Catalogue


A pale horse /
Charles Todd.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : William Morrow, c2008.
description
360 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0061233560 (acid-free paper), 9780061233562 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series author
imprint
New York : William Morrow, c2008.
isbn
0061233560 (acid-free paper)
9780061233562 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
6366943
A Look Inside
First Chapter
A Pale Horse
An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

Chapter One

Berkshire

Early April 1920

It was nearing the full moon, and the night seemed to shimmer with light.

He walked down the lane and turned to look up at the hillside.

The graceful white horse cut into the chalk by ancient Britons galloped across the green slope without stirring from its place.

He couldn't see it without remembering. That was the only reason he had chosen to live in this Godforsaken place. To torment himself until he couldn't bear it any more.

The horses had died too, in that first gas attack. It wasn't just the men. The poor beasts couldn't know what the low-lying mist wafting toward them brought in its wake.

An eyewitness had likened the cloud to a great horse moving across a barren meadow, ambling toward the barn for its dinner. Not hurrying, not drifting, just moving steadily, without apparent purpose, without apparent design, following the wind as the horse followed the scent of its stall and the fresh hay heaped in the manger. But like the pale horse of the Apocalypse, on his back rode Death. And Hell had truly followed them.

He smiled grimly at the imagery.

He hadn't been there when the Germans unleashed the chlorine attack against the Allies at Ypres. Yet it had changed his life in ways no one could have foreseen.

He wished he'd never heard the name of that medieval Belgian town. He wished the Germans had never reached it. Or that the British had left well enough alone and let them have the wretched place.

There was a silver flask of brandy in his pocket, and he felt for it, uncapped it, lifted it to his lips, then paused.

What if he drank it to the dregs and crawled into the ruins of Wayland's Smithy to die, like a wounded animal hiding itself away until it either healed or breathed its last?

Would anyone care? A shadow was coming up the road toward him. It was Andrew Slater, the smith. It was impossible not to recognize him, even at this distance. Andrew was built like a church tower, tall and broad and solid. But the man didn't turn at the lane. He passed by without speaking, as if sleepwalking, moving on toward the Smithy. Like to like.

It would be crowded inside with the two of them there, he told himself with black humor. Not counting whatever ghosts lingered in that narrow Stone Age tomb.

I envy Andrew Slater, he thought, there in the darkness. He lives only in the present, while I have only the past.

He drank a little of the brandy, for courage, saluting the pale horse with his flask. Then he turned and trudged back to his cottage and turned up all the lamps for comfort.

A Pale Horse
An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
. Copyright © by Charles Todd . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from A Pale Horse by Charles Todd
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-11-01:
When Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to a small village to look for a missing man, he has no idea that the case will become so complicated or that the people encountered will be so secretive. At the same time, an unidentified body is found in the ruins of a Yorkshire abbey, and the detective in charge of the case wants to pin the murder on the man who married his former fiancee. In his ninth outing (after A False Mirror), Rutledge uses all of his investigative prowess to piece together painstakingly what happened and how the two cases are connected. Award winner Todd, the pseudonym for a mother-and-son writing team, is brilliant at creating atmosphere and unforgettable characters. Fans of historicals by Rennie Airth and Anne Perry will snap this up. For all mystery collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2007-10-08:
The exemplary 10th Inspector Ian Rutledge historical whodunit (after A False Mirror) offers tight plotting and rich characterization amid understated but convincing evocations of post-WWI England. Haunted by memories of battle, unable to find a safe haven after his discharge from a psychiatric hospital and the abrupt departure of his fiance, shell-shocked veteran Rutledge has returned to his prewar life as a Scotland Yard inspector. This time out, the War Office wants him to locate a mysterious person of interest, connected with (and perhaps the same as) an unidentified corpse found at a Yorkshire abbey. Rutledge toils diligently to uncover personal secrets and shames that may have motivated someone to kill, and their connection to a long-ago romance between the suspected killer's wife and the local inspector investigating the case. The mother and son writing as Charles Todd show no evidence of running out of ideas for murder mysteries that illuminate new aspects of their compelling protagonist and the horrors of the Great War. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, October 2007
Booklist, November 2007
Library Journal, November 2007
Boston Globe, December 2007
School Library Journal, April 2008
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In the ruins of Yorkshire's Fountains Abbey lies the body of a man wrapped in a cloak, the face covered by a gas mask. Next to him is a book on alchemy, which belongs to the schoolmaster, a conscientious objector in the Great War. Who is this man, and is the investigation into his death being manipulated by a thirst for revenge? Meanwhile, the British War Office is searching for a missing man of their own, someone whose war work was so secret that even Rutledge isn't told his real name or what he did. The search takes Rutledge to Berkshire, where cottages once built to house lepers stand in the shadow of a great white horse cut into the chalk hillside. The current inhabitants of the cottages are outcasts, too, hiding from their own pasts. Who among them is telling the truth about their neighbors and who is twisting it? Here is a puzzle requiring all of Rutledge's daring and skill, for there are layers of lies and deception, while a ruthless killer is determined to hold on to freedom at any cost. And the pale horse looming overhead serves as a reminder that death is never finished with anyone, least of all the men who fought in the trenches of France.

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