Friday, October 9, 2015

A Fine Summer’s Day by Charles Todd

Ian Rutledge proposes to the woman he loves, Jean, on a fine summer’s day in June of 1914 in England.  Little does he know that in Sarajevo, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire has been assassinated and has started the circumstances which will soon involve the entire world in a war of a scale that had never been seen before.

Ian is an inspector for Scotland Yard and from an upper class family.  He loves Jean, but she wants him to become a military man like her father.  Ian’s friends and family are not sure that the two are suited for each other.  After their engagement, Jean soon becomes angered that Ian spends his time on the job trying to solve a mystery and not signing up to join the streams of men enlisting for the new war.

Rutledge finds himself in a great mysterious puzzle.  He investigates a string of murders that appear as suicides.  The only link between them is that each victim lived in Bristol at one point in their lives.  As he digs further, Rutledge realizes that there are more victims on the murderer’s list and it is just a matter of time before he gets to them.  With no support from his boss at Scotland Yard, Rutledge races around England to solve the crime.

I vastly enjoyed the mystery, characters, the setting, and the time period.  The mystery unfolded layer by layer like an onion until its final conclusion.  I also liked that in the background, Ian still had his family, his fiancé, and the new war to contend with. It was a great story.  It also left me wanting more.  

I have never read any of the Ian Rutledge mysteries before and I was surprised to find this is a prequel of sorts.  If I start the series with book one now, I will find out what happens to Ian Rutledge the future.  I can’t wait!  In the great P.S. section at the back of the novel, there are summaries of all of the books of the series.  They sound fantastic.  There is also more background about the book and a book club set of questions.  I also found it interesting that Charles Todd is actually a mother and son writing team.

I loved the opening of this novel.

“It was a fine summer’s day in England.

In fact one of a string of bright days, languid and unhurried, full of promise.  As if the weeks to come stretched out in an endless spool of long, leisurely afternoons on the lawn, croquet mallets and tea trays, men in summer white, women in frothy wide-brimmed hats, and girls with blue ribbon sashes.  Peaceful, measured, and like the Empire, destined to go on forever.

The distant sound of gunfire was too faint to hear.  It disturbed no dreams, it marred no plans, it stirred no fears.

Nevertheless, before the sun set on this fine summer day, the lives of a handful of people would have been changed by murder.”

Overall, A Fine Summer’s Day is a wonderful historical fiction mystery with fantastic characters.  I highly recommend it.

Book Source:  A Review copy from William Morrow for the TLC Book Tour. For more stops on this fabulous tour, check out this link.

A Fine Summer's Day coverAbout A Fine Summer's Day

• Paperback: 384 pages • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 29, 2015)

On a fine summer's day in June 1914, Ian Rutledge is planning to propose to a woman he deeply loves, despite hints from his family and friends that she may not be the most suitable choice for a policeman's wife. To the north, another man in love—a Scottish Highlander named Hamish MacLeod—asks his own sweetheart to marry him.

Back in England, a son grieves for his mother, dredging up a dark injustice that will trigger a series of murders that Rutledge must solve. The victims are all upstanding and well-liked. The local police have their suspicions about the culprits and are less than cooperative with the London detective.

As clouds of war gather on the horizon, Rutledge digs deeper, finding similarities and patterns between the murders. With every moment at stake, he sets out to right a terrible wrong—an odyssey that will eventually force him to choose between the Yard and his country, between love and duty, and between honor and truth.

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Charles ToddAbout Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the 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. Visit their website at and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook.


  1. I love the idea of a prequel that comes after a lot of books have already been released. Fun for everyone, whether new to the series or not!

  2. Sounds like a marvelous novel--I like the setting and premise, and I love a good mystery!