Charles Todd
William Morrow
January 21st, 2014

Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd, the mother-son writing team, once again has Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge attempting to solve a murder case. Their books are part historical novels and part gripping thrillers that are always character based. Readers who live in the technology age should find it fascinating how the protagonists must solve the crimes by studying human character and behavior and not with DNA or forensic evidence.

The plot begins when a sniper shoots a former British captain during a wedding at Ely Cathedral. As the investigation widens a political candidate is also gunned down by the sniper, with a witness claiming the shooter a monster. Because of the double murder, Scotland Yard becomes involved and sends Ian Rutledge to investigate. This tale becomes very complicated and complex as there are a number of twists regarding the suspects.

As in all Todd novels they explore different issues of the WWI era. Through the voice of a dead comrade, Corporal Hamish, shell shock, known today as PTSD, is examined along with the attitude towards snipers. Besides the subject of soldiers scarred by war readers are able to learn how young single women were doomed to spinsterhood due to the large number of men lost in the war.

The setting takes on an importance as it becomes vital to the plot. Through the vast descriptions, the reader feels as if they were in Rutledge’s motorcar. The creaking windmill in the low-lying Fens along with the fog and heavy rain makes the mystery eerier.

Hunting Shadows is cleverly written. The reader is led down one path only to find through the many twists that there are other possibilities. The story is very riveting and informative that will keep people’s attention throughout.

Elise Cooper