Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Review: Tales: Short Stories Featuring Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford

Kerry Hammond is here today to talk about a book of short stories featuring two great series characters created by author Charles Todd.

Tales: Short Stories Featuring Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford, written by Charles Todd, is currently available on Kindle, and will be released in Paperback on September 8, 2015. I received the Kindle edition from Witness Impulse, an imprint of Harper Collins. I have written several Mystery Playground reviews for both the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mystery series. When I heard that a collection of short stories was coming out, I was eager to get my hands on it. Not only to get my Ian and Bess fix, but I find that short stories featuring a series character are able to offer an added look into that character that you don’t always get from a full-length novel.

The book contains two tales that feature Inspector Ian Rutledge: “The Kidnapping” and “Cold Comfort.” In “The Kidnapping,” a man comes to Scotland Yard to report that his twelve-year-old daughter was taken by force right in front of him, on the street outside their home. Rutledge is on duty at the time and begins his investigation, piecing together the events of the evening to figure out who has kidnaped the child, and why.

In “Cold Comfort” Rutledge is back in the war and is leading a team who are attempting to dig a tunnel toward the German line, hoping to blast through before the Germans. A badly placed fuse is the first in a series of events that lead Rutledge to believe that one of his Private’s is in danger, and that another of the men is trying to kill him. Both Rutledge stories are true to form and highlight Rutledge’s intelligence, as well as his determination to see justice done.

Also included are two tales featuring WWI nurse Bess Crawford: “The Girl on the Beach” and “The Maharani’s Pearls.” In the first, Bess finds a body on the beach, and much to the investigating Inspector’s surprise, he deduces quite a bit about the girls fate from a scrap of newspaper, a found earring, and the condition of the body.  

“The Maharani’s Pearls” was a hands down favorite for me because it featured Bess as a young girl and was set in India where her father was stationed throughout her childhood. To get a further glimpse into Bess’s character by seeing her as a girl was wonderful, and even as a young girl, she was calm and intelligent in a crisis. The story also featured my favorite recurring character from the series, her Dad’s right-hand man, Simon.

As a bonus, my Kindle edition of Tales included an excerpt from Pattern of Lies, the Bess Crawford book due out August 18, 2015. This book will be reviewed on Mystery Playground as well, so stay tuned. Spoiler alert, I really enjoyed it.

The book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review is fair and independent.

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