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The Murder Stone

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  1,058 ratings  ·  128 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 4th 2003 by Bantam
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Tara
This was my first Charles Todd book (I'd gone to a local bookstore in search of the first book in either of Todd's two series, but this was all I could find), and I have a bit of a mental split in what I thought of this book.

On the one hand, I found it really enjoyable to read -- nicely paced plotting, crisp writing, and pretty gripping as I struggled to figure out the truth behind all the secrets exposed by Frances Hatton's death. I also loved the air of good old-fashioned Gothic mystery/romanc
...more
Carol
This book might have been better had it been more focused and less convoluted. There is a lot of authorly 'how many plot devices can I shoehorn into this thing?'

The plot(s) 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 any damage to the whole. Does it really matter plot-wi
...more
Tony
THE MURDER STONE. (2003). Charles Todd. **.
I never got very far into this novel – the first one by this writer that I’ve tried. Boring. It started out with all the wrong – for me – vibes. Before the novel begins, the author provides a list of characters This runs from pages xv to xix; I never stopped to count all of them, but there were a bunch. That kind of thing bodes trouble for me. “War and Peace” didn’t have that many characters. We are soon introduced to the main character of the book: The
...more
Charlene
I am a big fan of the Charles Todd authored Ian Rutledge series, set in the years immediately after WWI in England. I was disappointed in this stand alone book, which is set during the last years of the war itself. I compulsively finished it but I didn't feel like the mystery was logical, nor did I feel like I understood the characters. I didn't have the feeling "oh, yes, of course, that's how it all must have happened" at the end of the book, with the solving of the mystery -- actually, I was n ...more
Crossfinn
I just reread this because I decided to start reading Charles Todd again after several years. I love the time period and the subject matter of the Charles Todd novels, but this one was a disappointment. Most of the text consists of breathless questions such as "Could my grandfather have lied to me about my parents?" "Could this woman actually be Richard's mother?" "Could the body on the murder stone actually have been so-and-so?" without much plot. As another reviewer pointed out, it was soap op ...more
Lisa Johnson
Title: The Murder Stone
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 377
Year: 2003
Publisher: Bantam Dell
This story is set in 1916 in the English countryside in a remote valley. Francesca Hatton has just buried her grandfather after he suffered a stroke and weeks of being bedridden and unable or unwilling to communicate. She grew up with her grandfather in the role of her father as her own parents were killed when she was just two years old. She had no other relatives, so her grandfather took her in. She was raised
...more
Greg Z
With the sixth, "A Fearless Doubt", Ian Rutledge book (one that was an unresolved mess to me), I promised myself I'd try one more. This seventh work by Charles Todd is a stand-alone book in which Ian Rutledge doesn't make an appearance. Sadly, this is the kind of book authors seem to throw out to unsuspecting readers, perhaps because of a looming deadline. This isn't a terrible book, it's just that this genre (gothic romance) has been done and done, most notably by Phyllis A. Whitney and Victori ...more
Barb
This is the second novel by Charles Todd that I've tried and given up on. I found an unevenness to the writing that distracted me and I had no patience for the redundancy or the leaps in reasoning. Life's too short...moving on.
Suzan
I picked up this book thinking it was next in one of my favorite series, the Ian Rutledge mysteries. I was surprised, but pleased, to find it a very well done stand alone, more a gothic than a mystery, set in Todd’s era of expertise, WWI. As in the mysteries, the time and place, rural England during and immediately after the Great War, is beautifully evoked. Todd’s command of the speech, manners and customs of the period is so pitch perfect, I could believe the book was written in 1923 rather th ...more
LJ
THE MURDER STONE (Gothic Suspense)- Ex
Charles Todd – Standalone
Bantam, 2003 – Hardcover
Their grandfather, Francis Hatton, raised Francesca Hatton and her four male cousins, all orphaned at an early age. Each of the cousins has been killed in the Great War, and now Francisca is alone to grieve the death of her beloved grandfather, whom she thought she knew. But at the reading of his will, she reads a letter cursing him and his heirs, she inherits two properties about which she never knew, people
...more
Sandi
A stand-alone historical that is really more gothic suspense than mystery like the authors' other works that I have read. I enjoyed the plotting and found the young heroine appealing. Lots of atmosphere, secrets, and a bit of romance made this well worth reading.
Richard Stueber
Non-series tale by the authors (Charles Todd is a mother and son writing team) of the Ian Rutledge series. this one starts in Devonshire in 1916. Francesca Hatton who has been spending the World War I years as a Red Cross worker in London comes to care for her dying grandfather. Charles Francis Stewart Hatton soon dies.Her five cousins, brothers Simon, Robin, Freddy, Peter and Harry had all died at the front in 1915 or 1916.
A stranger named Richard Leighton shows up at Charles Hatton's funeral.
...more
MARGO
This story was an enjoyable light read, not bad but not fantastic either. At the end of the novel there were still so many unanswered questions which really bothers me. When I get to the end of a book I want all the answers and do not care for things left hanging in the air.
Ivy
I enjoy historical fiction as much as the next person. Two years later I am still slightly puzzled by everything that went on in this story.
Judy
A stand-alone book - not one of the Ian Rutledge series. Good, but without the depth of the series.
Suzanne
I have read the one book in the Ian Rutledge series by Todd so I expected this book to be similar. In time period (WWI) and writing style, it was similar. However, this book was more a throw-back to the Gothic romance/thriller genre. I liked it but felt some of the plot devices were a bit weak, like the cousins' chapters, and even the grandfather's chapter. These chapters were needed for the reader to understand how the pieces fit together but they were not helpful to the main character since sh ...more
Betty
The pair of authors who go by the name of Charles Todd are amazingly good at atmospheric writing. From the opening of the first paragraph to the end of the story, we can see the old house in that lonely Devonshire Valley as well as the people who inhabit it from time to time. As with all their books, I am immediately set down in that time and place until the story ends. Sadly I wasn't all that impressed with the plot this time. Thought it a little contrived in places. The ending was slightly imp ...more
R.L.
To be honest after beginning the book I didn’t know if I could finish it. I have read everything this author (a mother/son team) has written. My thoughts were that it must be a really early book. Everything else they’ve written is good and for this reason I plowed ahead.

Pros: The book is well-conceived. When the plot does pick up – the story ties together well.

Cons: It starts out very complicated. There are three pages of characters. And some of their names are similar. I was getting Francesca a
...more
Jane
If you're in the mood for a really really good mystery I recommend this Charles Todd stand alone novel. Known for his Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series he has not stepped out of that era (WWI) but it is peripheral to the story. Francesca Hatton has been brought up by her grandfather and her five cousins. After her cousins die in the war her grandfather has a stroke and she comes from London to be with him. After he dies a strange and angry (although good looking, of course) man shows up accu ...more
Lynetta
Problems ensue.

Francesca Hatton's parents died in Canada. Her grandfather rescued her and five male cousins who have died in World War I. Their upbringing is spirited, competitive, and they are loved by their grandfather, Frances Hatton.

When Frances Hatton dies in 1916 townspeople mourn the loss. Other people appear to make claims that suggest he has kept secrets of all sorts. Richard Leighton states that Frances has killed his mother who has not been heard from for a quarter century. An irate
...more
Patsyann
I was a little leary about reading this book. I love the Ian Rutledge books and I didn’t think I could get into a stand alone, non- Ian book or non-Bess book. Boy was I wrong!! This book was GREAT!! It even had a romance!! Not the methodical interviewing of Ian Rutledge, not the meddling of Bess Crawford.How does the mystery gets solved ? Just a lot of driving around England and asking a lot of questions and the snitching of those who were supposed to keep secrets.
There was a little mystery, but
...more
Amy
What a strange book. Set in WWI, Francesca Hatton (annoyingly called Cesca by her family) is responsible for handling her dear grandfather's affairs upon his death from illness. Francesca is the last Hatton - her grandfather had raised her and her five male cousins after the respective deaths of their parents, but all five cousins were killed in the war. Francesca adored her grandfather and her happy childhood; however, when various family secrets emerge after the reading of her grandfather's wi ...more
Bev
It is 1916 and World War I is raging--a long, terrible campaign which decimated a generation of young men, often wiping out all the sons of a household in a single sweep. Such is the case with the Hattons. Francesca grew up with five cousins in Francis Hatton's home. Her parents and theirs both long dead in mysterious accidents. When the Great War comes around, each of the boys bravely sign up to do their duty...but none of them come home. Francis collapses after the last telegram arrives, annou ...more
Babette
I am a huge fan of Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge mysteries. So I was excited to happen upon this book in the library. I was not aware of it, and I opened it with great expectation. I must say, it was less than I had hoped, which doesn't make it bad, but it clearly is not in the league with the Rutledge series.
Too much of the story depends upon chapters written by characters already dead - it is they who clear up much of the mystery. I also have to say that the main character - Francesca Hatt
...more
Linda
A satisfying departure from his books featuring Todd's usual Scotland Yard detective, the tortured WWI vet Ian Rutledge. In fact, this story has no professional detective; just the main character(s) figuring it out for themselves. The death of a young woman's grandfather and the subsequent discovery of a letter that curses him set the story in motion. It revolves around six cousins (5 boys who are all killed in WWI) and one girl cousin who is the protagonist in the story. But there are brief cha ...more
Barbara
I borrowed this from the library – the eBook, Kindle version. Thought I was getting one of the Inspector Rutledge series, which I wanted to check out. This is not an Inspector Rutledge book, which was a disappointment, in a sense, but not really, since I enjoyed and liked the book.

This was an intense, engrossing read. The romance element was a bit forced and a bit unbelievable, and also, a bit predictable. I did not; however, find this distracting or detracting from the story. I just went with
...more
Scoobyyatto
I would have given this 3.5 stars if I could. This was a decent book. I enjoyed it up to the end, I felt like the book left me with a lot of unanswered questions and there were characters that were introduced in the book that I thought would play a bigger role in the story, but was disappointed when the characters didn't pan out the way I thought they should have. And I had issues in trying to figure out why one of them was brought into the story at all as their story just went away with no expl ...more
February Four
I love the Inspector Ian Rutledge books, but I wasn't expecting this. Exposition, lack of believable character development... maybe I'm being too hard on the book, but the Rutledge books are so much more developed (though to be fair there are 16 and counting of those.) Dropped three chapters in.
Lori
This is the only Charles Todd book that isn't part of a series (Charles Todd is really a mother/son team). It is set just before WWI, and concerns a mystery on the property of a small landed (not titled, but not poor) family. They have a servant or two, but the father has a job. OK, I read this a long time ago, and I may be getting some things wrong, but as I recall, the children, now adult, had played as youngsters on a large rock that had been called "the Murder Stone" for as long as anyone ca ...more
Joann
My first time reading Charles Todd. I enjoyed the book as a whole. I like historical fiction and mystery is my favorite genre. I have to say I felt like the ending left a lot unanswered but I suppose that was what the author wanted. It allowed the reader to determine what was truth or fiction inside the story itself.
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Charles Todd is the pen name used by a mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd.
More about Charles Todd...
A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1) A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1) An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, #2) Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #2) A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford, #3)

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