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Posts Tagged ‘charles todd’

The Gate Keeper: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Gate KeeperThe Gate Keeper opens with Inspector Rutledge’s controlled life about to be upset as his sister has married and is off on her honeymoon. Following the ceremony, Rutledge starts home but decides to go for a short drive to sort out his feelings on his life with his sister now married. The drive turns out to take him quite a distance from London and ends with him coming across a woman standing over a body lying in the middle of the road. Rutledge stops to help and doesn’t quite know what to make of her story that a man stepped out in front of their car. Her companion got out to ask what the fellow needed and was shot. The man in the road then vanished. Although the woman is visibly upset, he sends her in his car into town to get the constable while he stays with the body and their car. The constable comes and takes over the crime scene and sends Rutledge and the woman on their way. Rutledge books a room at the inn in town. The next morning he goes to see how the woman is and after hearing from her and speaking with the constable, urges him to request Scotland Yard be called in. He then calls his boss and arranges to be assigned to the case. Read the rest of this entry »

The Shattered Tree: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd (Review #2)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Shattered TreeIn the heart of the battle, an exhausted, severely injured British soldier ends up at the same aid station where Bess Crawford is serving. He is treated and sent on to the rear battle line. When she reports the soldier to her superior, mentioning that the soldier was actually French but seemed to speak fluent German. She is told that most likely, the man is simply from an area that has gone back and forth between France and Germany throughout history. Bess considers that, until his sudden disappearance in Paris makes her question where his loyalties lie. After being injured by a sniper’s bullet, Bess herself ends up in Paris and is and begins to search for the missing soldier. She quickly discovers that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye and it may require paying the ultimate price in order to solve it.

The Shattered Tree by mother and son writing team Charles Todd, is the 8th entry in the well-received Bess Crawford series. Set in the early part of the 20th Century, Bess Crawford is an English, mystery-solving nurse. In contrast to Todd’s Ian Rutledge series or other British sleuths, the Crawford novels tend to be less graphic, more of a “cozy” variety. Don’t let that drive you away, though. Crawford is a determined character and certainly holds her own among the distinguished family tree that makes up British sleuths. If you are somewhat burned out on the more hard-core authors, I would encourage you to give Bess Crawford a try. This novel gets 4/5 stars.

Racing the Devil: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Racing the DevilWartime comrades frequently form unusual alliances. Former rivals can become lasting friends through bonding over life/death experiences of any war.
It was June of 1916 when a group of seven English officers who while sharing could be their final drink, they discovered that all of them had lived within one-hundred miles of each other in southern England with each of them being very passionate with motorcars.

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Realizing that this could their last relaxing drink before returning to the Front to fight the Germans, these men agree to a challenge if they survive the war. The agreement is for each of the men to meet in Paris one-year after the war ends and to each bring a vehicle to race all the way to Nice, whether their car is a racer of not.

The race occurs with only the five survivors and becomes dangerous as the drivers approach Nice with one accident, severely injuring the former officer and another vehicle almost pushed off the road.
One year after the race another death occurred of a clergyman who died in an accident. It appears that someone hit his car while pushing it off the road while he was driving.

How does this connect to the racers? The owner of the car was one of the officers. Read the rest of this entry »

The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford Mysteries) by Charles Todd

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Shattered TreeBess Crawford is a hard-working battlefield nurse. It is October of 1918 and working in a field hospital in France is exhausting as well as dangerous with combat nearby.

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For one soldier, it is even stranger. One single soldier is holding onto a single tree. Somehow, a man is hiding behind a battered-up tree with no shoes and with little left of his uniform. The rescuers have to pry his fingers from the bark of the tree. Not knowing whether the man is dead or alive, they place him on a stretcher, covering him with a blanket. Read the rest of this entry »

No Shred of Evidence: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

No Shred of EvidenceWhen 4 young ladies are accused of murder, Scotland Yard­ Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to investigate after the first assigned inspector unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. What seems like an open and shut case soon proves to be anything but. The first inspector’s notes are missing and despite what appears to be an eyewitness to the crime, there is no apparent motive and an abundance of contradictory evidence. The deeper Rutledge digs into the background of the accused, the more secrets began to be revealed. Rutledge soon finds himself in a race against time to find the true killer before he strikes again.

No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd is a first class British mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Set in the years following WW I, Todd has done a yeoman’s job of taking the reader back to the early 20th century, before computers and DNA, when investigating a murder meant hitting the streets instead of tapping on keys. I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the 1920’s British countryside where loyalties run deep and secrets are numerous. I won’t be able to read the rest of the series fast enough and give this book 4/5 stars.

A Question of Honor: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries) by Charles Todd

A Question of Honor by Charles ToddReviewed by Nancy Eaton

Bess Crawford’s father was a colonel stationed in India. A Question of Honor begins with a prologue that gives the reader background information about the family’s time there.

Even though the time in India was a happy time for the family, something happened that tarnished the reputation of Colonel Crawford’s regiment. One of the officers who Colonel Crawford had trained is a murderer. His name is Lt. Wade. He killed five people and was never brought to trial. Everyone believed that Lt. Wade had died in the mountains.

Now, ten years later, Bess is still working as a nurse in the front lines. Bess then learned from a dying Sgt. that Lt. Wade is still alive. Bess is determined to find Lt. Wade to try and figure out what made this man a killer.

Bess used her leave to investigate. She has a very personal agenda of her own. She wanted to be able to help clear the damaged reputation of her father’s regiment.

Will Bess Crawford be able to solve this case? Read the rest of this entry »

Proof of Guilt: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd

Proof of GuiltReviewed by Patricia Reid

When Ian Rutledge is assigned to head up an investigation involving an unidentified body, Rutledge has a difficult job. First, he must identify the body and that does not prove to be an easy task. Second, he must decide if the victim is a murder victim or if he died accidentally. Then once he has reached the conclusion that the victim was murdered Rutledge must discover where he was murdered. Rutledge feels that the victim met his death at a different location and the body was later moved.

Rutledge turns up a clue that leads him to suspect that the victim might have a connection to the firm of House of French, French and Traynor. The firm produces a world famous Madeira wine. Lewis French, the head of the London office, is missing. Rutledge is unable to locate French in London and his sister has no idea where her brother might be.

Matthew Traynor, head of the Portugal side of the wine operation, is expected to arrive in England but the French family has not received any word from Traynor and his office only knows he left Portugal to travel to London. Read the rest of this entry »

An Unmarked Grave: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd

An Unmarked Grave Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

An Unmarked Grave takes place in 1918. Bess Crawford is a nurse where she is assigned to a field hospital in France. She tends to the wounded. The situation gets worse as the Spanish Influenza strikes and makes not only the soldiers very ill but also some of the medical staff.

A private who is in charge of the dead bodies until a burial takes place confronts Bess. He asks Bess to come with him. The private has one more body then he should have and suspects something is not right. Bess agrees to go with the private to the shed where the bodies are kept. After viewing the body, she confirms the soldier did not die from either the influenza or from wounds received in a battle. She also recognizes the young man.

Bess wants to report this matter; however, she is taken very ill with the influenza. She is sent home to her parents. As she begins to recover, she starts to remember some of these things that happened with the soldier. At first, she thought she might have had a dream but in time she is sure about what had taken place. Read the rest of this entry »

The Confession by Charles Todd (Review #2)

The Confession Reviewed by Teri Davis

What would any police inspector do when a man seeks him out at Scotland Yard to confess that he has actually murdered a man? Added to this, this man states that he will not be punished for his crime since he is near to death. The man is dying of stomach cancer. Essentially, this is a deathbed confession.

Inspector Rutledge investigates but is sidetracked when he discovered this man’s body was discovered in the Thames River. He was not drowned, but was shot in the back of the head. Why kill a dying man? Quickly, he also discovers that the dying man identified himself with a false name. Why? Added to this is a locket around the dead man’s neck. The locket belonged to a woman who long ago disappeared.

Ian Rutledge is dealing with his own guilt from fighting in France during World War I. Being given orders and being responsible for these orders being carried out, Rutledge was placed in the situation of leading his men on a suicidal mission. When his best friend refused the order, Rutledge was forced to shoot him. Now, the guilt daily stays with him in the form of the assassinated man speaking with him in his mind. There is evidence of shell-shock in every war. Read the rest of this entry »

A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd

A Bitter TruthReviewed by Patricia Reid

Bess Crawford is a nurse currently stationed in France. When she is granted leave to return to England for the Christmas holidays she welcomes the break from the war zone and looks forward to visiting her family. Bess shares an apartment with some other nurses and it is not uncommon for her to have the place to herself since her roommates all have assignments. Upon arriving at her apartment building, Bess finds a young woman huddled in the doorway. The woman is well dressed and appears to be bruised as well as suffering from the cold. Her clothing is not designed to keep her warm. Bess convinces the woman to take refuge in her apartment.

The young woman finally confides in Bess that her name is Lydia Ellis and she resides in Sussex. She had quarreled with her husband, Captain Roger Ellis, and Captain Ellis had struck her. Eventually after hearing bits and pieces of Lydia’s story Bess convinced her to return to her home in Sussex and attempt to work out her problems. Lydia’s husband was home on compassionate leave due to the illness of his brother Alan. Alan had recently passed away.

Lydia begged Bess to return to Sussex with her to Vixen Hill the Ellis family home. Bess agrees although Simon Brandon was not thrilled with the idea. Simon is a long time family friend who had served with Bess’ father and is very protective of Bess. On arrival at Vixen Hill, Bess finds that plans are underway for a memorial service for Alan and family members are gathering. Bess learns of the tragic death of Roger’s young sister years ago, a death from which none of the family seems to have completely recovered. Read the rest of this entry »