacked direction or commitment. The case was a *cold* one and Rutledge seemed determined I was given an advance copy of this book by the publisher, through the Goodreads giveaway program.I have read and enjoyed most of the Inspector Rutledge series but not for some time so I had a short period of reaquaintance. I admit I stopped reading the series because Hamish (whose favorite word is 'Ware) had become annoying to me. That and he were much less pronounced in this book. However, I felt the book lacked direction or commitment. The case was a *cold* one and Rutledge seemed determined to dig into it but seemed to have no real idea why or how. He seemed to motor out and back to London with no clear agenda. And, really, the entire book continued this way until he, by chance, happened upon someone who helped him understand. I just don't think it was up to the quality of the others I've read in the series, even with a reduction of Hamish. And, when he could have been some help he just became quiet.
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  • The Library Lady
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoy these two series (the Bess Crawford books have linked characters, though they still are a few years behind this series), but the plot here was a bit much. Too many convenient Rutledge-just-was-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time-moments, too many clues popping up conveniently. Rutledge is a great character though, and the Charles Todd duo do an excellent job in both series of portraying how WWI and its aftermath effected both soldiers and civilians. I'm sad this one wasn't up to standar I enjoy these two series (the Bess Crawford books have linked characters, though they still are a few years behind this series), but the plot here was a bit much. Too many convenient Rutledge-just-was-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time-moments, too many clues popping up conveniently. Rutledge is a great character though, and the Charles Todd duo do an excellent job in both series of portraying how WWI and its aftermath effected both soldiers and civilians. I'm sad this one wasn't up to standard, but I'll, so to speak,soldier on with Rutledge.
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  • Kathleen Freeman
    January 1, 1970
    I am a fan of this series, I like how Ian works out his mysteries. However I am ready for him to find a little happines...
  • Jessica Asbell
    January 1, 1970
    Charles Todd is back with their newest book, The Black Ascot. Ten years ago, a murder took place during one of the biggest horse races in England at the time: the Black Ascot. It seems that a jealous man tampered with the car of the woman he loved and her husband. And so, on a straight and narrow road, on a bright sunny day, the life of Blanche Fletcher-Munro ended and her husband became crippled for life. Alan Barrington, the suspected murderer, went on the run before he could stand trial. Afte Charles Todd is back with their newest book, The Black Ascot. Ten years ago, a murder took place during one of the biggest horse races in England at the time: the Black Ascot. It seems that a jealous man tampered with the car of the woman he loved and her husband. And so, on a straight and narrow road, on a bright sunny day, the life of Blanche Fletcher-Munro ended and her husband became crippled for life. Alan Barrington, the suspected murderer, went on the run before he could stand trial. After ten years, no one has seen or heard from Barrington. But Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge gets a tip from a grateful convict that Barrington is back in England. Searching for a ghost, Rutledge reopens the case to see if he can learn anything that might lead him to Barrington. As he digs deeper into the life of Barrington, he soon learns that all is not as it appears to be. And as he begins to learn more about the life of Blanche Fletcher-Monroe, he starts to question what actually happened and who is actually friend or foe. As he chases the ghost of Barrington through the streets of England, he begins to find holes in the original investigation. But when he gets close, disaster strikes. Rutledge wakes up in the hospital only to discover that he attempted suicide. But why? Did the ghost of Hamish (a soldier who mutinied) finally drive him over the edge? Why would he attempt suicide on his front porch in broad daylight? As Rutledge is forced to take a leave of absence from the Yard, he continues to quietly work on the Barrington case until finally things start to make sense. And as he gets closer to the killer, he finds that things are not always as they appear to be. Charles Todd, a mother/son writing team, isn’t afraid to delve into the stigmas of post-WWI England. Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard Inspector, is hiding a secret: shell shock. He hears Hamish, a soldier he killed for mutiny, in his head. But shell shock isn’t something a Scotland Yard Inspector can have. And in The Black Ascot, we find another stigma for soldiers: attempted suicide. As Rutledge delves into people’s lives, he discovers brokenness and regret, love and courage, and how fragile each of us is. The Black Ascot is a winding tale of a cold case. Todd is masterful at weaving together a diverse cast of characters whose lives intertwine in places far beneath the surface. Rutledge must dig deep to discover who people truly are in a case that has always appeared to be open and shut. Take some time to journey around England with Ian Rutledge; you won’t be disappointed!
