book cover of A Test of Wills
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A Test of Wills

(1996)
(The first book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
1997 Anthony Award for Best First Novel (nominee)
1997 Barry Award for Best First Novel
1997 Dilys Award for Best Book (nominee)
1997 Edgar Award for Best First Novel (nominee)
1997 John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger (shortlist)

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.


Genre: Historical Mystery

Praise for this book

"You're going to love Todd." - Stephen King


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