A Test of Wills Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Test of Wills

Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, has returned to the force at the end of the First World War. In 1919 England was thankful for the end of war, the return of their men and was beginning to rebuild the society that had been interrupted. But as Rutledge well knows, nothing will be the same and there is a sense of loss in England.
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Rutledge has returned from the war shell-shocked, numb and with the ever present voice of Hamish MacLeod whispering in his ear. Rutledge is in a daily battle to stay sane and he knows it. Hamish was a young Scot Rutledge was forced to execute for refusing to fight and now is a constant companion inhabiting his subconcious.

The village of Warwickshire asks for the help of Scotland Yard when Colonel Harris, from one its oldest families, is brutally murdered and found in a field. The local authorities back away from the case when it appears Captain Wilton, fiance of Harris' ward, war hero and friend of the royal family may be involved.
When Rutledge begins his investigation, he finds more than one person with a motive and the opportunity to kill the colonel. The very complex story and the way Rutledge unravels the mystery is a riveting read. Todd tells a story of post war England that is masterful in the description of the locations themselves, but more so the fragile emotions of a whole generation that felt themselves lost and unsure.
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Chapter Analysis of A Test of Wills

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1900-1920's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Murder of certain profession?    -   the rich! Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   local police w/ IQ of a houseplant Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, British Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings of fear/loss/inadequacy Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Small town?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Charles Todd Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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