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Watchers of Time

(Inspector Ian Rutledge #5)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,228 ratings  ·  386 reviews
The year is 1919, and Ian Rutledge is a fragile yet courageous former soldier searching for his place in a postwar world. Now a Scotland Yard investigator, Rutledge is called upon to probe a small-town murder — and discovers that it may be connected to one of the greatest disasters of all time....

In Osterley, a marshy Norfolk backwater, a man lies dying on a rainy autumn n
Paperback, 421 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Bantam (first published October 30th 2001)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  4,228 ratings  ·  386 reviews

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Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm truly enjoying this series. However, I really am getting annoyed with the author ending this book and the previous one abruptly (or so it seems to me), without tying up all the story lines. He even alludes to the open ending of the previous book in this one - but does he provide any more clarification or information? NO! Instead, this one also ends without tying everything up; but with far fewer lose ends than the previous book.

I know I'm one of those people that love mysteries because you
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Unfortunately I've been reading mediocre books lately. I thought I'd pick up a winner to change my fortune, but parts of this book were a little slow. I still like the concept though, so now and again I will pick up a volume of the series.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was good. I liked it better than the last one I think, but I'm still not raising to four stars. Because like the last one, I think it started strong, and then parts of the second half were slow, with what felt like a rushed resolution. Also, I picked the guilty party (or one of them) when he was introduced, mainly because he was given such a prominent introduction for no good reason plot-wise at the time. In general, I thought the character introductions could have been better in this. Also ...more
John Winkworth
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: charles-todd
Enjoyed Watchers of Time the most of the five Ian Rutledge stories I've read so far. The setting is the small village of Osterley, East Anglian, near the city of Norfolk. Mr. Sims, Vicar of Holy Trinity and Fr. James the priest of St. Anne's. Rutledge, returning to work as an Inspector of Scotland Yard in October 1919 is sent out of London to the backwater village to "set the Bishop's mind at rest about a murdered priest". Rutledge's WWI backstory makes this far from a typical police procedural. ...more
11/22/17 $1.99 for Kindle.
Paula Dembeck
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the small seaside village of Osterley in Norfolk, sixty-four year old Herbert Baker a devout Protestant lies dying with the comfort of his family around him. As the end grows closer, he asks his daughter to call a Catholic priest to his bedside, an unusual request because he is not a Catholic. The family although surprised by his odd behavior agree to his request. When Father James arrives, Baker asks for privacy and the two spend half an hour together. After Father James leaves, Baker comfor ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
As Minnesotans say with a shrug of the shoulders, "It was fine." I liked Ian and I enjoyed Hamish as Watson to Ian's Sherlock. Two of the subplots that I found unique were the Titanic disaster as seen from the England's side of the ocean and this particular tale of the wealthy American bride marrying into English aristocracy. But other than the our detective, there were no characters that I could care about and the novel dragged on. You might flip past the middle 125 pages and not be too far beh ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book, but I still do not know what happened to Fiona and Ian from the last book. Darn!
Garth Mailman
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book five in the series. A priest is bludgeoned to death with the crucifix from his own altar. Is anyone safe? We join Rutledge at home with his sister recovering from the wounds he received in Book four. So, why was the priest so brutally murdered. Was it robbery for the poor box and if so why did the thief leave silver and gold including the cross behind, head directly to an upstair office which was ransacked and leave the rest of the house untouched. Or was the robbery a cover for malice occa ...more
Gloria Piper
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, fiction
A beloved priest is murdered. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Rutledge to assure a church official of the local law's competency. The local constable has already caught the apparent culprit. The evidence seems straight forward. Nevertheless the constable asks Rutledge to stay on.

What seems a simple case leaves some questions unanswered, and soon Rutledge is accused of sniffing out irrelevant secrets which would only cause harm rather than advance the case.

The story proceeds at a leisurely pace in
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
In this earlier mystery novel, Inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of World War I and his mental phantasm Hamish, find themselves overseeing the investigation of a dead priest. He is sent to Osterley, a small town in Norfolk, presumably to oversee this investigation but also to get him out of London as his slow recovery from the War makes his fellow officers uncomfortable. It is 1919 and there are many men like Rutledge, haunted by the war and still trying to recover.

The man in charge in Osterley
Jean Hontz
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating: I love this series. Very psychological and the plots are complex enough to present a lot of questions.

Ian is recuperating from an injury and so is sent off to the north of England to talk to a Priest about his concerns regarding the recent murder of his friend, another priest. Of course it all turns into quite a mess when Ian begins to delve into the hidden depths of a small village.

Ian, struggling still with his mental state after service in WWI, has a depth and understanding that means
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Layer upon layer upon layer

What can I say—— I am LOVING this series! Deeper into the modern-day PSTD of WWI, complexities of 1919, even Titanic this time around!
Ian Rutledge doesn’t miss!
Gina Mullen
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5. Its a good series. Not great, but entertaining. I'll keep reading them!
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good read in this series!
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A policeman haunted by WWI must investigate the murder of a priest. I didn't love the Hamish angle, but I couldn't figure out any of the solution on this one and that's unusual.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another good one from Charles Todd!
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The action in this fifth entry in Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge series begins only a few weeks after the end of the last, which left Rutledge seriously injured and lying bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. Rutledge has recovered enough to return to work but is not yet able to resume his full duties.

