The Confession (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #14)

The Confession (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series #14)

by Charles Todd


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“One of the best historical series being written today.”
Washington Post

“Todd once and for all establishes the shell-shocked Rutledge as the genre’s most complex and fascinating detective.”
Entertainment Weekly

The Confession is historical crime fiction at its finest, continuing Charles Todd’s New York Times bestselling mystery series featuring severely damaged British World War I veteran, and yet still astonishingly efficient Scotland Yard inspector, Ian Rutledge. Todd’s troubled investigator wrestles with a startling and dangerous case that reaches far into the past when a false confession from a man who is not who he claims to be leads to a brutal murder. The Confession is a must-read for every fan of Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and Jacqueline Winspear, as post-war London’s best detective finds himself ensnared in a dark and deadly investigation that unearths shocking small town secrets dating back more than a century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062015679
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/27/2012
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Series , #14
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 93,425
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

Read an Excerpt

The Confession

By Charles Todd

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2012 Charles Todd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-201567-9



The Essex Marshes, Summer 1915

The body rolled in the current gently, as if still alive. It was face down, only the back and hips visible. It had been floating that way for some time. The men in the ancient skiff had watched it for a quarter of an hour, as if half expecting it to rise up and walk away before their eyes.

"He's dead, right enough," one said. "One of ours, do you think?" "This far up the Hawking? It's a German spy," the second man said, nodding, as if that explained everything. "Bound to be. I say, leave him to the fish."

"We won't know who he is until we pull him out, will we?" the third said and leaned out to touch the corpse with the boat hook.

"Here!" the first man cried out, as if this were sacrilege.

The body bobbed a little under the weight of the hook.

"He doesn't care," the third man said. "Why should you?"

"Still and all -"

Turning the hook a little, he put the end under the dead man's collar and pulled. Under the impetus of the hook, the corpse came out of the reeds obediently, as if called, and floated toward the skiff until the shoulder of his dark, water sodden uniform bumped lightly into the hull.

"A bloody officer."

"He's been shot," the third man said as the body shifted. "Look at that."

"Turn him over," the second man ordered, after peering at the back of the man's head.

With some difficulty, that was done, and all three stared into the dead face, flaccid from hours in the water.

"None of our fishermen," the second man went on. "Don't know him at all. You?"

The first man shook his head. "I dunno. There's something familiar about him. I just can't put a name to him."

"Let's have a look," the third man said, and reached out to clutch the front of the sodden uniform, pulling him close enough to thrust his fingers into the man's breast pocket. He came away with a wallet stuffed with pound notes. He whistled in surprise.

The second man was already stretching out a hand for the trouser pocket nearest him, swearing as the skiff dipped alarmingly, and he had to kneel in the bottom of the boat. As the skiff steadied, he managed to dig into the wet cloth and extract more pound notes.

"I'll be damned!"

Opening the wallet, the third man searched for identification. "Ah." He pulled out a card from behind the wet notes. Squinting a little, he read, " 'Justin Fowler. London.' What's he doing here, dead, then?"

"I told you. A German spy."

"You've got spies on the brain," the third man snapped. "Get over it."

There had been a spy scare not long before. Several waiters in London restaurants bore German names, and it was reported to the authorities that these men had been listening to private conversations while guests dined, looking for information to be sent back to Berlin. Nothing had come of it, as far as anyone in this part of Essex could discover. Mr. Newly had not been back to the city to visit his daughter, and thus the source of this bit of news had dried up before the spies had been arrested, shot, or deported, allowing for considerable speculation in The Rowing Boat at night. Much had been said about what should be done with such men if they were caught out here, far from London. "Who do you suppose killed him?" the first man ventured. "Someone who followed him from London? It's not likely to have been anyone from the airfield. I've never seen them this far upriver."

"Most likely whoever shot him shoved him into the water. Out of sight, out of mind." The third man counted the wet notes a second time. "There's almost a hundred pounds here!"

"Flotsam and jetsam," the second man said. "We found it, we keep it. Like a shipwreck." He gazed round at the desolate sweep of water and marsh and gray sky as if half expecting to see a ship's hull half sunk in the deeper reaches beyond.

It was an unfortunate reference. They knew, all of them, what a shipwreck could lead to.

