Bantam, Oct 2002, 24.95, 304 pp.
Seven years ago, Ian Rutledge was the policeman responsible for sending Ben Shaw to the hangman for killing three elderly, bedridden women. Ian left police work to fight in France during World War I, but what he saw in the trenches almost destroyed him. He came back shell-shocked, guilt ridden and broken with his only grip on sanity being his work at Scotland Yard.
His belief in himself as a good police officer is shattered when Ben Shaw's widow comes into his office with evidence that she claims will exonerate her husband. She wants Rutledge to reopen the case but before he can come to any decisions he is sent to Marling in Kent. Three veterans of the war, all with one leg amputated have been murdered and the local police don't have a clue about who is responsible. During his investigation, Mrs. Shaw hounds Rutledge yet he is able to carry on with both cases.
The protagonist of this novel acts normal but he carries on in his head a dialogue with a soldier he ordered killed before a firing squad in France for failing to obey a direct order. At times the reader isn't sure if Rutledge actually believes Hamish is dead but there is ample evidence he is able to conduct an inquiry and make brilliant investigations from evidence he gathers. A FEARSOME DOUBT is a great mystery as well as a haunting human drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner