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Uncovering a killer is difficult when there is No Shred of Evidence

No Shred of Evidence: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

by Charles Todd

William Morrow

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: February 16, 2016


Life is rarely straightforward, and murder in real life is never as straightforward or as cut and dry as it is in novels.

No Shred of Evidence puts Inspector Ian Rutledge in an unusual position. A man is near death. Three young women of respectable family claim that they saw Harry’s boat sinking and were attempting to save him from drowning by pulling him into their boat. A local farmer claims they were attempting to drown the man and there was no second boat. There is no clear evidence either way, but the accusation is given weight because no-one knows what the farmer has to gain. It is up to Inspector Rutledge to uncover what happened and find evidence. If he doesn’t, the three young women may hang on the word of the farmer alone. The more he digs, the more secrets he uncovers and the more complicated the case becomes. Someone wanted Harry Saunders to die enough that they sabotaged his boat. Someone is killing anyone who was in contact with a mysterious young widow who visited a few months before.

Part of what makes No Shred of Evidence such a good book is that it resembles life in that murder is not normally a simple whodunnit. While it is natural to focus on the victim, this case and many others are not about the victim. The victim in many ways plays the smallest role. This is a story where characters are propelled to act for a variety of reasons - revenge, old grudges, envy, anger, and fear. Getting to the truth is difficult, and providing proof of the innocence of the young women is difficult when the murder was not about the victim. No Shred of Evidence is as much about why people lie, as about finding the reasons behind Harry Saunders’ death.

No Shred of Evidence is an excellent and unusual historical mystery.


I received a copy of No Shred of Evidence from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review.



In Cornwall, four women out boating see a man in another boat that appears to be sinking. In the rescue, Harry Saunders is gravely injured, and a witness accuses the women of attempted murder. They are placed under house arrest, and a very reluctant Ian Rutledge is sent to Padstow, where he is informed that the investigation is all but closed.

With the victim in a coma, there is no one to refute the witness. Rutledge’s inquiry takes an unexpected personal turn when he discovers that one of the accused is none other than the cousin of the woman he had intended to marry in 1914. And then another person is savagely attacked—but with the suspects in custody, why hasn’t the killing stopped?

Rutledge will require all his skill to deal with the families of those involved, the local police, and his own painful memories, if he is to find a killer who may—or may not—hold the key to their fate.


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