"What do we do with Mr. Fowler?" the first man asked dubiously. "If we bring him in, we'll have to summon the police. Someone is bound to want to know what's become of his money."

"Tow him out to sea. Let him wash ashore somewhere else," the third man said, scrabbling in the bottom of the skiff for a length of rope. This he proceeded to loop around the dead man's neck and then he ordered, "Pick up yon oars. I can't row and pull at the same time, now can I?"

The first man sat where he was. "We're towing him nowhere until there's some understanding here. The money is evenly divided."

"I saw him first," the second man ventured. "Finder's fee."

"The hell with that," the third man retorted. "Share and share alike, I say. And then there's no room for one of us to feel denied and start trouble. We're all in this together. If one must hang, we'll all hang." "If I walk home today with this much money in my pocket, my wife will ask questions. What do I say, then?" the first man demanded.

"She'll start the trouble, mark my words."

"Then don't march home with the money stuffed in your pocket, you fool. Put it by and use it a little at a time. You don't go waving it about first thing. Think of your old age, or your daughter's wedding, when a bit of the ready will come in handy. This poor devil doesn't need pounds wherever he's gone to, and it's a sheer waste to let the sea have it. We've done nothing wrong, have we? We didn't kill him, we didn't leave him here to be found by a schoolboy looking to fish for his dinner, we just took what he'd got no use for. Simple as that."

Half persuaded, the first man said, "Still, I've never kept a secret from my wife. That'll take some doing." He picked up his oar from the bottom of the skiff and put it in the water.

The third man laughed. "You've never needed to lie before. Now there's a reason."

They began to pull against the incoming tide, heading for the mouth of the inlet, towing the body behind them. The first man scanned the shoreline as they passed.

"I don't see anyone about, looking this way. Do you think they can see what's at the end of the rope?"

"It just appears that we've forgot to bring the rope inboard."

"What if he comes back again?" the first man asked, glancing over his shoulder. He was finding it a struggle to row against the current with that sluggish weight pulling at the rope attached to it.

"He won't," the third man promised. "He hasn't been in the water all that long. You can tell, the fishes haven't truly got at him yet. But they will. And no one will be the wiser."

But there he was wrong.

