This was the first volume I've read in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, so approached it as a "newbie". However, didn't find this to be a problem. The book is plot- rather than character-driven, so no need for a lot of exposition to familiarize oneself with on-going story elements or returning characters.The plot being this: In the years immediately following WWI, a dying man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses to a murder. The ensuing investigation involves a wealthy family that has experienced several mysterious deaths, characters variously scarred by the war, and an insular English village guarding a Terrible Secret.All of which is fine, except that if you're going to write a story that's plot- rather than character-driven, the plot had better be able to carry the weight, and I felt like this plot wasn't quite up to the task. Some of the elements were confusing, the terrible secret wasn't that terrible, the murderers' motive was (I thought) unsatisfyingly thin, and the investigation seemed to involve an unnecessary number of fruitless interviews and dead ends, each of which had the effect of further deadening what little suspense the writer managed to sustain. Which is all the more disappointing because there was promise here. Todd is a competent writer - competent enough to have created characters whose lives are all, in one way or another, immutably altered by war: villages devastated by the encroachment of modernity, families devastated by death of brothers/lovers/sons, brains scarred by the horrors of the front. If only he'd allowed these characters to drive the story instead of filling the requisite number of pages with fruitless interviews, red herrings, and endless descriptions of marshes, think this could have been a lot more suspenseful, meaningful, and memorable.