THE RED DOOR
Todd returns with another mystery set in post-World War I England featuring Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge. This mother-and-son writing team cleverly weaves in social details and historical facts without slowing the story or the character development. It's hard not to read about the psychological and physical wounds of war and the fear left by the great flu epidemic of 1918 without feeling a shiver for our own time. The period after the Great War is producing very strong mystery novels (Jacqueline Winspear, Barbara Cleverly), and Todd's are among the best.
In London, Inspector Rutledge searches for a man who disappeared from a clinic where he was taken after a breakdown. He's from an important family and suffers scars from the war. Soon it's obvious that his family is hiding secrets. Highlighting the pain of the time are the guilt and psychological problems that Rutledge himself brought back from the war. (MORROW, Jan., 352 pp., $24.99)