When a Catholic bishop contacts Scotland Yard and asks them to oversee the investigation of the murder of a priest in the little village of Osterley, it seems an ideal assignment for
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, x2014, mystery
Actual Rating: ***1/2 (Really liked the mystery; didn't like the abrupt ending)

I really like the Inspector Ian Rutledge character and how he delves (rather Gamache-like) into things like motive, duty, and connections. However, this is the second installment in the series that just stops abruptly at the end. Again, I was reading along, turned the page, and found myself at the beginning of an excerpt from the next book, A Fearsome Doubt. As someone who likes things tidily wrapped up, I find this i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite Ian Rutledge mysteries. Ian is at his best in this book. At one point in the book I thought that I had solved the mystery - but I only had part of it. Sadly, as with all of these books, there is that attractive woman that Ian would have hooked up with in a different time and place. There is also a sad scene where he sees the woman that he had loved before the War at the church were she is marrying someone else.
It’s the ending of these books that drives me crazy!! The b
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
"A lorry, bound from King’s Lynn to Norwich, sent an arc of muddy water across Rutledge’s bonnet as it passed in the southbound lane. He blinked as the spray washed the windscreen and left behind a dark and odiferous residue that slowly vanished in the drizzle that resumes, swallowing up the sun."

"Thick roots had broken through the earth to form a tangle of enticing places for childhood games – transformed into fortresses for lead soldiers and houses for dolls and sometimes even strong arms in w
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love this series and am savoring each novel. They are very atmospheric and you can feel the cold rain, see the mud, and hear the wind. They are best read in order as each one builds upon the last and refers to past novels as Ian tries to recover from his experiences in the Great War. He's a tortured, lonely character whose policeman's instincts never fail to help him, along with his ubiquitous companion, Hamish, who acts as his verbal counterpoint. This novel has an interesting theme of the Ti ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is my favorite in the series so far. And to me, this is the first of the five that places the murder mystery front and center. Previously, the focus has been on Rutledge's mental problems, the devastating effects of WW1, dualities of other characters, etc., but all the books have been good. I don't think I've ever took so long to read a murder mystery, as I spread this one over an entire week and took time to think about the developments, the clues, the red herrings. And as the novel closes ...more
Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent to investigate the murder of a Catholic priest. The local constabulary are convinced the priest surprised a burglar who made off with the funds from a charity bazaar. Father James is found by his housekeeper. Someone has bludgeoned him to death with the altar crucifix. His study is ransacked. As Charles Todd has done before, the author(s) have crafted a complicated plot. Rutledge continues to be a fascinating character, haunted by his experiences in World War One. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bryan Higgs
I've read books by Charles Todd (actually a mother/son writing team) before, and they are always well composed, intriguing, and provide a good sense of the period (just after WW1). The plots are always good, the characters finely drawn, and the denouement usually not obvious until the end.

This one is no exception. In fact, it's a very fine example of their craft. The web of intrigue is spun throughout the whole book, and it's only at the very end do we finally figure out whodunit. It kept be inv
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the best of this series . . . the mystery is a good one and the setting (Norfolk marshes) is well described and interesting. The characters in the mystery were likeable (Father James, the Vicar, the hotel owner, etc.) Also, the social life and conditions of England right after WWI is pulled into the plot very well.
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was another solid mystery in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. It kept me guessing pretty much until the very end, as all good mysteries do. An entertaining read for mystery/historical fiction fans, I highly recommend it.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A more fragile Rutledge heads to a small town to help in the investigation of the murder of a priest. With many plot twists and turns including the sinking of the Titanic and its reprecussions, this is another great read. I can never figure it out, a good sign for me.
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Charles Todd is the pen name used by the mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd. Together they write the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford Series. They have published two standalone mystery novels and many short stories.

Other books in the series

Inspector Ian Rutledge (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • A Test of Wills (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1)
  • Wings of Fire (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #2)
  • Search the Dark (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #3)
  • Legacy of the Dead (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #4)
  • A Fearsome Doubt (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #6)
  • A Cold Treachery (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #7)
  • A Long Shadow (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #8)
  • A False Mirror (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #9)
  • A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #10)
  • A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #11)

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“He ran out of possibilities. Still, Blevins could perhaps help him there. Or Mrs. Wainer. On the other hand— Hamish said it for him. “I wouldna’ be in haste to show it.” Getting to his feet, Rutledge found a flat leather case lying in a corner of the room, a coating of dust covering it, and a cobweb linking it to the frame of the bottomless chair beside it. The grip was broken at one end, but it would do. Rutledge looked around him a last time at the “waste not, want not” philosophy of householders who store in their upper floors and attics the ruined furnishings” 0 likes
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