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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on "the mark"...,
This review is from: The Red Door (Paperback)"The Red Door" is Charles Todd's newest novel in their Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I say "their" because "Charles Todd" is actually a mother/son writing team. "Door" is their 11th Rutledge and they have started a series, based in WW1 about a nurse, Bess Crawford. (Think of "Maisie Dobbs" about 10 years earlier.) This is the first Rutledge I have reviewed for Amazon, though I have read the other ten books and I did read and review the new Crawford for Amazon/Vine.
If I had rated the preceding Rutledge books, I would have given six out of the ten solid 5 stars. The remaining four - including "Wings of Fire" - I would have rated at 4 stars. "The Red Door", I can give 5 stars without any hesitation. Todd has told a story of a multi-generational family who has buried their secrets, only to have them turn up with a series of unsolved murders. With most Todd books, the main story - that of the Teller family - is balanced with a few "side" stories that are interesting in their own right. If you've enjoyed the Todd books in the past, you'll enjoy this one, as well as their new "Crawford" series. I do think, though, that if you're not interested in historical fiction, you're wasting your time reading the Todd books. They are incredibly filled with atmosphere of the times - the WW1 years and the early 1920's. I wonder, though, after finishing this book if the Todds will end this series and concentrate on Bess Crawford. Some of the ending of this book could possibly be the ending of the series, as well. I guess we'll see....
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taut Psychological Suspense in a Historical Setting,
This review is from: The Red Door (Paperback)"The Red Door, An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery," is the twelfth book in the popular British historical mystery series by New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, actually an American mother-son writing team resident in the east coast states of Delaware, and North Carolina. The Todd team has also published a standalone, and one Bess Crawford mystery.
The book at hand, as the other Rutledges, and the Crawford, is set in the United Kingdom in the immediate post-World War I years. The country is sunk in deepest melancholy, grieving its heavy losses. The Inspector himself is a troubled survivor of the war who frequently hears the voice of Hamish, a Scottish sergeant whom he'd had to kill in the heat of battle. The author(s) describe Hamish thus: "The voice was deep, Scots, and inaudible to the other diners - a vestige of shell shock, guilt, and nightmares that had begun during the fierce battle of the Somme in July 1916. In the clinic, Dr. Fleming had called that voice the price of survival, but for Rutledge it had been a torment nearly beyond enduring."
Rutledge is initially called to investigate odd doings in the powerful, prosperous, and dysfunctional - aren't they all--Teller family. At the same time, he has crossed a young London hoodlum he knows only as Billy, who is now determinedly, and murderously, looking for him. Then he is called to investigate a murder possibly mysteriously linked to the illustrious Teller family. In Lancashire, Florence had painted her front door red, in joyful anticipation of her husband Peter Teller's return from the war. But he never returned: and the question is, did he ever exist, and mustn't he be a member of the Teller family that we already know?
The book's well-written, and well-done. Character development and dialog are fine, as are descriptions of London, and the English countryside. It's an atmospheric page turner, the plot moves along quickly, gives us a lot of psychological suspense, and is satisfyingly complex. It actually generates some power in its descriptions of the stunted life, and brutal death of Florence Teller. I am, however, getting just the teeniest bit tired of Rutledge's invisible friend -- Hamish has a very limited rural vocabulary, and doesn't bring much to the table. A few years ago, I saw the son half of "Charles Todd" speak at two Wilmington (North Carolina) Library Mystery Weekends. The son is a handsome, thoughtful, charming, and intelligent young man, and I'm happy to say this outing is praise-worthy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needed better character development, but good mystery,
This review is from: The Red Door (Ian Rutledge Mysteries) (Hardcover)First Sentence: She stood in front of the cheval glass, the long mirror the Peter had given her on their second anniversary, and considered herself.
Insp. Ian Rutledge has two cases. First is disappearance of Walter Teller.
Rutledge finds the behavior of the missing man's family decidedly odd. The second case is of a violent robber who attacked Rutledge and who murders his next victim. Rutledge is pressured to solve both cases, especially as deaths mount in both.
This is another instance of an author making the mistake of assuming readers have read the previous books and, thus, not providing sufficient character identification or development, particularly of the secondary characters.
Ian and, less so, Hamish are well-enough accounted for. However, there are two characters with similar names, and background is only somewhat provided for one, but not the other, and it takes most of the book before any account is given justifying the antagonism toward Hamish by his superior Bowles. I am happy to say, the Teller family fares better although there are so many of them a Cast of Characters would have been very helpful.
