‘The Confession’ by Charles Todd Published by William Morrow Paperbacks, 27th November
2012. ISBN: 978-1-2500-1529-7
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
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.
Reviewer Ted Feit
“Truth will come to sight; murder cannot be hid long.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
You needn't be a fan of or even knowledgeable about art to enjoy this thoroughly
enjoyable crime novel. But if you are and if you are pleased to read carefully constructed,
devastatingly plotted, well-written crime fiction, you'll want to read this novel. Here
are outrageous, flamboyant real figures in the British Post-modern art scene. Here
are prissy, mincing extravagantly wealthy scheming art collectors and gallery owners,
hustlers all, they are cheek by jowl with questionable educators all trying to demonstrate
that great art is what they say it is.
Most of us recall from childhood the Hans Christian
Anderson tale of "The Emperor's New Clothes," in which a sad ruler is persuaded to
walk naked among his subjects until called down by a small child. Most of us know
intuitively that great wealth and prominence does not automatically make one smarter
or better educated. Yet, in many areas of creative endeavor, some of the most prominent
and wealthiest are, in truth, the greatest charlatans.
With her keen eye, her incisive
pen and her impressive talent, Ruth Dudley Edwards takes on the British post modern
young artists movement with all its excesses and ridiculousness and brings down the
many emperors with resounding clangor. The writing is uproariously amusing from the
very beginning as self-confessed reactionary Lady Ida (Jack) Troutbeck imbibes good
claret and furiously attacks what she considers the bad art of the modern art world,
thereby earning enmity from many sides. For the first half of the novel her pointed
opinions and asides in conversations with her usual group of friends will have you
laughing, possibly out loud.
Edwards is a canny, careful talent and suddenly, at just
the right moment, what has seemed to be a cozy stroll in the galleries turns somber
and deadly as Jack and several other important figures in the art world go missing.
Thereafter the horror and the urgency of the need to rescue the lady build precipitously
and if the circumstances become a trifle outlandish and readers are required to accept
some largish leaps of faith, well, none of it is as outlandish as much that happens
these days in the world of modern art. "Killing the Emperors," is as fine and clever
a crime novel as you are likely to encounter this year. ------- Reviewer: Carl Brookins www.carlbrookins.com