Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Review: A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd

A Divided Loyalty (Inspector Ian Rutledge, Book #22)
by Charles Todd
Release Date: February 4th 2020
2020 William Morrow / HarperCollins Publishers
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978 -0062905550
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Chief Inspector Brian Leslie, a respected colleague of Ian Rutledge’s, is sent to Avebury, a village set inside a great prehistoric stone circle not far from Stonehenge.

A young woman has been murdered next to a mysterious, hooded, figure-like stone, but no one recognizes her—or admits to it. And how did she get there? Despite a thorough investigation, it appears that her killer has simply vanished.

Rutledge, returning from the conclusion of a case involving another apparently unknown woman, is asked to take a second look at Leslie’s inquiry, to see if he can identify this victim. But Rutledge is convinced Chief Superintendent Jameson only hopes to tarnish his earlier success once he also fails.

Where to begin? He too finds very little to go on in Avebury, slowly widening his search beyond the village—only to discover that unlikely—possibly even unreliable—clues are pointing him toward an impossible solution, one that will draw the wrath of the Yard down on him, and very likely see him dismissed if he pursues it. But what about the victim—what does he owe this tragic woman? Where must his loyalty lie?

My Thoughts
A Divided Loyalty is the next entry in the Inspector Rutledge series and I have to say, despite all these books in the series, the authors have yet to let me down when it comes to interesting stories and flawed, but interesting, characters.  Occurring during the years after the Great War, many of the stories often deal directly with incidents during the war and their after-effects and I love how the authors intertwine that into their stories, showing the consequences of things despite the war being over and how it affected people so many years later.  So many interesting things to talk about, but such tragic stories as well that need to be out there and told.

Rutledge is such a fascinating character and I have been such a huge fan since the first book.  If you are not familiar with this series, Rutledge served in the Great War, particularly during the Battle of the Somme, where he had to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life.  That decision has affected the rest of his life, resulting in a serious case of shell shock, a condition he tries very hard to hide from his superiors as well as from his friends.  I have grown with Rutledge through all these books and have watched him develop and learn to work through his issues.  Because the authors spend a lot of time discussing the Great War and the consequences, even if you are familiar with many of the events (I teach History, in particular the twentieth century so have a lot of knowledge about this topic), there is still so much to learn from these books, especially from the human interest side, which is what interests me and keeps me coming back to these books as well as to their companion series, the Bess Crawford books.

Rutledge doesn't particularly get along with his superiors who are trying to get rid of him, but because of his success in solving cases, makes it difficult for them to do so.  Rutledge is then tasked with this almost impossible case, but once he begins to piece things together, an unlikely suspect comes to the forefront testing Rutledge's skill.  It is difficult to discuss this further as I don't want to give too much away, but to say I missed some important clues is an understatement.  The authors totally caught me by surprise at the end, and to say I was sad at how it all resolved doesn't go far enough.  I was devastated.  The authors have this way of developing their characters so that you are empathetic towards even the villains.  

A Divided Loyalty is a really good psychological mystery that delves into the consequences of one's actions during the war and how it can affect people's lives afterwards.  It is very well-written, and includes many psychological discussions about a lot of the characters.  I have always thought the authors did a great job developing their characters, and this book is no exception.   You don't need to have read the previous installments in order to enjoy this one, but they do give you a better understanding of the Rutledge's history as well as the politics at Scotland Yard.


  1. great cover and it made me curious. glad it sounds like a good one
    sherry @ fundinmental