Charles Todd brings his classic mystery series to a new level of intensity and intrigue. The year is 1919, and Ian Rutledge is a fragile yet courageous former soldier searching for his place in a post-war world. Now a Scotland Yard detective, Rutledge is called upon to probe a murder in the small Norfolk town of Osterley - but he soon discovers that the crime may be connected to one of the greatest disasters of all time…
©2001 Charles Todd (P)2002 W. F. Howes
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I don't know why Audible.com repeatedly asks this question in its Guided Review. It's rather presumptive to assume, as much as books cost today - especially audiobooks - that most readers/listeners would buy both formats. Of the close to 2,000 audiobooks I own and 10,000 print books that I've read in my lifetime, I only have doubles on, maybe 5, works. This is not one of them.
I was really not that surprised at the instigator because he gave himself up pretty early through his actions. However, the COMPLEXITY and MOTIVE of the conspiracy was a bit shocking.
There are 16 books in this series (4 not available in audio, although this was one of them when I pulled up the Series list), I started with "A Pale Horse" which is #10 and narrated by the great Simon Prebble. I then went from 10 to 15 and got "addicted" to the stories and very comfortable with Prebble who makes the whole psychological thriller aspect more compelling and interesting. But, out of sheer desperation (pretty much like a junkie needing a "fix"), I fed my "habit" by listening to #2, 3, and 4, narrated by Samuel Gillies" There's nothing really wrong with him, after all he started out as the narrator, but Prebble is just a better fit, giving the story a darker feel while Gillies is more suited to a light Charles Dickens story or something more Victorian. I bought #18, "Hunting Shadows" upon its recent recent 2014 release. This book was released in January 2014 also (?) so I downloaded it as soon as I finished 18. Bad move because I just couldn't get into Gilles and the quality of the recording was not good.
This series keeps the listener on guard, with its numerous twists and turns and red herrings. The moving part of the story is in every book in this series - I keep feeling sorry for Inspector Rutledge. He was dumped by his shallow fiancée when he returned from the war and, although attracted to numerous women in 14 books, he never seems to be able to pull himself together emotionally to embark on a new relationship.
Rutledge's "demon" is a psychological "talking monkey on his back" called "Hamish McCloud". No spoiler from me! But I didn't like Gilles Scottish accent enough. Hamish became irritating because it's hard to understand what Gilles is saying half the time.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Charles Todd is the pen name of a mother & son writing duo who somehow create fabulous books together (they also write the Bess Crawford series)--and the two are perfect complements for each other.
Ian Rutledge is a man deeply wounded in body, mind & soul by the Great War, and he is now reclaiming his life as an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has to do his job while trying to recover from shell shock, which in his case, manifests frequently as an internal personification, or voice, or a dead comrade from the war, who makes his views known much of the time. He functions somewhat like Rutledge's alter ego--in that he often points out nuances and dangers that Rutledge doesn't consider.
It is hard to describe this part of the books. I think if I had just read about this on the back of a book jacket, I might never have bought the books in the first place (years back). However, I just began reading and discovered that Charles Todd (mother & son) have found very sensitive ways to handle what is a devastating psychological condition in a highly creative manner, without forcing the reader to suspend belief. Their ability to weave story, plot, history, psychology & feeling into their books is exceptional.
In this book, he is called to a town where a priest has been murdered, and he has to tread carefully because the local police are not totally viewing his presence happily. However, they do work together, and as is always the case in this series, the plot becomes complex, full of interesting people who could all have motives for the murder--and Rutledge has to fight against the local hopes for the villain to have been an outsider, by carefully negotiating his way with careful questioning and interviews.
This is a really good book--I read it some years ago, and now was happy to listen to it--I enjoyed it quite as much as reading, perhaps even more. Narrator is very good--read at a good pace, and with good inflection. A tiny bit challenging to tell people apart by their voices--but does not detract from the whole thing.
I highly recommend this book (and every other one in the series!)
I have listened to all but the last book in this series and find the various mysteries in them among the most intriguing of any detective books I've read (and I've read hundreds). I just finished listening to this one for the second time - the first time was a couple of years ago and I did not remember how it worked out. There are two main mysteries - why one woman hated the priest who was murdered, and what the dead priest's involvement with another women was. Oh, and what a dying man who wasn't Catholic confessed to the priest not long before the murder.
As usual with these books I was hooked in from the very start and could hardly bring myself to stop listening to do anything else. All the questions are answered in the end, but as the end approached things started happening so fast it was hard to keep up. Then once all the secrets were revealed the book ended so abruptly I had to rewind to see if I'd missed something. I hadn't. The book just ended. Sometimes I think these mystery writers get so tired of writing the books they just wind them up as quickly as they can when they get to that point.
As usual the narration was brilliant. I really prefer Samuel Gillies to Simon Prebble although Mr. Prebble is faultless. Samuel Gillies has a more dramatic reading style I really enjoy.
I am listening to the whole series a second time before I go on to the last one, which I have already purchased.
I highly recommend this book. Yes I was a little disappointed in the ending, but if you're a mystery fan you have probably learned the resolution of the mystery is rarely as satisfying as the rest of the story.
I would recommend this series, however, would suggest the listener start at the beginning of the series. I started at the end and worked my way back. When I got to this narrator I was not willing to listen. The latter books had been performed by Simon Prebble but this narrator's performance was ...well, just frustrating to listen to. It seemed choppy and the narration interfered with the story. However, if I had started listening to this narrator in the beginning and then moved on to Prebble, I would not have had a better narrator to compare this one too. Of course, it is very probably I would not have moved forward to enjoy the rest of the series.
I would have changed nothing about the story.
I don't often complain about a narrator, and I feel I might be unfair in my complaints here. However, if the narration had been slower in places, not as 'excited' or 'animated' in others it would have helped with the flow.
I love this series and am forcing myself to go on with this book. I may yet abandon it. I have over 400 books in my library and have abandoned only two others -- neither because of the narrator.
There's so much description of places and people that I seemed to lose the story line. I admit, I was doing other things while listening, but still, I wondered in what direction I was being led and for what purpose. Maybe I need to listen again, more carefully, to enjoy places and characters.
This is a short story or novella gone bad. How many times must we hear the evidence without advancing the story? I am halfway through, I cannot take anymore. I give up.
Yes. I enjoyed another of their (mother/son) novels. That is why I purchased this one to listen to as I drive.
Samuel Gillies does a good performance.
This would be a good short story. As a novel, as Jack Nicholson has said, "There are so many places to stop. How did it end?"
To long, many chatty boring chapters.
The plot was ok, but not spell binding.
This book was not a waste of time, needs to be abridged.
"Back to the future"
As with all murders one has to go back to understand the present. Charles Todd writes a good tale with a strong feel for the period and for the people who are emerging from the horrors of the Great War. It is a world on the cusp of huge changes and the listener has the feel of the twilight of the C19th and Victorian Britain and the winds of change of the new century.
The plot, the characters and the north Norfolk marshes are vividly brought into being in this story that is well-told by Samuel Gilles.
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