- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1124 KB
- Print Length: 365 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (5 February 2019)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B079DQDSS4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 151 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,549 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries Book 21) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 365 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Back Cover
Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge seeks a cunning killer who has eluded Scotland Yard for ten years in this exciting mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.
After saving an ex-convict's life, Inspector Ian Rutledge receives an astonishing tip about a legendary crime from the grateful man. Implausible though it sounds, Rutledge must report this information to his superior at Scotland Yard.
Still, if true, the tip could lead to capturing Alan Barrington--the suspect in an appalling murder during Black Ascot, the famous 1910 royal horse races that honored the late King Edward VII. Barrington's disappearance before his trial had set off a manhunt that spanned the globe, baffling Scotland Yard and consuming all of Britain for nearly a decade. But why should Barrington return to England now? The Yard, eager to restore its reputation, smarting from accusations of incompetence, orders Rutledge to quietly investigate. To avoid attracting the press's attention, he must employ the cover of a routine review of a cold case.
Meticulously retracing the original inquiry, Rutledge begins to know Alan Barrington well, delving into his relationships and uncovering secrets that hadn't surfaced in 1910. As he draws closer--perhaps too close--to the man, the investigation is suddenly thrown into turmoil when Rutledge's sanity is questioned by a shocking turn of events, and his life is changed by his darkest fear--the exposure of his shell shock. The psychological anguish that has haunted him since the Battle of the Somme is regarded as shameful. Those who know him best, his sister, Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr. Fleming, stand by him even as he questions himself.
The Yard is already demanding his resignation, and Rutledge realizes that the only way to save his career, much less his honor, is to find Barrington. Against all odds, he must bring the Black Ascot killer to justice. But weeks of searching have already led nowhere. What if the tip was wrong, what if Barrington actually never returned to England at all . . . ?--This text refers to the paperback edition.
"An absolute winner! The Black Ascot delivers everything we've come to love about an Ian Rutledge novel... If there's ever been a more complex and compelling hero in crime fiction than Inspector Rutledge, I can't think of one."
--Jeffery Deaver on The Black Ascot
"Charles Todd (actually a mother-son writing team) pulls off the voice-in-the-head device exquisitely. Moreover, the series is populated with highly nuanced characters, and the historical research is spot on. In Racing the Devil, the pacing is compelling."--Newark Star Ledger on Racing the Devil
"Somber, moving, and utterly spellbinding...evocative....Rutledge's ongoing courageous refusal to surrender to the dark forces buffeting him on all sides is a shining example of resolve, nerve, and decency, and makes haunted Ian Rutledge impossible to drive out of one's mind."--Strand Magazine on A Long Shadow
"The authors... never let the series settle into an easy formula, and they always keep the reader guessing. This one feels just as fresh as the early Rutledge novels."--Booklist on The Black Ascot
"The investigation and its ultimate destination are gripping."--Kirkus Reviews on The Black Ascot
"This mystery is one of the finest in the series... One of the best I have read by Charles Todd--very highly recommended!"--Historical Novels Review on The Gate Keeper --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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Top international reviews
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!
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.
While I admit I had accurate suspicions about the suspect Rutledge discerned, the method getting to that conclusion involved plausible suspects along the way... I was sorry when I finished it in just one day (taking care of someone left time to read)—
It was a compelling journey...
The historical details paint such a vivid picture of nearly a century ago. I love the descriptions of the churches and homes, of the villages. For the length of time it takes me to read one I am a time traveler in the early 20th century.
This is not a true spoiler, but in this installment, we finally learn what kind of motor car Rutledge drives. That’s been bothering me for at least 10 novels now. It’s a 1914 Rolls Royce touring car.
I'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.
The main character (outside of Rutledge) is one we barely meet—Alan Barrington, a wealthy young man who was accused of tampering with a motorcar during the Ascot races and thus causing the death of the woman who broke his heart. This occurred 10 years before the start of the novel; the action begins because Rutledge, at loose ends as usual because of his status in Scotland Yard, hears from a criminal (who is introduced in the first couple of chapters and is then never mentioned again)) that he thinks he saw the on-the-run Barrington. And off goes Rutledge, first attempting to make sense of the original crime and then trying to figure out why Barrington might be (or even if he might be) back in England from wherever.
In the process, characters come and go and I was hard put to keep them straight. Especially as many appear for a chapter and then disappear. So they aren’t important to the action. But, wait, 100 pages later a character is mentioned and I have to think, ummm, where did Rutledge meet them and what did they do 100 pages ago (or 1 years ago.)
It’s not that the book is badly written. No, the Charles Todd duo are great writers (mother and son.) But I have sometimes felt in reading the series that they each agree to write 150 or so pages and somehow they then have to weave their individual stories together into one book. Which would be daunting and I salute them for doing as well as they do. I really can’t pick out who wrote what, it is pretty seamless. Just danged complicated.
I would recommend reading this in successive days. Not, as I did, over a few weeks. Because you might well get totally lost and, at the end think—wait, was this what it was all about and why did it take 10 years?????
In "The Black Ascot" (slightly irrelevant title for this cold case murder mystery). Ian Rutledge happens upon a clue as to where a highly sought-after fugitive wanted for murder might be and sets out in pursuit, with the dubious blessing of his unpleasant boss at Scotland Yard, And so begins an seemingly endless drive around most of the south of England and other scenic parts interviewing countless numbers of folk who might have something to contribute to understanding the ten-year old crime or know something about the whereabouts of the suspected murderer. The traveling comes with numerous, mostly uneventful and irrelevant stops in village inns. In this novel, most of the folk that Rutledge questions are testy, uncooperative and deceitful. For damaging to the general storyline though is that some of the main characters (including the murder victim) are never fully defined as good, bad or neutral even through to the conclusion. In a word, the plot of this book is just a bit too squishy.
I'm giving the novel a 4ish rating, mostly because of the skill at building an interesting geographic and cultural environment. The demerits are for weak characters, narrow social perspective and because the otherwise admirable Rutledge repeatably cannot decide whether to stop at his best friend's beautiful manor house for a good nights sleep and chef prepared meal after exhausting days on bad roads. It's not rocket science, Ian (or Charles Todd), just go for it already!.
Rutledge driving from one little village to another, talking to boring people about the past. No plot, no action, no memorable characters. No nothing. Even Hamish has gotten boring.