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    Lucky me! I received a copy of The Black Ascot in a give-away. I got one of the best in the Rutledge series! I've read them all and love them all. The books always have dual story lines alternating between the mystery to be solved and Rutledge's ongoing struggle with his mental state due to shell shock from the war...and the possibility/ramifications of that being revealed to the world. In The Black Ascot, the two story lines become closely intertwined and lead Rutledge right to the edge of his Lucky me! I received a copy of The Black Ascot in a give-away. I got one of the best in the Rutledge series! I've read them all and love them all. The books always have dual story lines alternating between the mystery to be solved and Rutledge's ongoing struggle with his mental state due to shell shock from the war...and the possibility/ramifications of that being revealed to the world. In The Black Ascot, the two story lines become closely intertwined and lead Rutledge right to the edge of his most fearsome challenge. His career, his sanity, and his life are all on the line. An excellent tale, well-written, and with a good mystery, interesting background material about life in England after the war, and lots of intriguing characters (including Hamish, of course!). The Ian Rutledge stories are one of the best series out there and this is one of my favorites so far! I look forward to #22.
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  • Gloria
    January 1, 1970
    This solid, pleasing mystery is the 21st entry in a popular series. It is not necessary to have read the previous titles to enjoy this slow-paced read that indirectly sheds light on the many personal costs of war.The unique time period and setting is post-World War I in Great Britain. Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard has post-traumatic stress syndrome that emerges dramatically at unexpected times, but also appears in the gentle form of Hamish, the spirit of a young soldier who died in the war but w This solid, pleasing mystery is the 21st entry in a popular series. It is not necessary to have read the previous titles to enjoy this slow-paced read that indirectly sheds light on the many personal costs of war.The unique time period and setting is post-World War I in Great Britain. Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard has post-traumatic stress syndrome that emerges dramatically at unexpected times, but also appears in the gentle form of Hamish, the spirit of a young soldier who died in the war but whose quiet voice lives in Ian's head.While not dramatic, there is a layer of subdued psychological suspense as Rutledge puzzles out all of the possible clues to a mystery that arrives at a satisfying conclusion. There is no violence, so this is a mainly intellectual game as Ian dissects a ten-year-old cold case and draws nearer to the murderer. Many red herrings along the way. A good read.
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  • Charlene
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of my favorite mystery series & it still seems fresh and enjoyable. I like and admire the main character, Ian Rutledge, a WWI veteran, still secretly suffering from shell shock who finds purpose in his Scotland Yard job. Difficult murder cases that require concentration and doggedness are welcome ways to banish the war memories. This was an interesting case, with good characters and a good mystery, but coincidence played a large role in solving the puzzle.
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  • Lou Mallory
    January 1, 1970
    Rutledge returns!A worthy addition to the Inspector Rutledge mysteries. Still the most compelling character I have encountered inMy years of reading. Still hoping for a romance for Rutledge but I will wait.
  • Ray Palen
    January 1, 1970
    Read my review this Friday at bookreporter.com .
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    I love the Rutledge series, but this one has too many coincidences to make it believable.
  • Jayna
    January 1, 1970
    In the course of now 21 books Charles Todd has really made me care very much about Inspector Ian Rutledge as he solves crimes and deals with his shell-shock. I am also very happy that there are still good traditional mysteries being written in these days when it seems like only thrillers get attention. In the case of The Black Ascot I was not nearly as enthralled with the mystery itself as I was with watching Ian as he doggedly followed from clue to clue. The book got more interesting as he adde In the course of now 21 books Charles Todd has really made me care very much about Inspector Ian Rutledge as he solves crimes and deals with his shell-shock. I am also very happy that there are still good traditional mysteries being written in these days when it seems like only thrillers get attention. In the case of The Black Ascot I was not nearly as enthralled with the mystery itself as I was with watching Ian as he doggedly followed from clue to clue. The book got more interesting as he added the mystery of what had happened to him to the mystery of the vanished killer. I received an ARC of this novel from Goodreads.
