Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd

Kerry Hammond is here today reviewing Charles Todd's latest book, which comes out tomorrow...

The new Charles Todd book has something for everyone. Avid readers of the Inspector Rutledge mystery series will be thrilled to get a glimpse into events that came before book one started the series. Newcomers to this author and character will be able to read this book without worrying about jumping into the middle of a series, or inadvertently being subjected to any spoilers. But beware, you will be hooked and you will then need to go back and start from the beginning. And what a wonderful catch-up journey that will be.  

I am in the first camp, and have been reading Charles Todd for quite some time. To be honest, I picked this book up without knowing what it was about. When you’re a true fan of a series, you will read anything the author writes, sight unseen. I mean let’s face it, I’d read Charles Todd’s grocery list if it were printed in the back of the book. I began reading, looking forward to being entertained by the latest in Ian’s investigations. I was not only surprised, but absolutely thrilled, when I realized when the book took place. It was like finding a diary written by a long ago deceased grandparent, where you get a glimpse into their lives when they were young, before events intervened and made them who you knew them to be.

In the first book in the Inspector Rutledge series, Ian is already plagued by the demons that war created. He has served in The Great War, what we now know to be World War I, and has returned to Scotland Yard. At wartime, desertion and cowardice were punishable by death. One such desertion, and Ian’s required action, continues to plague him as he suffers from shell-shock and post-war guilt and trauma.

A Fine Summer’s Day allows the reader a glimpse of Ian before the war shaped him. It was a time when his demons were simply those brought about by the brutal murders he investigated for Scotland Yard.  In this book, Ian is sent in to investigate several seemingly unrelated murders throughout England. He sees a pattern, but it’s very faint and without a connection between the victims, his superior at the Yard leans heavily on him to just close the cases. He must use all of his investigative powers to try to figure out how they are connected and why someone is traveling around the countryside murdering people with no apparent common link. All the while, we watch the events that begin to lead Europe into war. Tensions are high and Ian feels the need to complete his investigation before war breaks out and he is forced to decide where his duty lies.

The intertwining of the actual events that led to war, and the fictional investigation involving Scotland Yard was wonderful. The reader is kept guessing how it will all turn out until literally the very last page. This is a great book and I am so glad the authors decided to insert it into the series.

Come back to Mystery Playground the week of January 14th when Kerry will report back on Charles and Caroline Todd's visit to Denver on book tour. We will have a very special giveaway. 


  1. Great review, Kerry! I can't wait to read this one.

  2. This sounds great. I read the first book in this series and just based on that I bought the first book in the Bess Crawford series. I can't wait to read this one too.

  3. I have never read this author before but this sounds good. I love when you can start in the middle of a series and not feel lost. Great job Kerry!

  4. This mother/son team are awesome and so sweet to meet in person.

  5. Oh my....the college is on winter intersession so I'm not working so much. I think you've given me a new obsession!! Thank you for the great enticement!

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