The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

Sound of Broken GlassThe Sound of Broken Glass

Deborah Crombie

William Morrow, 2013, 368 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0061990632

Reviewed by Patricia E. ReidDeborah Crombie

A seedy hotel in the Crystal Palace district of London is the scene of the murder of Vincent Arnott, a well-respected barrister.  Detective Inspector Gemma Jones is called to the scene, accompanied by newly promoted Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot.  It appears that the victim arrived at the hotel alone but let someone in through the fire door once he was in the hotel.   The victim was found naked and apparently strangled.

The officers visit the Arnott home to inform Mrs. Arnott and find that she is suffering from dementia and, evidently, her husband has been doing his best to care for her at home.  It is difficult for Mrs. Arnott to begin to understand what the police officers are attempting to tell her.  Mrs. Arnott can’t offer any information that would help the officers in their investigation due to her condition.

Arnott was at a local pub prior to going to the hotel.  The guitar player at the pub, Andy Monahan, was involved in an argument that evening. Arnott had supposedly had words with Monahan,  as well.  It turns out that Duncan, Gemma’s husband, had previously dealt  with Monahan in an earlier case.  Because of Duncan’s earlier acquaintance with Andy, he helps a bit with the investigation even though he is not authorized to do so.  Before Gemma and her assistant can get too far into the investigation another barrister is found murdered and the circumstances are much like the Arnott murder. The only difference being the second victim was found in his home not at a hotel.

Gemma’s husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is off work at home caring for the couple’s three year-old foster daughter.  Their daughter has been having a hard time adjusting and Gemma and Duncan have taken turns using leave in order to stay home and care for the girl.  Duncan’s leave is about to run out and he is investigating a new school for Caroline.  While he is checking into possibilities for Caroline, he finds yet another connection to Andy Monahan.

The past plays a large part in the present happenings and it takes awhile for Gemma and her crew to finally uncover the entire story and find the killer.  The conclusion took me completely by surprise.  I enjoyed “The Sound of Broken Glass” and would recommend the book.

The Confession by Charles Todd

The Confession

(An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery)

Charles Todd

William Morrow, 2012, 352 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0062015662

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

A man walks into Rutledge’s office at Scotland Yard and identifies himself as Wyatt Russell.  From Russell’s appearance, it is obvious that the man is very ill.  Russell admits to Rutledge that he is suffering from cancer and does not have long to live.  His purpose for visiting Scotland Yard is to confess that he killed a man in 1915 and was never apprehended.  Russell states that confessing is the only way to clear his conscience.  He names his victim as his cousin, Justin Fowler.

Rutledge is curious but confused.  Although Russell admits to the murder, he is not willing to offer many details and eventually states that his confusion is due to the morphine that he is taking.  Without enough evidence to open a murder inquiry Rutledge still cannot just let the matter go.  His curiosity will not allow it.  When a body is found floating in the Thames with a bullet in the back of the head, it turns out that the body is that of Rutledge’s confessor to murder of a few weeks ago. There is a gold locket around the man’s neck containing a picture of a young woman.

Rutledge takes the locket and travels to Essex and the village of Furnham, the home of Wyatt Russell.  Although the community of

Charles and Caroline Todd write the Inspector Rutledge series

Furnham does not welcome strangers, Rutledge is able to speak to the minister who informs Rutledge that the picture of the dead man is not that of Wyatt Russell.

It turns out the dead man who passed himself off, as Wyatt Russell is actual Ben Willet, the son of a fisherman, who grew up in the town of Furnham.  Wyatt Russell resided at River’s Edge, an estate near the town.  Wyatt’s mother took in a cousin Justin Fowler to raise after Fowler’s parents died. Cynthia Farraday also came to live at River’s Edge after the death of her parents.  Wyatt’s mother disappeared from River’s Edge and her body was never found. Servants attested to the fact that the gold locket found around the neck of Ben Willet was actually owned by Mrs. Russell and there was a picture inside of Mr. and Mrs. Russell.  Mrs. Russell was known to wear the locket daily.

Rutledge is left with a puzzle of so many pieces it seems impossible to put together but he is determined.  It seems that there are many mysteries surrounding River’s Edge to say nothing of the town of Furnham. The residents have good reason to keep strangers away.  Rutledge has at least three deaths to puzzle out.  Mrs. Russell who disappeared and is believed dead in 1914, Justin Fowler’s reported death in 1915 and now Ben Willet, who confessed to the killing of Justin Fowler when passing himself off as Wyatt Russell.

The story is intriguing and the outcome is not one that I expected.  Hamish McLeod, the ghost that rides shotgun with Rutledge, is present in The Confession but his presence is not as predominant as it has been in past Rutledge novels.  I found this novel to be a great addition to the Ian Rutledge series but can be read as a stand-alone.