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  • Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller
    January 1, 1970
    I have been reading and admiring Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge series since the beginning, which now numbers 21 with the release of THE BLACK ASCOT. You may think you know Ian Rutledge by this point. A brilliant detective who has been compared to the best of them all, Sherlock Holmes, he also represents the masses of soldiers who returned from war suffering from some form of PTSD. Readers will be surprised to find out more about this deeply layered character than any of the prior novels I have been reading and admiring Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge series since the beginning, which now numbers 21 with the release of THE BLACK ASCOT. You may think you know Ian Rutledge by this point. A brilliant detective who has been compared to the best of them all, Sherlock Holmes, he also represents the masses of soldiers who returned from war suffering from some form of PTSD. Readers will be surprised to find out more about this deeply layered character than any of the prior novels have revealed.It's no secret that Rutledge's PTSD is evident, even though the term had not been coined during the World War I era that he witnessed from the front lines. The direct manifestation of his PTSD is Hamish, the specter of a soldier he had been forced to execute during the war. Only Rutledge can see Hamish, and he probably has deeper and more meaningful conversations with him than he has with any living soul. Does this also make him schizophrenic? No. It’s just another facet of the extremely complex character Todd has created.THE BLACK ASCOT has a dark, haunting feel to it that is exemplified by Rutledge’s apparent suicide attempt. The backstory begins in 1910 during the Black Ascot horse race that is run in honor of the late King Edward VII. It is during this event that the proceedings are overshadowed by a murder --- a brutal crime allegedly committed by Alan Barrington, who has eluded the law ever since.Nearly 11 years have passed without Barrington being brought to justice. There are just as many rumors of his death as there are references to his living under an assumed name in an undisclosed location. What gets Rutledge involved in this cold case is a chance meeting with a man whose life he saves while traveling through a small town. This individual is an ex-con who graciously repays Rutledge's act of bravery by letting him know about the existence of the long-sought-after Barrington. Scotland Yard is not keen on reopening the case, nor do they want the press to learn that they may be looking into one of their recent failures.As a result, Rutledge is asked to very quietly and nonchalantly conduct an investigation into the possible whereabouts of Barrington, with the overall goal of finally catching him. Rutledge does just that, and the reopening of old wounds shortly follows him in his wake. Supposedly, the last words uttered by Blanche Fletcher-Munro, the victim of the Black Ascot murder, were “Forgive me, Mark.” He must figure out what that means and who Mark is.Rutledge turns his attention to Mark Thorne, who may or may not be the mysterious Mark. He also questions those who were close to Barrington, from his attorney to driver to former housekeepers. He gets deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of people and hidden truths, and it makes his own psyche begin to spin wildly out of control. At the precipice is a moment when he is shot at --- either by his own hand or some apparition he thought he saw just prior to things going black.Among those who tend to Rutledge is Melinda Crawford, an old friend and a direct tie to the other successful Charles Todd series that features her daughter, Bess Crawford. Rutledge insists that it was not his intent to commit suicide, but more the end result of someone who was severely stressed and overworked. Meanwhile, he begins slowly reinserting himself into the Barrington investigation, even though his superiors at Scotland Yard have lost nearly all faith in him and are quite angered that this case has found its way back into the papers as a major story.THE BLACK ASCOT is a fever dream of a novel, one in which you will feel for the sanity of Rutledge like never before. Solving this crime, even if it brings about his resignation from Scotland Yard, becomes a moral imperative, and readers will be amazed by how things eventually get resolved. Here is another winner in this stellar series and the most impressive and deeply personal case of Rutledge's career to date.Reviewed by Ray Palen
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    “The Black Ascot,” the 21st installment in the story of Inspector Ian Rutledge, shell-shocked veteran of World War I, now an investigator for Scotland Yard, is another page-turner in the series. This time Rutledge is investigating (behind the scenes) an eleven-ear-old murder that took place after the Ascot Races the year King Edward VII died (hence the “black” in which everyone was dressed). The man accused of the murder, Alan Barrington, has been sighted in England, but Scotland Yard doesn’t wa “The Black Ascot,” the 21st installment in the story of Inspector Ian Rutledge, shell-shocked veteran of World War I, now an investigator for Scotland Yard, is another page-turner in the series. This time Rutledge is investigating (behind the scenes) an eleven-ear-old murder that took place after the Ascot Races the year King Edward VII died (hence the “black” in which everyone was