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The Murder Stone

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,406 Ratings  ·  166 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, 302 pages
Published November 4th 2003 by Bantam
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Panic Man This is a stand alone book. Not part of either Ian Rutledge or Bess Crawford Series.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tara
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
LJ
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Suzan
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
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
Carol
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jane
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Charlene
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crossfinn
Dec 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Pat
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointed. I greatly enjoy Todd's Ian Rutledge & Bess Crawford series. Here they were trying to do a romance along with the mystery. The romance fell completely short. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series has me forever jaded but even without that comparison ... The whole plotting was very weak but it was readable enough that I could easily finish the book.
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
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Julia
Unlike other books by Charles Todd This book does not feature Bess Crawford or Inspector Rutledge, and strictly speaking is not a mystery (whodunnit). It is however an excellent gothic also set during WWI and has much of the same feel as his other books.

Francesca Hatton is an orphan who was brought up by her grandfather after her parents died in an accident in Canada. She shared her childhood with five male cousins whose parents had also died, and who were also taken in by their grandfather. Whe
...more
MARGO
May 18, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Ivy
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A stand-alone book - not one of the Ian Rutledge series. Good, but without the depth of the series.
Sandie Herron
Francis Hatton died in 1916 while the Great War raged in Europe, and life changed forever. The old man took ill after the black-rimmed telegram arrived announcing the death of his last grandson. He died a short while later, once his granddaughter had returned from her Red Cross duties in London. In another time he would have had his two sons, their wives, and his six grandchildren and his many servants from River’s End estate to mourn his passing. But in this time he had been left one by one by ...more
Angélique
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liz
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
didn't realize that this was not an Inspector Rutledge mystery but it was a fun read anyway.
Beth
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
First more of a 3.5 review. I found the beginning two thirds a bit slow but the ending third kept my attention with several interesting twists. Also Todd is a good descriptive writer.
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
Maureen
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the one I just finished. No idea why Goodreads posted The Rule title.
R.L.
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ed
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English mystery and historical fiction fans
I had no idea what to expect but I do know I was disappointed. I am a fan of the Ian Rutledge series and thought this would be of the same quality. It wasn't. Nevertheless, I did finish it and I give it a 2 1/2 star rating because there are parts that were good reading. There were also parts that were excruciatingly boring.

The story, which takes place in 1916 England, opens with Francesca Hatton attending a reading of her adored grandfather Francis Hatton's will in which she's left pretty much e
...more
Patsyann
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Susan Beecher
I enjoyed this mystery, it is a little melodramatic. Not one of the author's series novels.
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
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Charles Todd is the pen name used by a mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd.
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“Boys have never been to war. It’s easy to believe that it’s all a game. That the dead will get up off the grass in time for tea.” 0 likes
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