I long have been a fan of author Charles Todd’s mystery series featuring the character Ian Rutledge. A Fine Summer’s Day is the just-published, perfectly-presented prequel to the sixteen novels in the series. It is a satisfying detective story in its own right, but what’s best is learning some of the back stories of the series’ characters.
If you are already a fan too, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this installment. It takes place just as England is mobilizing to enter World War I. Rutledge is a detective at Scotland Yard and is courting Jean, the young woman who we know will break their engagement upon Rutledge’s return from the war. Many other familiar characters whom we have come to know are introduced here as well.
Why do I like the series so much? Ian Rutledge is an honorable and intelligent man who is haunted by the horror of the war. How he solves mysteries while trying to regain some emotional stability in his life are complimentary and compelling themes. His Scotland Yard assignments take him all around England–and sometimes to Scotland–and the places and historical settings come to life.
When I recommend the series to readers, I always suggest that they read them in order. While there is enough background information repeated in each novel to make them understandable if you don’t read them in order, the character development does flow from book to book and you see the natural progression of the characters’ lives. Now I will suggest that readers begin with this book.
A couple more notes about the series’ characters: you don’t get much here about Hamish MacLeod–which makes sense because he becomes part of Ian Rutledge’s life only when Rutledge enters the war. And there’s a tantalizing reference to Simon Brandon, a name you will recognize if you read the Bess Crawford mysteries, by the same author. I wonder if we can look forward to a merging of their stories sometime soon?