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Sunday 25 October 2015

‘A Fine Summer’s Day’ by Charles Todd

Published by Morrow Paperbacks,
29 September 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-062-23713-2

This novel is sort of a prequel to the Ian Rutledge books that carry the series forward.  It begins with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife in Sarajevo, the prelude to the start of World War I months later.  While England and the rest of Europe waited with baited breath while Germany and Russia postured, there were several apparently unrelated murders committed in various English localities.

Despite the fact that higher-ups “closed” the cases, Inspector Rutledge discerned certain common elements and pursued the cases against direct orders and in the face of possible discipline.  Doggedly, he follows his instincts in what turns out to be his last case before enlisting in the army as an officer and sent to France, as we know from earlier novels in the series.

In the existing previous novels, Rutledge is single and is haunted by his experiences on the Western Front.  In  A Fine Summer’s Day, he becomes happily engaged to a pretty woman his sister and others think a shallow person.  But they appear to be very much in love and look forward to getting married by Christmas.  Of course, other events take precedence.  As in the entire series, the mother-son authors provide a realistic account of the times, writing smoothly and carrying the plot to a most satisfactory conclusion. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: by Theodore Feit

Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.
Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvellous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great-uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.
Charles's love of history led him to a study of some of the wars that shape it: the American Civil War, WWI and WWII. Charles had a career as a business consultant. This experience gave him an understanding of going to troubled places where no one was glad to see him arrive. This was excellent training for Rutledge's reception as he tries to find a killer in spite of local resistance.
Caroline has always been a great reader and enjoyed reading aloud, especially poetry that told a story. The Highwayman was one of her early favorites. Her wars are WWI, the Boer War, and the English Civil War, with a sneaking appreciation of the Wars of the Roses as well. When she's not writing, she's traveling the world, gardening, or painting in oils. Her background in international affairs backs up her interest in world events.
Writing together is a challenge, and both enjoy giving the other a hard time. The famous quote is that in revenge, Charles crashes Caroline's computer, and Caroline crashes his parties. Will they survive to write more novels together? Stay tuned! Their father/husband is holding the bets.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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