dressed). The man accused of the murder, Alan Barrington, has been sighted in England, but Scotland Yard doesn’t want to call attention to the story and stir up public anger over its failure to capture the would-be killer. So Rutledge, the thoughtful, insightful, and haunted policeman, takes on the job. For me, this novel has been one of the better ones in the series. Hamish (the character/voice of a Scots soldier Rutledge shot for refusing to carry out orders), who has been mostly absent in some of the recent stories, appears more often here. But over the course of the twenty novels, Hamish’s role has changed from a threat to sanity, the embodiment of guilt, and a reminder of war terrors to a kind of sixth sense, a voice that warns Rutledge of danger he himself doesn’t yet comprehend, that judges people’s veracity, and that reminds the inspector of aspects of the case he might have missed.Although Rutledge still worries about actually seeing the ghost of Hamish over his shoulder and makes sure to leave a space for him to sit in the backseat of his car, the actual functioning of Hamish in his life is quite a bit tamer than it was at the beginning of the series. Dr. Fleming, the physician who saved Rutledge’s sanity when he returned from the war, makes an appearance here and gives readers a good sense of what Hamish means for the inspector: “The man you brought home in your mind, in your head, is part of you, Ian, whether you want to accept that or not. I told you two years ago that he was a way to cope with information the mind can’t bring itself to address.” He is also a great plot device to alert the reader to danger, problems, or changes taking place.What I really enjoyed about this novel was that every aspect took us deeper into the lives of the five characters involved in the original murder. The plot was tightly controlled by Rutledge’s intuition that a suicide that happened before the murder was actually a murder as well. His investigation takes us all over England (mostly in the south), into houses rich and poor, Protestant and Catholic (even into an unusual treehouse Folly), helpful and disdainful, humble and proud. It’s a joy to see the inspector’s quick mind at work, his courage to try different approaches to people, his bravery in difficult situations, and his care for those he loves and those he has pity for. And the story itself has lively characters that we get to know and connect with, from the overprotective parents of a blind war veteran to the women who fell in love with men who cared for another woman, from Rutledge’s sister Frances to the kind but sad cousin of the murdered woman to the farm couple who represent the yeomanry of England. It’s a rich tapestry of people, places, motives, worries, cares, and hopes—and a great read!
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  • Lisa Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Title: The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery #21)Author: Charles ToddPages: 343 (ARC)Year: 2019Publisher: William MorrowMy rating is 5 out of 5 stars.Inspector Ian Rutledge is handed a cold case that his boss doesn’t expect him to solve. His boss has no love for Ian and tells him he expects him to find the man who has been missing for ten years but allegedly has been recently spotted. The missing man is wanted in connection to a murder ten years ago, but who disappeared before the tria Title: The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery #21)Author: Charles ToddPages: 343 (ARC)Year: 2019Publisher: William MorrowMy rating is 5 out of 5 stars.Inspector Ian Rutledge is handed a cold case that his boss doesn’t expect him to solve. His boss has no love for Ian and tells him he expects him to find the man who has been missing for ten years but allegedly has been recently spotted. The missing man is wanted in connection to a murder ten years ago, but who disappeared before the trial began and hasn’t been seen since. Ian meets a former prisoner who says his cellmate told him of a recent sighting of this missing man. Ian isn’t sure whether to believe this is true or not but feels he should tell his boss about it. He does and is given the case.Ian begins questioning those who knew the missing man, visits the missing man’s home and talks with the local constables about this man. He is a skilled interrogator/investigator and must use all his skill in this story. Sometimes he asks a question he hasn’t asked previously to try to trip someone up or misdirect them. He talks with a few of the same people over and over, asking the same questions in the hope that someone will either let something slip that they didn’t want to or remember something they haven’t mentioned before that sets Ian down the path to finding the killer.I can’t believe I have finished reading the 21st book in this series! When I pick up one of the Charles Todd books, I know I’m going to be in for a deeper look into Ian’s mind. After I’ve completed the novel, I feel I know him a little better. He lives to capture murderers and bring justice to the ones whose life was taken from them. He doesn’t feel he has more to offer anyone than his ability as a detective. He is dogged in his pursuit, going over the same ground again and again until someone along the way says something that triggers a connection and Ian is turned onto the trail of the offender. He won’t give up in his quest to discover the truth. I enjoy reading about the different villages Ian visits and the different personalities he encounters. The stories are entertaining for the British mystery aficionado.