A Test of Wills

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 pre-war 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 his head (who is the personification of his own doubts and guilt), doggedly goes about his investigation. He digs into the lives of the villagers: the victim’s ward, a young woman now engaged to the chief suspect; a local artist shunned because of her love for a German prisoner; the reclusive cousins whose cottage adjoins the dead man’s estate. But the witness who might be able to tell him the most is a war-ravaged ex-soldier who chills Rutledge with the realization that if he loses control of himself, he could become this man.

A TEST OF WILLS is an extraordinary first novel in a series that combines a unique kind of psychological suspense with vivid atmosphere and a tantalizing mystery.


Praise for A Test of Wills

“Remarkable.”
Chicago Tribune

“Todd has written a first novel that speaks out, urgently and compassionately, for a long-dead generation and a world he never knew… . A meticulously wrought puzzle.”
New York Times Book Review

“Remarkable…Todd, an American, seems to have perfect pitch in his ability to capture the tenor and nuances of English country life.”
Kansas City Star

“Most ‘Golden Age’ detective novelists wrote as if the First World War hadn’t happened. In A Test of Wills Charles Todd gives us a Golden Age crime story in its proper historical setting. This is an intelligent, controlled, and well-organized first novel, rich with promise of a bright future. I look forward to the next.”
—Reginald Hill, author of Death Comes for the Fat Man

“Psychologically sophisticated, tautly written and craftily plotted…It should prove a pleasure to follow this series.”
San Jose Mercury News

“War-wounded Britain in 1919 is beautifully conveyed in an intricately plotted mystery. With this remarkable debut, Charles Todd breaks new ground in the historical crime novel.”
—Peter Lovesey, author of The Circle

“Strong, elegant prose; detailed surroundings; and sound plotting characterize this debut… . Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“The debut of Charles Todd’s Inspector Ian Rutledge is an auspicious one. In a novel full of complex and believable characters, perhaps the most complex of all is the Great War itself, which backlights this mystery with its monumental horrors.”
—Gaylord Dold, author of The Last Man in Berlin

“The emotional and physical carnage in World War I is used to remarkable effect.”
Chicago Tribune

“A first novel that speaks out, urgently and compassionately, for a long-dead generation… . A meticulously wrought puzzle and a harrowing psychological drama.”
New York Times Book Review

“Todd depicts the outer and inner worlds of his characters with authority and sympathy as he closes in on his surprising—and convincing—conclusion.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“With his tortured detective Ian Rutledge and the ghost who inhabits his mind … Charles Todd has swiftly become one of the most respected writers in the mystery genre.”
Denver Post

“Strong, elegant prose; detailed surroundings; and sound plotting characterize this debut… . Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“More than an ordinary whodunit, this literate thriller raises disturbing issues of war and peace.”
San Diego Union Tribune

A Test of Wills

ISBN: 9780061242847
ISBN10: 0061242845
Imprint: Harper

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Books in the Inspector Rutledge Series

Proof of Guilt The Confession A Lonely Death The Red Door A Matter of Justice A Pale Horse A False Mirror A Long Shadow A Cold Treachery A Fearsome Doubt Watchers of Time Legacy of the Dead Search the Dark Wings of Fire A Test of Wills