Excerpt from Racing the Devil

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Read the rules and more teasers at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along.

I’ve read a few of Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge mysteries in the last year, and quite enjoy this Scotland Yard Inspector’s adventures, including the ever-present second voice in his head, a remnant of the shell-shock he suffered from his service during WWI. Racing the Devil is no exception, and I am interested in seeing how this one turns out!

Half hidden by the mist was a narrow bridge, looming on either side. Too narrow for his motorcar. His brother-in-law’s motorcar, he reminded himself in a panic. The bridge was too close to miss. He was headed straight toward it, and there was nothing he could do.

Racing the Devil, Charles Todd

On the eve of the bloody Battle of the Somme, a group of English officers having a last drink before returning to the Front make a promise to each other: if they survive the battle ahead—and make it through the war—they will meet in Paris a year after the fighting ends. They will celebrate their good fortune by racing motorcars they beg, borrow, or own from Paris to Nice.

In November 1919, the officers all meet as planned, and though their motorcars are not designed for racing, they set out for Nice. But a serious mishap mars the reunion. In the mountains just north of their destination, two vehicles are nearly run off the road, and one man is badly injured. No one knows—or will admit to knowing—which driver was at the wheel of the rogue motorcar.

Back in England one year later, during a heavy rainstorm, a driver loses control on a twisting road and is killed in the crash. Was it an accident due to the hazardous conditions? Or premeditated murder? Is the crash connected in some way to the unfortunate events in the mountains above Nice the year before? The dead driver wasn’t in France—although the motorcar he drove was. If it was foul play, was it a case of mistaken identity? Or was the dead man the intended victim after all?

Tell me what you think!


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