‘The Confession’ is the second Inspector Rutledge novel by Charles Todd that I have read, after ‘A False Mirror,’ and the 13th in the series.
The year is 1920 but with flashbacks to an incident in the Essex marshes from 1915 when the body of a man is discovered, floating in the water, by three men fishing. The current narrative begins when a man walks into Rutledge’s office in Scotland Yard and confesses to killing his cousin before the war but will give no further details. So Rutledge and the readers set off on a mystery tour, made worse by this man’s body being discovered floating in the Thames a few days (and a few pages!) later.
Ian Rutledge is still suffering from his wartime post-traumatic stress syndrome and continues to hear the voice of his former Scottish Corporal Hamish MacLeod in his head. Although put to good use I found this device a bit irritating as the plot develops, almost arresting its denouement rather than charging ahead.
However, the scene-setting of the marshes and descriptions of its inhabitants around the fictional River Hawking and actual Blackwater and Crouch are splendid and I looked forward to the fictional Rutledge leaving the claustrophobia of London for the watery expanses of East Anglia each time, as I still do today