The Murder Stone
The Great War is still raging in the autumn of 1916 when Francesca Hatton’s beloved grandfather dies on the family estate in England’s isolated Exe Valley. Grieving for the man who raised her, Francesca is stunned to find an unsigned letter among his effects, cursing the Hattons and their descendants. Now a stranger has shown up on her doorstep, accusing her grandfather of being a murderer.
Wounded officer Richard Leighton blames Francis Hatton for the death of his mother, who vanished nearly a quarter century earlier. Her body was never found, only a shawl stained with her blood. And Leighton is not the only one charging Francesca’s grandfather with foul deeds. On the day of his funeral unexpected visitors arrive with the mourners and besiege her. Yet there is also a shy young woman who praises his secret generosity.
At the center of the intrigue is an unusual white stone that lies in a secluded part of the garden where Francesca once played with her five male cousins–all of whom lie dead now on the battlefields of France. According to the terms of Hatton’s will, the Murder Stone is to be dug up and transported to the far reaches of Scotland, where it is to be buried forever. But before Francesca can begin this journey, she finds herself fighting for her family’s reputation and her own birthright, alone and afraid to trust the past she once held so dear.
Was Hatton the loving, caring protector his granddaughter always believed him to be? Or a vindictive, secretive man who cultivated dangerous enemies? Francesca sets out in pursuit of the truth–and into the sights of someone determined to exact a long-overdue vengeance.
Charles Todd delivers a suspenseful and richly nuanced story of lies and deceit, of family history and violence filtered through the illusive lens of memory, where nothing is quite as it seems–and danger comes from where one least expects.
Praise for The Murder Stone
Family upheaval intensified by wartime tragedy.”
Fans of Todd’s ‘Ian Rutledge’ series (A Fearsome Doubt) will enjoy this book’s many twists and turns, angst-ridden characters, and evocative historical setting.”