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In 1914, Ian Rutledge left a brilliant career at Scotland Yard to fight in the Great War. Now, in 1919, he is back, burdened with a heavy secret: he is still suffering from shell shock. With him almost constantly is the cynical, taunting voice of the young Scots soldier he was forced to have executed on the battlefield for refusing to fight.
In a desperate gamble to salvage his sanity, Rutledge takes up his duties at Scotland Yard. But a colleague, jealous of Rutledge’s prewar successes, has learned his secret and maneuvers to have him assigned to a case that promises to spell disaster no matter what the outcome.
In a Warwickshire village, a popular retired military officer has been murdered, and the chief suspect is, unhappily for the Inspector, a much-decorated war hero and a friend of the Prince of Wales. Rutledge, fighting his malady and the tormentor in…[more]
Rutledge’s superior dispatches him to Durham to question the mother of a missing young woman. The weathered remains found on a windswept Scottish mountainside may be those of Eleanor Gray, but the imperious Lady Maude Gray will have to be handled delicately. This is not the only ground that Rutledge must tread carefully. The case will more than likely lead him on to Scotland, where many of Rutledge’s ghosts rest uneasily.
Scotland was the homeland of many of the young soldiers Rutledge led into battle—and, for far too many of them, to their deaths. And of Corporal Hamish MacLeod, the Highlander he shot for breaking on the battlefield. It is Hamish’s voice, caustic and accusing, that haunts his waking moments and assesses his every action. Rutledge knows that in the Scottish countryside he will hear echoes of that condemning voice everywhere he turns. …[more]