Excerpted from The Confession by Charles Todd. Copyright © 2012 by Charles Todd. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Confession (Inspector Ian Rutledge Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
karenwalksthedogs More than 1 year ago
What a pleasure to meet up with Inspector Ian Rutladge once again. A dying man comes into the yard in order to confess to a murder that took place during the war, refuses to give more information, and is then murdered. Who would murder a dying man? Who exactly was the dying man and why did he conceal his identity? Who did he murder? The quest to find the answers to these questions takes Inspector Rutledge from London to a insular village with lots of secrets to hide, an abandon house on the marsh, and several unexplained deaths. Inspector Rutledge deals with a big shake up at the yard and also with his sister and his lack of personal life. Interestingly, although Hamish does appear, I do not believe it is quite as frequently as in past books. Is Inspector Rutledge maybe beginning to cope with his war expriences? The mystery in this story is a good one and it is very hard to sort out victims, villains, and those who are perhapse a bit of both. I love Inspector Rutledge and look forward to his next adventure.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
This latest in the long-running Inspector Ian Rutledge series finds him in his office shortly after the end of World War I listening to a man calling himself Wyatt Russell confess to murdering his cousin years before.. The man tells Rutledge he has stomach cancer and just a very short time to live but wanted to “clear his conscience.” Little did he know that he would be shot in the head and left in the Thames in just a matter of days. Now the Inspector has more than one murder to solve, and embarks on a quest that takes him to a little fishing village north of London in Essex where he encounters many more mysteries. Rutledge learns that the man was not who he claimed to be, and that was but the first thing he had to unravel. Then to discover the meaning of the only clue he had: a gold woman’s locket with the picture of a young girl, found around the man’s neck. Without the sanction of an official inquiry, the Inspector proceeds to develop the facts, despite the uncooperative and even hostile reception he receives in the village where additional murders and deaths occur. A novel written by the mother-and-son team writing under the nom de plume Charles Todd, Confession is up to the high level of its predecessors: the plot is tightly woven, the characters well-drawn and the reader is drawn forward anxiously waiting to find out what comes next. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another engaging and delectable story featuring that well-rounded character - Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard. Can't say which of the Rutledge mysteries is the best: they're all equally enjoyable. Good character development in a well-written and interesting story line.
BookLoverCT More than 1 year ago
This story starts with an individual coming to Ian to confess to a crime. It is now up to Inspector Ian Rutledge to figure out the truth. The story centers around a very unfriendly fishing town of Furnham. All of these stories have been enjoyable reads. Enjoy Hammish's insights in all of his books.
DeeZeeCA More than 1 year ago
As usual you think you now where the flow is going, but you don't. Hard to put down and sleep. A great series of books!
TexasGrandmaKK More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! So many twists and turns--lots of red herrings which had me puzzling over who the murderer really was. Vintage Charles Todd with Inspector Rutledge at his finest. Would recommend very highly!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series. Would love to see a PBS series made from the books. As usual the mother/son authors have a great twist to the ending. Looking forward to the next book. Also recommend the Bess Crawford series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this whole series and it keeps getting better. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plenty of twists and good plots and characters, I enjoyed and I can see Ian Rutledge became older and deal with his shell shock better. Worthwhile!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this one. More of Ian doing his work and not Hamish taking over . Good mystery, lots of twists. Highly recommed.
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ian Rutledge fights his demons, but in this novel Hamish MacLeod is fairly silent. A man enters Scotland Yard and confesses a murder to Ian. The man is murdered before Ian can question the man. Ian must go to Essex to discover the answers to this killing. Of course, the answers are not easily found, and more killings are uncovered. The story presents the village life in the 1910's and 1920's in England. The townspeople do not want change or intruders. Todd shows the class distinctions and the rigidness of village life. An interesting tale is about the smuggling of goods from France by the English fisherman. The endeavor is not primarily for personal profit, but to thwart England's taxation.
readafew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Confession is the 14th book in the Ian Rutledge mystery series written by the mother and son team. This is the second Inspector Rutledge book I¿ve read and while I did enjoy the first book, I found this one so much better. I think it was because the first one had much more political maneuvering in it. This one was all about the mystery.A man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses to a 5 year old murder that no one knows about to Inspector Rutledge. The man is dying from inoperable cancer and only has a few weeks left to live. Rutledge wasn¿t sure he totally believed the man, but the story intrigued him, so while not opening an official investigation he started doing a little snooping around. He went and visited a sleepy and rather unfriendly village where the crime supposedly took place. Shortly after the confession and Ian¿s trip to the village, the man who confessed was found floating in the river with a bullet hole in the back of his head. Not only that, that man was not the person he claimed to be to the Inspector. No one was sure who he was, but Rutledge suspected it might have something to do with the murder he confessed to as another man. Inspector Rutledge has an interesting knot to untangle in this one. There are a lot of clues and some get in the way of the actual investigation he is trying to conduct. As I said earlier, I really enjoyed reading this book. It had a real mystery almost like an Agatha Christie crossed with a Sherlock Holmes. It had the English countryside feel, though this one was the insular country folk unhappy with outsiders. The writing is good and the pace is nice but not intense. I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes British mysteries.
SilversReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Furnham was a fishing town with very unfriendly residents that could spot an unfriendly outsider immediately when he walked into town. Ian Rutledge was the stranger that screamed police, and the residents screamed nothing but coldness and silence. What could they be hiding, and why would they deny that they knew anything about the dead man in the photo when he had relatives in the town and had lived there nearby as a child? The residents of Furnham were an odd lot with loyalty to each other and the entire town.Rutledge definitely felt all the answers to the murdered man were in this small fishing town, but getting the information was going to prove to be difficult. He returned time after time much to the anger of the town¿s residents, but the clues were there....they just had to be ¿dug¿ out. Another thing to consider too.....was the current investigation connected to past people and past disappearances and murders? Is that why the town was so closed mouthed?Don¿t miss out on this one ¿¿Ian was on another great investigation in this Todd mystery and, of course, Hamish was there as well. The setting, the twists and turns of the storyline, the subplots, and the fascinating, well-described characters will again keep you involved and turning the pages. I always look forward to an Ian Rutledge get completely involved with the story and characters. 5/5
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A dying man's spurious confession leads Inspector Rutledge into a puzzling tangle of a case in the marshes of Essex.I don't know if this series is getting tired or if I am.
WaltNoise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an intriguing mystery, set in London, 1920; the aftereffects of the Great War are still in evidence. A dying man confesses to an undetected murder before disappearing, only to be found murdered. Inspector Rutledge¿s unraveling of this mystery leads to the uncovering of numerous other crimes. The situation becomes very complex, but remains believable. This is the first Inspector Rutledge mystery that I¿ve read, and I enjoyed it very much. Plot, dialogue, and characters are all excellent (although I could have done without Rutledge¿s Imaginary Friend, Hamish.)
cfk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was excellent! I am rarely blind-sided by the revelation of the killer, but this one was completely unexpected. And using the 'confession' of a dying man using a false name as the book's starting point was truly interesting.The voice in the back of his mind, adds an unusual dimension to the inspector.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me a little while to get into this book,the authors have such a great feel for the time and place of these novels, but they do require total immersion. Love reading about the effects of the Great War on these little towns, as well as the secrets that they harbor. Rutledge is such a unique character, trailing Hamish around with him, definitely another one of my favorites. I did find keeping track of the four different men in the story a bit of a trial but enjoyed reading it nonetheless.
pennykaplan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An insular Essex village hold the secrets to multiple murders and a false confession and Ian figures itnout with Hamish more in the background in this episode in the series. Is Ian on the road to recovery?
Dorritt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first volume I've read in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, so approached it as a "newbie". However, didn't find this to be a problem. The book is plot- rather than character-driven, so no need for a lot of exposition to familiarize oneself with on-going story elements or returning characters.The plot being this: In the years immediately following WWI, a dying man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses to a murder. The ensuing investigation involves a wealthy family that has experienced several mysterious deaths, characters variously scarred by the war, and an insular English village guarding a Terrible Secret.All of which is fine, except that if you're going to write a story that's plot- rather than character-driven, the plot had better be able to carry the weight, and I felt like this plot wasn't quite up to the task. Some of the elements were confusing, the terrible secret wasn't that terrible, the murderers' motive was (I thought) unsatisfyingly thin, and the investigation seemed to involve an unnecessary number of fruitless interviews and dead ends, each of which had the effect of further deadening what little suspense the writer managed to sustain. Which is all the more disappointing because there was promise here. Todd is a competent writer - competent enough to have created characters whose lives are all, in one way or another, immutably altered by war: villages devastated by the encroachment of modernity, families devastated by death of brothers/lovers/sons, brains scarred by the horrors of the front. If only he'd allowed these characters to drive the story instead of filling the requisite number of pages with fruitless interviews, red herrings, and endless descriptions of marshes, think this could have been a lot more suspenseful, meaningful, and memorable.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the 14th book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. (If you want to start at the beginning, ¿A Test of Wills¿ is the first of the series.) This was the first Charles Todd book I¿ve read, so I was worried the book would not hold up well on its own. I shouldn¿t have worried. From the first paragraph, I was pulled in to Rutledge¿s world of crime solving. The author subtly filled in the backstory of Hamish¿the voice in Rutledge¿s mind, and his shell shock. It was very well done, for the benefit of those who haven¿t read the whole series.A dying man walks into Rutledge¿s office and confesses to a murder five years previously. Except Rutledge hasn¿t even heard of that murder. Oh, and the dying man is found shot to death a short time later, and he doesn¿t appear to be who he says he was. To make things worse, Rutledge has to spend time in a small, creepy, unfriendly village while he pieces the mystery together.I loved the plot and the writing ¿ it grabbed my attention from the start and did not let go. I will definitely read more in this series. Highly recommended for those who love old fashioned mysteries and good character development.(I received this book through Amazon's Vine Program.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of characters to keep track of.
JimJF More than 1 year ago
I rate this a four star only because of the period which is not something I seek out. The writing and originality of the plot are superb.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how these U.S. co-authors manage to create such wonderful British mysteries, but I hope they have many more yarns to spin! Love Inspector Rutledge. by aj west
TravelerPS More than 1 year ago
Excellent plot! A man comes into Scotland Yard to admit to a murder, then he himself is found dead a week or so later! Rutledge leaves for a village and has to sort out his investigation from many complicated clues. I have read all the books except for the last one this past year and Charles Todd writing team has gotten better with each novel! Great reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago