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Charles Todd is the pen name of a mother & son writing duo who somehow create fabulous books together (they also write the Bess Crawford series)--and the two are perfect complements for each other.
Ian Rutledge is a man deeply wounded in body, mind & soul by the Great War, and he is now reclaiming his life as an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has to do his job while trying to recover from shell shock, which in his case, manifests frequently as an internal personification, or voice, or a dead comrade from the war, who makes his views known much of the time. He functions somewhat like Rutledge's alter ego--in that he often points out nuances and dangers that Rutledge doesn't consider.
It is hard to describe this part of the books. I think if I had just read about this on the back of a book jacket, I might never have bought the books in the first place (years back). However, I just began reading and discovered that Charles Todd (mother & son) have found very sensitive ways to handle what is a devastating psychological condition in a highly creative manner, without forcing the reader to suspend belief. Their ability to weave story, plot, history, psychology & feeling into their books is exceptional.
In this book, he is called to a town where a priest has been murdered, and he has to tread carefully because the local police are not totally viewing his presence happily. However, they do work together, and as is always the case in this series, the plot becomes complex, full of interesting people who could all have motives for the murder--and Rutledge has to fight against the local hopes for the villain to have been an outsider, by carefully negotiating his way with careful questioning and interviews.
This is a really good book--I read it some years ago, and now was happy to listen to it--I enjoyed it quite as much as reading, perhaps even more. Narrator is very good--read at a good pace, and with good inflection. A tiny bit challenging to tell people apart by their voices--but does not detract from the whole thing.
I highly recommend this book (and every other one in the series!)
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Watchers of Time to be better than the print version?
I don't know why Audible.com repeatedly asks this question in its Guided Review. It's rather presumptive to assume, as much as books cost today - especially audiobooks - that most readers/listeners would buy both formats. Of the close to 2,000 audiobooks I own and 10,000 print books that I've read in my lifetime, I only have doubles on, maybe 5, works. This is not one of them.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
I was really not that surprised at the instigator because he gave himself up pretty early through his actions. However, the COMPLEXITY and MOTIVE of the conspiracy was a bit shocking.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Samuel Gillies?
There are 16 books in this series (4 not available in audio, although this was one of them when I pulled up the Series list), I started with "A Pale Horse" which is #10 and narrated by the great Simon Prebble. I then went from 10 to 15 and got "addicted" to the stories and very comfortable with Prebble who makes the whole psychological thriller aspect more compelling and interesting. But, out of sheer desperation (pretty much like a junkie needing a "fix"), I fed my "habit" by listening to #2, 3, and 4, narrated by Samuel Gillies" There's nothing really wrong with him, after all he started out as the narrator, but Prebble is just a better fit, giving the story a darker feel while Gillies is more suited to a light Charles Dickens story or something more Victorian. I bought #18, "Hunting Shadows" upon its recent recent 2014 release. This book was released in January 2014 also (?) so I downloaded it as soon as I finished 18. Bad move because I just couldn't get into Gilles and the quality of the recording was not good.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
This series keeps the listener on guard, with its numerous twists and turns and red herrings. The moving part of the story is in every book in this series - I keep feeling sorry for Inspector Rutledge. He was dumped by his shallow fiancée when he returned from the war and, although attracted to numerous women in 14 books, he never seems to be able to pull himself together emotionally to embark on a new relationship.
Any additional comments?
Rutledge's "demon" is a psychological "talking monkey on his back" called "Hamish McCloud". No spoiler from me! But I didn't like Gilles Scottish accent enough. Hamish became irritating because it's hard to understand what Gilles is saying half the time.
12 of 16 people found this review helpful
As with all murders one has to go back to understand the present. Charles Todd writes a good tale with a strong feel for the period and for the people who are emerging from the horrors of the Great War. It is a world on the cusp of huge changes and the listener has the feel of the twilight of the C19th and Victorian Britain and the winds of change of the new century.
The plot, the characters and the north Norfolk marshes are vividly brought into being in this story that is well-told by Samuel Gilles.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful