A Test of Wills by Charles Todd (1996)
Description: Its 1919 and the War to End All Wars has been won. But for Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, recently returned form the battlefields of France, there is no peace. Suffering from shell shock, tormented by the mocking ever-present voice of the young Scot he had executed for refusing to fight, Rutledge plunges into his work to save his sanity. But his first assignment is a case certain to spell disaster, personally and professionally.
In Warwickshire, a popular colonel has been murdered, and the main suspect is a decorated war hero and close friend of the Prince of Wales. The case is a political minefield, and no matter what the outcome, Rutledge may not escape with his career intact. But, win or lose, the cost could be even higher, the one witness who could break the case is himself a shell shock victim, teetering on the edge of reality. And in this war-ravaged man, Rutledge sees his own possible future, should he lose grip on his mind...
Review: Inspector Ian Rutledge returned from the war a broken man with a broken heart. All he wants to do is try to do his job and silence the ever-present voice in his head. One of his rivals in Scotland Yard is hoping he will fail and sends him off to Warwickshire to solve the murder of a popular colonel. The suspect is none other than an honored war hero who is friend to royalty. Rutledge tries to remember his skill at investigation but years of war have sapped him of that skill. With secrets revealed and political pressure, will it be too much for Rutledge or will he return to London with his wits intact?
A great opening for a very promising series. I instantly liked the character of Rutledge and found Hamish to be a witty commentator. The characters were well written and full of life. The mystery was fantastic and was pleasantly surprised that I could not figure it out right away. So many mysteries today are too obvious. I can't wait to read more from Todd and learn more about Ian Rutledge. A fantastic historical mystery that is a must read.
Score: 4.5 out of 5