Watchers of Time

Watchers of Time

An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard arrives in the Norfolk port of Osterley to investigate the murder of the local Catholic priest, who had attended the deathbed of Herbert Baker, a Protestant who had demanded to see a Catholic priest as he lay dying.

Blackwell North Amer
In Osterley, a marshy Norfolk backwater, a man lies dying on a rainy autumn night. While natural causes will surely claim Herbert Baker's life in a matter of hours, his last request baffles his family and friends. Baker, a devout Anglican, inexplicably demands to see the town's Catholic priest for a last confession. The old man dies without knowing that the very priest who gave him comfort will follow him to the grave just a few weeks later - the victim of an appalling murder.
The local police are convinced the evidence points to an interrupted robbery, and have named a suspect, Matthew Walsh. But the dead priest's bishop insists that Scotland Yard oversee the investigation. A simple task for Rutledge, a man not yet well enough to return to full duty. The Inspector draws on years of experience and a war-honed intuition as he finds himself uncovering secrets that the local authorities would prefer not to see explored. Surely, they reason, it is better to charge an outsider - Matthew Walsh - with murder than to learn that someone in this tightly knit community would commit such a horrendous crime. And yet there are those, Rutledge soon discovers, who held grudges against the priest that had little to do with God or the Church.
No one in Osterley is aware that Rutledge hears voices - or, rather, one haunting voice: that of a soldier he was forced to execute during the War. It is with the voice of Hamish MacLeod, by turns second-guessing and taunting him, that Rutledge begins a journey toward the devastating truth that will unlock the secrets of Osterley and pare away its layers of deception. And in piecing together a different story, Rutledge encounters a chain of events that stretches from these brooding marshes to one of the greatest sea disasters in history - and who is the secretive woman who survived it? Rutledge comes to believe that he alone can stop a killer from striking again.

& Taylor

Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard arrives in the Norfolk port of Osterly to investigate the murder of the local Catholic priest, a man obsessed with the sinking of the Titanic, who had attended the deathbed of Herbert Baker, a Protestant who had demanded to see a Catholic priest as he lay dying.

Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 2001.
ISBN: 9780553801798
Characteristics: 339 p. ; 24 cm.


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Feb 07, 2018

Inspector Ian Rutledge and Hamish McLeod, his ghostly conscience, are assigned to make a courtesy call on Inspector Blevins in the village of Osterley, where Father James, the Catholic priest has been murdered. Rutledge has not completely recovered from being shot in his last case, but he views this as a release from paperwork, checks out with the doctor, who tells him not to drive; and disobeying doctor's orders, drives to Osterley. On the surface the case is a simple matter of murder by a thief. Blevins is so angry, however, that he asks Rutledge to stay a few days until the murderer is caught; so that Blevins can be sure that his judgment is not clouded by his emotions. Rutledge spends the time interviewing various people in the village about Father James and discovers that Father James was concerned about something before he died, and it seemed to have something to do with a deathbed conversation with one of the villagers. He also comes across various other village opinions and incidents which all fit into a picture that convinces Rutledge that Matthew Walsh, the man who Blevins has arrested, may not be the murderer. Rutledge gradually identifies a fairly large group of possible suspects, and then eliminates them. At the end, there are a number of surprises, and the resolution requires help from unexpected sources. Atmospheric scenery and architecture helps to set the feeling of gloom and depression. The characters are well fleshed out and motivated. The Charles Todd team is improving with each book.

Aug 05, 2017

I like the writing style, and the setting of England soon after WWI. This series entry is okay, although it spends too much time on the extremely large red herring (the accused); and I really would have liked to see a map of the area. I am really tired of the spectre of Hamish having imaginary conversations with Rutledge; those who have not read earlier entries probably have no idea what he's doing in the story or Rutledge's head.

Apr 06, 2014

Terrific mystery from start to finish! a real page turner, kept me guessing up until the last few pages! The mother and son team of authors has struck gold yet again.

Oct 30, 2011

Another good read by the Mother & Son team "Charles Todd".
Rutledge at his best!


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