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The Murder Stone [Hardcover]

Todd , Charles Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Nov 2003
Charles Todd’s critically acclaimed novels featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge have been hailed by The Washington Post Book World as “one of the best historical series being written today.” The New York Times Book Review calls Todd’s mysteries “meticulously wrought...harrowing psychological drama.” Now he stakes out new territory in this mesmerizing stand-alone novel of one woman’s dark journey through family obsession, wartime secrets, and a chilling legacy.…

The Murder Stone

The Great War is still raging in the autumn of 1916, when Francesca Hatton’s beloved grandfather dies on the family estate in
England’s isolated Exe Valley. Grieving for the man who raised her, Francesca is stunned to find an unsigned letter among his effects, cursing the Hattons and their descendants. Now a stranger has shown up on her doorstep, accusing her grandfather of being a murderer.

Ex-soldier Richard Leighton blames Francis Hatton for the death of his mother, who vanished nearly a quarter of a century earlier. Her body was never found, only a shawl stained with her blood. And Leighton is not the only one with a claim on Francesca’s grandfather. On the day of his funeral, unexpected visitors arrive with the mourners, and Francesca is besieged by charges of Hatton’s vicious dealings. Yet there is also a shy young woman who praises his secret generosity.

At the center of the intrigue is an unusual white stone that lies hidden in a secluded garden where Francesca once played with her five male cousins, all of them dead now on the battlefields of France. According to the terms of Hatton’s will, the Murder Stone must be dug up and transported to Scotland, where it is to be buried forever. But before Francesca can begin the journey, a series of ominous “accidents” occur, culminating in the discovery of a bleeding body on the Murder Stone itself.

Was Hatton the loving, caring protector his granddaughter always believed him to be?
Or a vindictive, secretive man who cultivated dangerous enemies? Francesca sets out in pursuit of the truth—and into the sights of someone determined to exact a revenge long overdue.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; First Edition edition (Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553803484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553803488
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.3 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 761,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspector Rutledge 9 Jan 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once more this great author did not let me down, I enjoy a good mystery and appreciate the way you get swept up in this author's passion surrounding World War 1 and the following years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing Charles Todd novel 16 Nov 2004
By Katherine M. Zerfas - Published on Amazon.com
The plot of this novel doesn't really hold together into an integrated whole. The book rambled on far too long. Most of the inserts by the cousins were irrelevant; the shooter episodes didn't really further the plot and the entire shooter subplot could have been eliminated without damage to the plot. Does it really matter plot-wise that one of the cousins, now a wee bit mad, has returned? Even the Murder Stone does little to hold the plot together--it's just not made that important in the novel. Furthermore,the last one third of the novel went on and on, and the book's ending stretched credulity to the limit.

Characterization, for Todd, was quite poor. Leighton was little more than a stick figure, albeit, romantic, but still never a real person. Most of the other character came off the same way, wooden sticks wending their way through the novel. Not even the villianess fared any better. Of all the characters, only Francesca and Stevens, the rector, were given human touches. On the bright side, the book is a page turner and kept me going at a good pace; it's only later on that the book runs out of steam and so do you.

I will look forward to the new Rutledge novel, hoping that it will not be as

overdone as this one is.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Charles Todd wrote this? 23 Feb 2008
By M. H Mele - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had really enjoyed the Inspector Rutledge mysteries by Charles Todd, and checked this book out accidentally. It is not in the Rutledge series - and while it SAYS Charles Todd is the author, it feels as if someone else wrote it. A little research revealed that Charles Todd is a mother/son writing team. One of them seems to be missing here. The story is shallow, implausible and overstated, reading rather like a script for daytime soap opera.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not his best 28 Nov 2003
By E Rice - Published on Amazon.com
the reviewer who was less than enchanted with this book makes many very good points, most of which i agree with. many of the plot twists are beyond hackneyed (antagonism turns to love, solitary heroine saves day), too much time is spent investigating the charges, not enough time is spent with the major plot twist, and the ending is completely unbelievable and unrealistic (since the heroine is not a sociopath). the village "characters" are undeveloped and there are scenes that are thrown in just for effect and not for any compelling narative developement. if the short apprearances of the dead cousins were supposed to be affecting reminders of all that was lost on the blood-sodden fields of france, they were too abrupt and too manipulative to move me (but then, i have family stories of trench warfare to draw on). the book might have been better had it been longer, or maybe only if it had been more focused. it seems a bit slapdash and there's also a hint of authorly 'how many plot devices can i shoehorn into this thing?'
although i enjoyed the writing enough to stay up much too late to finish the book, i won't be keeping this one in my library.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother 26 Jun 2007
By Jonathan R. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am an avid reader of these kind of books, and am usually very willing to make allowances for varying degrees of writing skill. Having said that, I found this book tedious and poorly written with pages of mind-numbingly vacuous dialogue, a meandering knee-jerk plot, and a preposterous ending.

I pride myself on finishing every book I start, and I did with this one, but it was like pulling teeth. By the time I got to the last five pages, I was just ready for it to be over.

If you like good mysteries, good World War I historical novels, or good thrillers, do yourself a favor - PASS THIS ONE UP.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I spent half of the book going HUH? 3 April 2005
By K. L Sadler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In my opinion, Charles Todd is usually one of the best 5 mystery writers today. I enjoy his books because they are well-written...usually. This one meandered all over the place. I wonder if it was because he was trying to write it from mainly a woman's point of view. I really enjoy his other books, so this was a big letdown.

I figured the missing mother was going to come into the story alive, somewhere along the line. So much time was spent on the mutual angst of the two characters. Nobody moans that much, and has someone stick around to listen to it.

The second half picked up somewhat, and I really enjoyed the snippets by each of the brothers ... their take on their childhood, and on World War I. It was partly because of Todd I became interested in WWI. I am really hoping the next one is more like his original series...

Karen Sadler
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