This negative element is balanced by the positive pertaining to sense of time and place. Todd is very good at creating atmosphere, taking us to post WWI England. For historical accuracy, I rank Todd in the same category as Anne Perry, and that's high praise, indeed. The dialogue is very well done and reflects the period as well.
The other skill is in plot. Some may wonder at the need for the second story line. On thinking about it, however, it worked well at provided another element of doubt regarding the primary story. It was also realistic in that most officers would handle more than one case at a time and it, again, displayed Bowles dislike of Rutledge.
Even with the slight negative of character development, the book worked and Todd remains very high on my "must read" list.
THE RED DOOR (Hist Mys/Pol Proc-Insp. Ian Rutledge-England-Golden
Age/1920) - G+
Todd, Charles (aka Charles and Caroline Todd) - 12th in series Wm Morrow, C2010, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780061726163
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "She refuses to let herself' feel anything",
This review is from: The Red Door (Ian Rutledge Mysteries) (Hardcover)The setting is Hobson, Lancashire 1918 a young woman reads letters from her beloved, off fighting in the war. She tries to imagine his return, the cry of welcome and of love and hope, and show her gratitude for his safe return at last. Meanwhile, the focus shifts to the Teller family, the renowned missionary Walter Teller, and his brothers Peter and his wife Amy Edwin his wife Amy, sister Leticia and Walter's wife Jenny who reside at Witch Hazel Farm in Essex. It is here that Todd's complex plot is built upon the questionable motives of this well-to-do family and their efforts to cover up and affair of the past. Certainly Peter Teller has been having a hard time of late. With his damaged leg behind repair whose nightly whisky dulls the pain, the ache of torn muscle and smashed nerves. It is into this family that Inspector Ian Rutledge descends, the ghosts of the war still clear in his mind and the voices of Hamish MacLeod ever present at the back of his mind though the man himself lay dead in his French grave.
It has been a difficult long twelve months after Rutledge's return to Scotland Yard a year ago. Forced to investigate a case where individuals are attacked at knifepoint with Rutledge himself the recipient, something suddenly comes up. Walter Teller mysteriously goes missing in London. Seeking treatment at the Belvedere Clinic for some sort of nervous condition, a paralysis which had come as quickly as it suddenly disappeared had, in the middle of the afternoon dressed himself and walked out of the clinic on his own. Jenny and the rest of the family can shed little light on the disappearance - he had come to London to speak to his bankers while his son Harry is off the Harrow shortly. Rutledge's investigative skills are piqued, while Jenny and the family come to the clinic at once. Jenny is the one in distress, telling the Inspector her husband is a good man who takes his responsibilities seriously. Perhaps his brothers know something they haven't told the police.
Clearly it's as if Walter never existed then his clothing comes to light on the back of a costermonger near Covent Garden. Perhaps he had deliberately disappeared for whatever reason to deal with a completely different way of life. Edwin and Amy search for Walter themselves while the emotions of Jenny are raw, her tears not far below the surface Then there's a murder in Hobson, a woman called Florence Teller. There are no witnesses, no sign of robbery, no physical assault, nothing to go on but the woman's body found in the front passage of her house. The crime adds another complicated layer to this mystery as Rutledge is positive that Florence somehow related to the rest of the Teller family. Yet another murder and accusation of murder in the Teller family and Jenny's innocence sacrificed. The clues appear to lie with a dove gray parrot and the broken handle of a cane with blood on the knob, a missing box of letters, and a rose garden, a memorial to a wife's memory. The irrefutable facts are that Teller or someone had driven away around the same time Florence Teller was murdered. Perhaps Peter was a catalyst for her death.
A gorgeously imagined Edwardian mystery, the image of a lonely woman weeping over a lost love and reading hidden missives to her lover Peter Teller reverberates throughout. Is this a family connection that Edwin Teller might know, perhaps distant cousin, or an unrelated family of the same name. The echoes of the Great War reverberate throughout, wartime taking a terrible toll on those who remain teaching everyone that telegrams bring bad news, someone missing, A death. The end of hope. For Rutledge, the flashes of shells and the guns of France still pound in his head, the stones of the past anchored forever amid the torrent of his days, redirecting, obstructing. thwarting and frustrating him at every turn. It is the dark corners of London know how to keep secrets, but the real tragedy takes place in rural Lancashire as a woman is deserted, left waiting by her red door. Mike Leonard March 2010.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read eagerly,
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This review is from: The Red Door: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries) (Kindle Edition)In usual style this story is full of surprises. Where does this team of two get such a stream of good ideas? More power and productivity to them.
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The Red Door (Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd (Paperback - 24 Mar 2011)
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