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    I'd rather gone off the Charles Todd's novels. They have the "Bess Crawford" series and the "Inspector Rutledge" series, and both seemed to lose their ooopth a few books back. It was as if the authors had lost interest in their characters and the books were basically written by rote and published on a yearly basis. However, I decided to read this year's new book, "The Black Ascot: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries Book 21", and I was quite pleased.The book takes place in a dual time period; 1910 I'd rather gone off the Charles Todd's novels. They have the "Bess Crawford" series and the "Inspector Rutledge" series, and both seemed to lose their ooopth a few books back. It was as if the authors had lost interest in their characters and the books were basically written by rote and published on a yearly basis. However, I decided to read this year's new book, "The Black Ascot: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries Book 21", and I was quite pleased.The book takes place in a dual time period; 1910 and 1921. King Edward died in 1910. . He had ruled since the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901. The Ascot Races that year were called "The Black Ascot" as the mourning for the King;s death dictated the wearing of black to the races. Another death, in an automobile accident also occurred that year. Blanche Fletcher-Munro was killed, her husband was badly injured, Was the death an accident or a murder, with the Fletcher-Munro's car having been tampered with? And if it was murder, who was the intended victim? A second man, Alan Barrington, was sought for questioning, but he went on the lam. (Think a bit of the Lord Lucan case in the 1970's). "Where is Alan Barrington?" is the hue and cry throughout England. Eleven years - as well as The Great War - have passed and the Alan Barrington case was moved to the Scotland Yard "cold case" file. In 1921, Ian Rutledge, in his return from war service, has rejoined the Yard and is assigned to review the case. He had met a man who claims to have seen Alan Barrington, both in England...and of late. The Todds - mother and son - seem to have regained their interest in Ian Rutledge (and the ever present Hamish MacLeod). The book is well written and is evocative of the post-war years. He's still haunted by his war years and how that worry has affected his official duties. He still hasn't met a partner and I'm holding out hope that he meets Bess Crawford through her cousin Melinda and they elope together into the combined Charles Todd series world. Now, that would be a great book to read!
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I give this a 4.5 instead of a 5, because, although it was a great plot, and had far fewer of the usual elements of a Rutledge novel that drive me screaming up a wall, they are still there. Here’s what’s good—great, in fact. Hamish is still there, but almost more helpful than distracting. And Ian is edging toward dealing with this manifestation of his shell shock. (Please, lord, make that true and not just my seeing what I’m desperate to see.) Also good was the inclusion of some wonderful charac I give this a 4.5 instead of a 5, because, although it was a great plot, and had far fewer of the usual elements of a Rutledge novel that drive me screaming up a wall, they are still there. Here’s what’s good—great, in fact. Hamish is still there, but almost more helpful than distracting. And Ian is edging toward dealing with this manifestation of his shell shock. (Please, lord, make that true and not just my seeing what I’m desperate to see.) Also good was the inclusion of some wonderful characters sadly lacking in too many entries. His kind, insightful psychiatrist, Dr Fleming, for one, who knows Ian’s secrets and treated him immediately after the war. He’s back and he’s desperately needed by Ian, who is struggling to keep his job after what is believed by his foes at the Yard to have been a suicide attempt. Dr. Fleming is a lovely man, and a wise counselor. He reminds me of the wonderful Sidney on the M*A*S*H TV series. Are you listening, Charles Todd? We need more of Dr. Fleming, as does Ian. Obviously. Also we see a bit more of the gritty, delightful and intuitive Melinda Crawford, a stalwart Ian ally who always believes in him, especially when he nearly stops believing in himself. We get an all too short glimpse of his sweet, supportive sister Francis, who also needs a larger role in this series. Ian has been home from the war for two years, battling to stay sane and effective, all the while hiding his shell shock, which shamefully was considered a sign of weakness and cowardice for way too long after WWI. All this time he has been solving case after case, doggedly (and sometimes maddeningly slowly because of the usually convoluted plots and obstructive characters) and yet his biggest obstructors continue to be his petty, pedantic, incompetent though politically ambitious superiors. There was happily, less direct contact with the Yard in this one. The plot was, also happily, slightly less complicated, and the search for truth moved along a bit more briskly and bogged down less than in other books. So, annoying stuff is still there but less of it. And as I’ve said before, having Ian slowly but steadily getting better, and thus hearing less from Hamish, would not in any way diminish the series or the appeal of the character. It won’t. Just do it, already. And once more, for pity sake, get Ian a dog. A girlfriend would be even better but I don’t want to get crazy here.
