The Red Door
New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd brings back Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge in another riveting mystery set in post–World War I England Lancashire, England, June 1920. In a house with a red door lies the body of a woman who has been bludgeoned to death. Rumor has it that two years earlier, she’d painted that door to welcome her husband back from the Front. Only he never came home.
Meanwhile, in London, a man suffering from a mysterious illness first goes missing and then just as suddenly reappears. He is unable to explain his recovery. His family, supposedly searching for him, give conflicting accounts of where they were and why. What is the secret that nearly drove one man mad and turned his brothers and sister against one another with such unexpected savagery?
Inspector Ian Rutledge, drawn into both cases and facing a wall of silence, must solve two mysteries before he can bring a ruthless killer to justice: Who was the woman who lived and died behind the red door? Who was the man who never came home from the Great War, for the simple reason that he might never have gone? And what have they to do with a man who cannot break the seal of his own guilt without damning those he loves most?
Praise for The Red Door
“Todd returns with another mystery set in post-World War I England featuring Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge. This mother-and-son writing team cleverly weaves in social details and historical facts without slowing the story or the character development. It’s hard not to read about the psychological and physical wounds of war and the fear left by the great flu epidemic of 1918 without feeling a shiver for our own time. The period after the Great War is producing very strong myster novels (Jacqueline Winspear, Barbara Cleverly), and Todd’s are among the best.”
—RT BookReviews, ★ ★ ★ ★½
“Inspector Rutledge confronts a war-weary family in 1920.
Where is Walter Teller? An undiagnosed malady has sent him to the Belvedere Clinic. His wife Jenny, his sister Leticia, his brothers Edwin and Peter and their wives Amy and Susannah worry over him, then become alarmed when he disappears. Family members hare off in all directions to find him, reuniting when Scotland Yard sends Inspector Rutledge to help. Nobody seems eager to confide in Rutledge, who, accompanied by the hectoring ghost of Hamish, a soldier he executed during the Great War, wonders if the Tellers of Essex are related to recently murdered Florence Teller, a widow from Hobson. Her husband Peter never returned from the war. Are her Peter and the Essex Peter one and the same? Was she killed to cover up not only bigamy but illegitimacy? And is her death related to Walter’s illness? Peter, his leg gimpy from war wounds, falls downstairs and dies. Jenny, distraught at Peter’s possible perfidy, succumbs to laudanum poisoning. Walter returns, then vanishes again, only to be waylaid himself. While sorting through the family travails, Rutledge must confront a former suitor of Florence with family woes of his own, as well as a triple murderer who’s prowling Westminster Bridge determined to slay Rutledge.
Departing from Rutledge’s earlier cases (A Matter of Justice, 2008, etc.), the caprices of fatherhood take precedence over the iniquities of war this time, with a subdued Hamish and an emotionally reawakening Rutledge along for the ride.
(Author tour to Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco)”
Imprint: William Morrow
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