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A Pale Horse | [Charles Todd]

A Pale Horse

Late on a spring night in 1920, five boys cross the Yorkshire dales to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, intent on raising the Devil. Instead, they stumble over the Devil himself, sitting there watching them. Terrified, they run for their lives, leaving behind a book on alchemy stolen from their schoolmaster. The next morning, a body is discovered in the cloisters of the abbey--a man swathed in a hooded cloak and wearing a gas mask.
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Publisher's Summary

Late on a spring night in 1920, five boys cross the Yorkshire dales to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, intent on raising the Devil. Instead, they stumble over the Devil himself, sitting there watching them. Terrified, they run for their lives, leaving behind a book on alchemy stolen from their schoolmaster. The next morning, a body is discovered in the cloisters of the abbey--a man swathed in a hooded cloak and wearing a gas mask.

Scotland Yard dispatches Inspector Rutledge to find out who the man was and why he died in such mysterious circumstances. But the villagers clearly have something to hide. And what does the huge chalk sculpture of a pale horse of the Apocalypse have to do with the crime?

©2008 Charles Todd; (P)2009 BBC Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (278 )
5 star
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3.9 (183 )
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Story
4.3 (184 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marie Tallahassee, FL, United States 01-30-11
    Marie Tallahassee, FL, United States 01-30-11 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wild ride"

    In A Pale House, Inspector Ian Rutledge is challenged by seemingly disparate mysteries: the finding of a dead man in an abbey ruin, the disappearance of another man, and, confounding his efforts to solve the first two events, a series of murders and attempted murders that ride the reader to an almost breathless ending. The twists and turns of Todd's Inspector Rutledge series never ceases to amaze me, and I appreciate that Rutledge, like the reader, spends a fair amount of time getting it wrong before he gets it right; although, Rutledge is rarely too far from the truth. This particular installment also brings to light in all its horrifying clarity, that which is Hamish. Readers familiar with this series already know about Hamish, but if you haven't read/listened to this novel, then, finally, you can learn about the whole sad, tragic story, at length, not just in snippets.
    I give this novel only 4 stars because I do feel the mysteries were wrapped up a little too easily at the end. But the getting there was very satisfying. As always, Simon Prebble's narration was a joy.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Hopkins Rockledge, FL, United States 12-07-12
    N. Hopkins Rockledge, FL, United States 12-07-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Outstanding author - Outstanding narrator"
    What did you love best about A Pale Horse?

    This is the third book in the series I've heard, the first being the more recent A Lonely Death. (Audible.com special. It caught my eye.) I thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the next book in the series, The Confession. That being the most recent one available, I looked at earlier productions but found I had developed a loyalty to Simon Prebble's narration. I downloaded A Pale Horse and was not disappointed. As an author, I can't help but be a little ticked off at Todd's ability to consistently weave a multi-layered, yet highly "readable" story. I wish he'd cut it out. He's making the rest of us look bad. And of course, Simon is simply outstanding as a narrator. One of the best I've heard.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Pale Horse?

    As in all crime / mystery books - The Reveal


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    Ian Rutledge


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me chuckle and I may or may not have developed a frog in my throat at one point or another. Quite frankly, it's none of your business. However, my overall opinion is that you can't go wrong with this author/narrator combination if you enjoy a procedural detective story, with a unique protagonist.


    Any additional comments?

    Go for it. You'll like it. Really.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 06-21-13
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 06-21-13 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
    926
    ratings
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    "THE ENTIRE SERIES IS ADDICTING!!!"

    Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: "A Pale Horse" is the 10th in the seriers. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!

    No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIII Grants Pass, OR, United States 08-12-12
    HIII Grants Pass, OR, United States 08-12-12
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    "Wondering"

    if I should listen to this story again? I just didn't enjoy it nearly as much at the rest of the series. The story seems to ramble and get caught up in unnecessary, endless details. Hamish, who usually is a nagging helper just becomes a nasty nag. I must suggest skipping this one-sorry.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Fruitport, MI, USA 08-18-09
    Laura Fruitport, MI, USA 08-18-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Pale Horse"

    If you like a mystery with interesting charaters this series is very good. The stories are about the people surviving WWI and its aftermath. The reader does an excellant job of seperating the voices.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Porter Corners, NY, USA 10-08-09
    Mark Porter Corners, NY, USA 10-08-09 Member Since 2003
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    "Like listening to paint dry."

    I got through the first half. I got through about 1/4 of the second half, then I wanted to drive off a bridge. Great narrator, boring story.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruby Goshen, NS, Canada 05-23-14
    Ruby Goshen, NS, Canada 05-23-14 Member Since 2008
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    "The narrator made this book work for me"
    Would you listen to A Pale Horse again? Why?

    Yes. In fact, I have a few narrators that I will listen to again if I can't find a book of interest and one of those narrators is Simon Prebble.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Pale Horse?

    I think this one, more than the others in the series, had a wonderful culmination of events where secrets were revealed. In this particular story, there were a few surprises I hadn't seen coming and that's always a good thing.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    His voice is smooth, not over acted. There are some narrators who disappear as the story unfolds and you are aware of only the story. There are some who are so bland or over acting that you wish for another narrator, any narrator. And then there is Simon Prebble, a narrator whose voice enhances the story. He does any good book justice and he served this one very well.


    Any additional comments?

    I hadn't realized how much the narrator brought to this series until I listened to another audio book with a different narrator -- I didn't finish that one. If you've turned away from this series with any other narrator, give this one a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Midlothian, VA, United States 07-23-13
    James Midlothian, VA, United States 07-23-13 Member Since 2008
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    "It's a decent story for the sale price."

    Not much to say. It is a decent story, fairly well written and read. I bought this as a "sale" item and for that price it was worth it. It is not a story that I will return to though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew PORTLAND, OR, United States 06-07-13
    matthew PORTLAND, OR, United States 06-07-13
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    "...Kinda boreing"

    I bought this book purely because it was on sale for $5. I read the description and it talked about kids in a grave yard and raising the devil. It sounded intriguing. Unfortunatly that's about the first half hour of the book. The rest is a quite boring detective story with uninteresting characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 05-24-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 05-24-13

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just teetering on the edge of 5 stars"

    This is my third Inspector Rutledge mystery, and as with the previous two I found the premise and the set-up extremely well done, drawing me in very early. But somewhere past the halfway mark I realize that the execution is falling just a bit short in delivering information that moves the action forward. In this case, there are two mysteries to solve, including whether they are even related. The suspect pool is large and development of each character sparse enough that I can't even start to judge who may have done it. By dividing our attention, both mysteries lack the impact they might have had on their own. That said, I have suffered through far worse mysteries with absurd results. Never once have I had to roll my eyes and yell at Rutledge "Get a grip!"

    I think there is some similarity to the style of the Holmes stories, in that they are actually more character driven than plot driven. The fun of Sherlock Holmes is watching Holmes work, not figuring out the solution in advance. What brings me back for more Rutledge is Rutledge himself. He is one of my favorite detective characters - complex, tormented, but such a good man. Simon Prebble personifies him with his low, calm, almost melancholy voice, yet brings his passion to the surface when justice is on the line. In the early stages of this story, Rutledge has to deal with a group of frightened little boys, and he is the perfect balance of compassionate authority. And the boys themselves are a hoot. A very worthy entry in the series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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