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  • Larraine
    January 1, 1970
    As I was reading this, I realized that I missed the one that came before this one, The Gate Keeper, so there were some references that I didn't quite understand. This didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying this one. Rutledge learns that a man who ran away before his trial for murder may be back in England. He reports it to his superior who tells him to follow up the report and bring back the fugitive if he can find him. Rutledge approaches this in his usual meticulous fashion. Then something sh As I was reading this, I realized that I missed the one that came before this one, The Gate Keeper, so there were some references that I didn't quite understand. This didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying this one. Rutledge learns that a man who ran away before his trial for murder may be back in England. He reports it to his superior who tells him to follow up the report and bring back the fugitive if he can find him. Rutledge approaches this in his usual meticulous fashion. Then something shocking happens which causes him to rethink his ability to function with the shell shock he has been hiding from the world. Shell shock is considered shameful and weak which isn't surprising. We have really only come to grips with shell shock now known as PTSD. I don't want to give too much away in this one. Suffice it to say that there is a LOT going on here including a gross misunderstanding. As always the background is impeccable. I do find myself aching for Rutledge to find peace, but that would make the series far less interesting.
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  • Lynn Horton
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI'm a fan of the Ian Rutledge series. Like any long-running series, some books are stronger than others, and I think The Black Ascot is one of the stronger additions in recent years. Although the tip that sets off the story is highly coincidental, the rest of the book is beautifully woven and clearly written. I'm fond of many characters in this series, particularly Rutledge's aunt Melinda, and the authors' characterizations deepen with each book. I feel as if I'm in the English countrys 4.5 starsI'm a fan of the Ian Rutledge series. Like any long-running series, some books are stronger than others, and I think The Black Ascot is one of the stronger additions in recent years. Although the tip that sets off the story is highly coincidental, the rest of the book is beautifully woven and clearly written. I'm fond of many characters in this series, particularly Rutledge's aunt Melinda, and the authors' characterizations deepen with each book. I feel as if I'm in the English countryside every time I read a Charles Todd story, and the authors' ability to paint a beautiful setting, then nest their characters and story in it so naturally, is a welcome break from the snow that's falling outside my house right now.I appreciate being able to rely on the storytelling in the Inspector Ian Rutledge books, and highly recommend The Black Ascot to historical suspense fans.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I was given a free copy of this book through goodreads.I had never read any books by this author or even heard of the mother/son team. I actually really enjoyed this as a stand alone book. I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie and this book was similar to her style. It is told as first person account of Inspector Ian Rutledge trying to solve a cold case. Ian is a interesting, complicated, flawed character which makes the story interesting. Looking forward to reading more in this series.
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  • Deborah Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    The writing team of Charles Todd never disappoints. These well crafted characters are always a welcome respite for me. In this Inspector Rutledge installment we see our favorite sleuth struggling with his own human frailties as he discovers other people’s. Rutledge is charged with reviewing a ten year old case. As he does so and interviews the principals he realizes there are many unanswered questions. He unravels a web of deception in his own meticulous manner putting many miles on his trusty m The writing team of Charles Todd never disappoints. These well crafted characters are always a welcome respite for me. In this Inspector Rutledge installment we see our favorite sleuth struggling with his own human frailties as he discovers other people’s. Rutledge is charged with reviewing a ten year old case. As he does so and interviews the principals he realizes there are many unanswered questions. He unravels a web of deception in his own meticulous manner putting many miles on his trusty motorcar in the process. Is everything always as it appears. An old suicide, the death of a socialite and disappearance of the accused all receive his attention. Also, I note in each subsequent novel it appears as if the supporting cast - Melinda Crawford, Frances, our trusty Sargent, Frances - makes fewer appearances. This is a natural progression as some story lines wrap up (Jean) and even the ever present Hamish seems less apparent. I love reading these books and watching the story unravel, they are easy to find a stopping place, put down and resume at a leisurely pace. A book should be like s good friend -,enjoying the visit and wanting to come back for more. These are.
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