Short Stories Featuring Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford

Book - 2015
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Charles Todd's absorbing short stories--'The Kidnapping, ' 'The Girl on the Beach, ' 'Cold Comfort, ' and 'The Maharani's Pearls'--featuring everyone's favorite Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge and intrepid battlefield nurse Bess Crawford. These vibrant tales transport readers from the home front in Great Britain where ominous clouds of war will soon lead to the trenches of France, to the bloody front lines where Lieutenant Rutledge must risk his life to save his men. And finally to the exotic, dangerous India of Bess Crawford's youth. Together they create a fascinating glimpse into the extraordinary backgrounds of two of mystery's most popular characters.
Publisher: [New York] : Witness Impulse, [2015]
ISBN: 9780062443762
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: vii, 159 pages ; 21 cm


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Mar 21, 2020

"The Kidnapping" ** spoiler alert ** I think the cardinal rule of a "proper" mystery is that the story line contains all the clues needed to solve the mystery or you follow along as the detective / protagonist discovers the guilty person / persons. I knew that the dinner party story about the springbok and Kenya had to be significant, but I don't know enough African geography or locations of animals to know how. Rutledge asks the order of people leaving the party. He is told, but we are not. Not fair. Though I am a big fan of Ian Rutledge, I did not like this episode. "The Girl on the Beach" ** spoiler alert ** Bess Crawford finds the body of a young woman on the beach. We eventually learn that two individuals are in on the scheme. One member of the duo panics when asked the age of her "brother". This did not seem to hold water for me. Even if her partner in crime is not really her brother, she could easily know the birth date of her partner in crime. I guess with a short story you have to wrap things up quickly, but I think the "solution" should make sense.
"Cold Comfort" - This tale actually predates the Ian Rutledge series. By the time the mystery books begin, he is at home and attempting to recover from WWII Shell Shock. Here he is in the trenches and attempting to determine why two soldiers wish to kill a comrade. "The Maharani's Pearls" From the very beginning of the Bess Crawford mystery series the reader knows that early in her life her father was stationed in India. This is the first account I have read about her time there. Of course Bess, who is only 10, provides the clues that lead to the solution of a dangerous threat. It is a little unbelievable that soldiers follower her lead and advise in the rescue, but it was fun to see the intelligence and tenacity of the later Bess. "A Pattern of Lies" A chance encounter in the fall of 1918 lands Bess Crawford in the midst of a disturbing mystery in bestseller Todd's suspenseful seventh outing for the veteran British nurse (after 2014's An Unwilling Accomplice). With her hopes high that the slaughter of WWI will end soon, Bess manages to get leave from France to visit her parents. But when she's stranded in Canterbury waiting for a train, she runs into Maj. Mark Ashton, a former patient. Her pleasure at the unexpected meeting is soon marred by his revelation that his family has been the subject of a sustained whispering campaign. Two years earlier, the family business, a gunpowder factory, exploded, causing more than 100 deaths. Though the official investigation ruled out sabotage, rumor has it that Mark's father, Philip, was responsible. Even Philip's arrest doesn't end the Ashtons' persecution, and Bess hazards her life to find the truth. Recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

May 12, 2018

A "Charles Todd Lite" offering, with two stories each featuring Rutledge and Bess. None of the stories is particularly engaging, and the two that involve a crime to be solved are rushed and not served well by the short running time. The one set in India when precocious Bess was 10 was interesting for background on her early life, but was sort of silly. These characters are better served in full length novels, despite the Todd's over-reliance on coincidences to move the plot along. Note: the Witness Impulse edition also contains a 60-page sneak peek at a new-at-the-time Bess Crawford mystery, so the actual length of the four short stories is more like 102 pages.


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