Book Review // Tales by Charles Todd

Tales Book Cover Tales
Charles Todd
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
HaperCollins Publisher, Witness Impulse imprint
July 21, 2015
Paperback, Nook, Kindle
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TALES is a collection of Bess Crawford and Ian Rutledge short stories published together for the first time from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.  Now published together for the first time: Charles Todd’s beloved short stories - ”The Kidnapping,” “The Girl on the Beach,” “Cold Comfort,” and “The Maharani’s Pearls”-about intrepid Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge and dutiful battlefield nurse Bess Crawford.  The vibrant tales transport readers from the homefront in Great Britain where the ominous clouds of war were ever-present during World War I to the bomb riddled the frontlines as soldiers desperately sought to gain ground again Germany with Lieutenant Ian Rutledge and finally to the exotic, dangerous India of Bess Crawford’s youth. Together they create an extraordinary glimpse into the treasured worlds of some of mystery’s most cherished characters.  

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Short stories are an interesting read because the author has a short span of time to grab the reader’s attention and then get to the point. And, I think this is one reason I like short stories… much like an action packed movie, the story starts off quick and stays at a fast pace until the final explosion, or the climax in this case and as a reader, I figure it all out.

When I had the opportunity to read Tales by Charles Todd, I welcomed the chance to, one) read an author that I’ve not had the chance to previously, and two) read historical short stories.

Tales is a collection of four short stories that follow two mystery characters, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge and war nurse Bess Crawford. Both characters allow for great, strong story lines that I could easily follow as a reader. I was intrigued, and thankfully not one story lulled enough for me to become bored as a reader.

The one downfall of a short story is that an author doesn’t have the opportunity to develop a character as they would in a true novel, so you don’t learn about the two main characters and their complete backstory, but again, short stories are for the story itself, so not a huge disappointment. Thankfully, readers can learn and read more about the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford characters as both are featured in their own novel series.  

As a reader, if you’ve not had the opportunity to read a Charles Todd novel, I would definitely suggest picking up Tales and reading four great short stories. You won’t lack in good stories, but you will get a hint of Todd’s writing style and an introduction into the main characters of the Todd novels. Definitely a positive starter that helped me to decide to begin the series of both Rutledge and Crawford.

Author Charles Tood with his Mother

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.