Gate Keeper
by Todd, Charles

An encounter with a frightened woman standing over a body launches an inquiry that leads Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge into a dangerous confrontation with a stealthy killer and his own painful memories. By the New York Times best-selling author of the Bess Crawford mysteries. 75,000 first printing.

December 1920. Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge is driving home from his sister's wedding when he comes upon the scene of an apparent homicide. A man lies dead in the road; a woman with bloody hands is bending over the body. "I didn't do it," she says, claiming that somebody came out of nowhere, shot the man, and vanished. The victim turns out to be Stephen Wentworth, a man with a convoluted family history (including hints that he may have had something to do with a previous death). As Rutledge digs deeper, there's yet another death, and Rutledge is forced to consider the possibility that someone has just begun a killing spree. The Rutledge series hits a milestone with its twentieth installment. Fans will be pleased but hardly surprised to learn that this one, like its predecessors, is tightly plotted, gracefully written, and dramatically intense. Here's to another 20. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Inspector Ian Rutledge's 20th appearance finds him fighting for control of a case no one wants him to solve. Left unexpectedly at loose ends by his sister Frances' wedding, Rutledge, who's taken several days' leave from Scotland Yard, drives off into the night and doesn't stop until he comes upon another motorcar in the middle of the road and a woman alongside it with blood on her hands. Elizabeth MacRae tells Rutledge a wildly improbable story: a stranger stepped out into the road, stopped the vehicle, and then, after the briefest possible exchange, shot Elizabeth's companion, bookseller Stephen Wentworth, in the heart and ran off. Rutledge insists that the Yard be called in so he can snatch the case away from local Inspector Larry Reed. Reed, only two weeks married himself, is not pleased at being bypassed in favor of a man who may have been the first officer on the scene but was present as a witness rather than an officer, and the two men repeatedly clash. It's just as wel l that they do, for despite its name, things remain eerily quiet around the village of Wolfpit as Rutledge, driven by an anonymous accusation of Wentworth as a murderer who deserved his fate, begins his questioning. The dead man may have been impulsive—he returned from the Great War, purchased a bookshop from an old friend, and then suddenly took a trip to Peru—but he seems to have had no enemies except his monstrous mother, who's always blamed him for the death of his twin brother when they were both just 6 months old. Progress on the case is produced not by Rutledge's inquiries but by two more shootings, all linked, it becomes increasingly evident, to a medieval treatise on apples. Not the strongest outing for the memorably shellshocked sleuth (Racing the Devil, 2017, etc.). The suspects are shadowy and indistinct, the detection is slow, and the murders are both less interesting and less potent than the mystery foreshadowed by Todd's title. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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