Charles Todd Books

Charles Todd is the name used by the American writers Caroline and Charles Todd. The duo is mother and son, and both live on the East Coast of United States. Caroline, Charles mother, has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and History and also has a master’s degree in International Relations. Her son, Charles has a BA in Communication Studies.

Order of Bess Crawford Series

Order of Charles Todd Short Stories

# Read Title Published
1 A Guid Soldier (Short Story) 2015

Order of Charles Todd Short Story Collections

# Read Title Published
1 Tales 2015

Order of Charles Todd Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published
1 The Murder Stone 2003
2 The Walnut Tree 2012

Order of Inspector Ian Rutledge Series


# Read Title Published
1 Death Knell V 2016
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Caroline is married to the same man for many years while her son is divorced. The duo childhood stories told by their grandparents and uncle and great uncle service in the military during the World War 1 sparked their passion in writing.

The Charles Todd team is best known for its prolific work, A Duty to the Dead. It is a story of a daughter of a distinguished soldier who travels overseas to serve as a nurse during the Great War. However, she is entangled in events which lead her to a great discovery and spawned the Bess Crawford Mystery series.


The 1996 novel A Test of Wills was nominated for the John Creasey Award in the United Kingdom. Other nominations that the same book won are Edgar Award, the Dilys Award and the Barry Award. The novel was named among the top 100 best sellers of the 20th Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Wings of Fire of 1998 was nominated for the Dilys Award and was later shortlisted for Ellis Peters Mystery Award. The Legacy of the Dead (2000) was nominated for the Anthony Award. An Unmarked Grave (2012) and A Question of Honor (2013) were awarded Agatha Award for being the best historical novel.


A Duty to the Dead. It is a story of a daughter of a distinguished military man. She is determined to follow her father’s footsteps and is willing to work as a nurse during the Great War. She serves to treat the wounded. It is during this time she encounters a dying lieutenant whom she promises to deliver a message to the soldier brother, Jonathan Graham. The dying man tells Bess Crawford to tell his brother that he had lied but for the sake of their mother. Later she returns home after her ship sinks when hit by a mine.

She is determined to fulfill her promise and travels to the village where Graham lives. Upon disclosing the message to the family, none of the family members admit to knowing what the message meant.

Bess later learns that there is indeed another brother imprisoned in a lunatic asylum since the age of 14. He was detained after being accused of killing a housemaid.

Bess instincts tell her that the dying lieutenant message has something to with the imprisoned brother. She decides to investigate on her own because the family seems unwilling to do anything.

A Test of Wills. It is the summer of 1919, and Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is trying to piece up his old life back after a four-year service in the trenches of the World War 1. He is still recovering from the shell shock. He is later assigned to a case in a small village; he is determined to solve the mystery surrounding the case, a case that could end his career.

He is assigned to investigate the mystery behind the death of Colonel Charles Harris, a soldier, and a land owner. The soldier is killed by a shotgun blast. Ian begins an investigation into the murder and discovers that Harris had no enemies and cannot imagine who had the motives to kill him.

He interrogates Lettice Wood, Wilton, Mavers a troublemaker, and Catherine Tarrant a rejected artist. Lettice was Harris Ward and Wilton’s fiancée. Ian finally gets a breakthrough to the case after interrogating the shell-shocked Hickam.

It appears that Ian Rutledge is haunted by his internal demon named Hamish McLeod, a voice in Ian’s head which comments on every that the detective takes.

Rutledge finds a doll where Harris died which ends ups as the key to the case. The doll belongs to a little girl who constantly has nightmares after seeing the headless body of Captain Harris.

Detective Ian discovers that Lettice Wood and Captain Harris were lovers and that they had informed Wilton, Lettice fiancee that her engagement to him was over.

During Harris’ funeral, Rutledge pieces up the final missing parts of the puzzle.