Book Review: A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd

Posted April 8, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd
Published by William Morrow on February 4, 2020
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Question of Honor, An Unwilling Accomplice, Hunting Shadows, A Pattern of Lies, A Fine Summer's Day, No Shred of Evidence, The Shattered Tree, Racing the Devil, A Casualty of War, The Gate Keeper, A Forgotten Place, The Black Ascot

Twenty-second in the Inspector Ian Rutledge historical mystery series and revolving around a Scotland Yard detective suffering from PTSD. The tale begins in February 1921.

My Take

Omigod! This is like, a “7”, for all its impossible mystery and even worse moral entanglements. That horrifying betrayal! The Todds certainly kept me on the edge of my seat, desperate to know how Rutledge will solve the case and his dilemmas. I do love a mystery where I can’t figure it out. It’s such a fun voyage of discovery!

In this, it’s third person protagonist point-of-view from Ian’s perspective with a front row seat on his thoughts and emotions. It’s a nasty choice he’s having to make in this.

Thank god that we’ve come to our senses about PTSD. It makes me so furious that soldiers who were shellshocked were considered cowards. I’d like to see those accusers survive what these men did! It has to have been so much worse for the officers who had to order their men to take those stupid actions ordered by generals who were so clueless and uncaring of the damage being done to their own.

“For many of us, the war didn’t end when the guns stopped firing. … We saw too much. Things that can’t be shared. Things we can’t forget.”

The Todds were brilliant in the tease, releasing all these clues but keeping them so “anonymous”. I was absolutely shocked when the truth was revealed, and yet all those clues did lead right up to it.

The Todds do a lovely job of creating the atmosphere of the time period with their manners, mores, and styles…including not taking women into account.

Ian is driving me nuts with his self-sacrificing attitude about Kate. I suppose it’s part of those early twentieth century morals *eye roll*. And I want to cry when I read about the Radleigh family’s situation. That Andy sounds like a really good guy.

I do wonder if Kate being affected by the volunteer work she had done during the war is a bit of foreshadowing…hmmm…

A nice bit about why Ian became a cop, “because someone had to speak for the dead”. And Ian does speak for the dead in some three cases. Hunting the truth, and being castigated by Markham for finding it. What. A. Jerk.

Huh. Chief Superintendent Bowles had hated Ian for his university education. Then there’s Brian Leslie, a strangely honorable man.

The Story

With the threat of Ian’s unopened letter of resignation hovering, he must be perfect, and with Chief Inspector Brian Leslie’s cold case in Avebury, this is Markham’s chance to make Ian look bad.

Only, it’s a cold case with missing evidence.

The Characters

Detective Inspector Ian Rutledge is single, but for the ghost of the corporal he shot that summer in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, Hamish McLeod. Fiona had been the woman Hamish loved. Frances is Ian’s recently married sister.

Ian is in hopeless love with Kate Gordon, Jean‘s cousin; Jean was the woman who broke off her engagement with Ian. But the idiot is too noble to tell Kate. Kate’s mother, Mrs Gordon, despises Ian. Gwen and Meg are constantly complaining cousins of Kate’s mother. Soeur Marie Andre is with the convent where Ian’s previous love, Meredith Channing, joined her war-damaged husband.

Scotland Yard
Chief Inspector (CI) Brian Leslie had served in the trenches in World War I and is a successful interrogator who used to visit Avebury as a child when Townsend was rector, a friend of his parents. Sara is Leslie’s wife. Chief Superintendent Markham hates Ian and wants him to fail. Sergeant Gibson keeps the Yard organized and running. Sergeant Richards. Inspector Bradley has a burst appendix. Inspector Kent got ahead of Rutledge. Sutton is getting married next month. Inspector Gaines is visiting his sister in Blackmon’s Hotel. CI Murray. Inspector Hayes was in Maidstone. Inspector Hadley‘s wife is friendly with Sara Leslie. CI Stanley and Inspector Martin may have issues with Leslie.

Constable Fuller was there for the hit-and-run. Mrs Gerald FitzPatrick was the victim. Mr Taverner, a prominent barrister, discovered his personal motorcar was stolen.

Haldane is supposedly part of the Foot Police, a division that was in charge of Army discipline and crimes…Ian reckons he’s really with Military Intelligence. Edwards is a friend of Ian’s who works at the War Office.

Avebury, Wiltshire, has…
…its own henge on Marlborough Down and isn’t far from Stonehenge. Constable Henderson is the village copper who had also served as a sergeant with the Wiltshires. Barry is his son. Bouncer is the butcher’s dog. Ben Wainwright delivers kegs to the inn. Mr Marshall is the rector; Dorothea is his wife and likes to take photographs. White is the sexton. The Green Man is the inn where Leslie, and later, Ian, will stay. It’s run by Sam and Mary Bryant, who makes incredible apple tarts. The nearsighted, frightened Mary Parrish has a clue. Mrs Dunlop is a widow who now cleans houses for people in the village; her husband had been the shoemaker. Mrs Alastair Johnson has a generous seven-year-old, Tommy, who has the measles. Peggy is her even younger daughter with the pretty necklace and the stone peas. Mr Johnson had been the village farrier before the war and is now a carpenter. Mr Downing has been training a couple of young retrievers. Dr Mason is a widower.

Corporal Andrew Henley Radleigh wears a donated coat. Karina Larchian had been an Armenian refugee from Anatolia, escaping from Turkey in 1915. In 1916, her son Peter died. In 1919, she had been advocating that the Young Turks be punished. Mrs Brooke-Davies is on the Armenian Refugee Committee. Sergeant Tiller had witnessed some trouble in Paris in 1916.

Winterbourne, Wiltshire
Miss Mott runs a tea shop. Mr Steadman is rector in the next village; he and his wife used to ride a tandem. Larry and Sadie Blake also have a tandem; he’ll do a test ride with Ian. Old Mr Barlow could be counted on to drive people from the train station in Marlborough.

The Nelsons lived in Stokesbury, near Marlborough, and rode a tandem bike. After they died, their house was left to cousins. Constable Benning investigated the break-in reported by Mrs Shelby. Mr Haskell has a farm near the Nelsons’ old house. Another neighbor has a dog, Sandy.

Tern Bridge, Shropshire
Constable Leigh works here. Mr Grissom owns the Dun Cow where Ian will stay; Grissom’s courting his bartender. Todd has quite the believable story about the inn. The farm people include Mr Wilkins, Nate Harding, Mrs Taylor who’s having a boy, and Mr Ward who likes to flirt with the ladies, even though his wife tries to keep him on a short leash. Rusty is Ward’s dog. Young Billy Bailey has croup. Nell is the ironmonger’s daughter who lives in Shrewsbury. Mr Swindon is the baker and won’t leave it to his wife. Old Sally is the midwife. Mr Bishop is the widowed greengrocer. Ralph Ellis is the rector; Mariah is his wife. The eighty-some-year-old Mrs Brooks minds everyone’s business; her late husband had been a nephew of Sir Alan Grant, a crony of the late King Edward. Mr Simmons is the newly deceased whose grave is occupied. Dr Allan is the village medic. Courtney Miller is the sexton; his wife, Joan, had run off eight years ago. She’d been no better than she should be.

Bath, Somerset
Inspector Graves is investigating the missing Serena Palmer, a schoolmistress at a private girls’ school. Margaret Palmer is Miss Palmer’s cousin.

The port of Dover
James Westin is a port official with a good memory.

Manchester, Greater Manchester
Patience Underwood is/was Andy Radleigh’s sister. Her husband, Herbert, had been killed in the war. Andy’s wife and their father had died of the influenza. George is their younger brother, and they all live with their mother, trying to make ends meet.

David Trevor is an architect and Ian’s godfather who lives in Scotland. Ross is David’s son. Douglas is a jeweler in London. Private Archie Grant had been Ian’s batman during the war. Not much good with a needle but a great shot. Alan Barrington is the killer Ian caught in The Black Ascot, 21. Josh is the gentleman who stands Kate up, and Ian takes her to Baldwin’s.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a gloomy one with its stormy dark blue sky and the stones standing amongst the golden grasses, the Long Barrow behind them with trees behind it. The author’s name is at the very top in white with the title in a deep orange just above the center. The series information is in white at the bottom.

No kidding! The title says it all, for Ian is suffering A Divided Loyalty, a man he knows and respects versus truth.

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