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The Red Door (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries ) Hardcover – December 29, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews
Book 12 of 15 in the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in 1920, bestseller Todd's 12th mystery to feature the shell-shocked WWI veteran and Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge (after 2008's A Matter of Justice) is one of the strongest entries yet in a series that shows no sign of losing steam. Rutledge first looks into the disappearance of missionary Walter Teller, who suddenly fell ill in London and later apparently walked out of the clinic where he was being treated. Rutledge questions members of Teller's immediate family, including his brothers, Peter and Edwin. After the resolution of the case of the missing missionary, Rutledge investigates the bludgeoning death of Florence Teller, apparently the wife of another Peter Teller, in Lancashire. Once again Todd (the pseudonym of a mother-son writing team) perfectly balance incisive portraits of all the characters, not just the complex and original lead, with a tricky puzzle in which the killer is hidden in plain sight for the discerning reader to discover. (Jan.)
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Review

“Compelling.” (San Jose Mercury News on The Red Door)

“Fascinating and compelling.” (Winston-Salem Journal on The Red Door)

“One of the strongest entries yet in a series that shows no sign of losing steam….Once again Todd perfectly balances incisive portraits of all the characters, not just the complex and original lead.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Red Door)

“Engaging and atmospheric.” (Library Journal on The Red Door)

“A complex story with lots of unexpected twists and turns….A fun ride to a surprising conclusion.” (Mystery Scene on The Red Door)

“Superb…haunting tale of love and loss.” (Globe and Mail (Toronto) on The Red Door)

“In The Red Door, Charles Todd shows again that this series about Ian Rutledge, a battle-fatigued World War I veteran and Scotland Yard detective, is as fresh and original as when the shell-shocked detective debuted 12 novels ago.” (Sun-Sentinel (Florida) on The Red Door)

“An intriguing story that’s impossible to put down…reminiscent of Agatha Christie.” (Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) on The Red Door)

“The book is more than a whodunit. Todd’s characters are well-wrought, his settings evocative, and the book a pleasure to read.” (World magazine on The Red Door)
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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries (Book 12)
  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061726168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061726163
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Neal Reynolds VINE VOICE on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Ian Rutledge series is one of my personal favorites. However, this particular entry becomes, to my mind, a bit overly complicated and I found myself growing a bit weary of the endless twists and turns involving the Teller family. Even Hamish fails to provide some of the spice of the earlier novels. However, the good inspector's personal life shows signs of becoming more interesting and I'm anxious for future novels just to see how the haunted protagonist handles a woman in his life. All in all, this is a provocative read, but not recommended as an introduction to the world of Ian Rutledge. Do read some of the earlier books first.
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Format: Hardcover
Charles Todd's THE RED DOOR is one of the best in the 12 book series. Walter Teller, a missionary in China and Africa and a chaplain in WWI, is suddenly stricken with a paralysis. He is taken to an exclusive clinic in London where his wife, his brothers, Edwin and Peter, and their wives wait for some sign of improvement. The doctors are stymied and the family fears that Walter is dying. Then, as suddenly as the paralysis came on, it disappears and so does Walter. Ian Rutledge is assigned another impossible task: find Walter Teller before the press learns of his disappearance. The Tellers are not a family to be discussed in the press.

As Rutledge begins what he believes will be a fruitless search, Walter reappears with no memory of where he has been.

In Lancashire, a woman has been waiting two years for the return of her husband from the war. Rutledge is sent to the village of Hobson because the dead woman is Florence Teller whose husband was named Peter. Somehow, in some way, Florence is tied to one of the brothers who has been living a lie with a wife in London.

The book is the story of the visible and invisible wounds left by the war. It is the story of money, class, privilege, inheritance, and secrets. And it is the story of the destruction of a powerful family who are the victims of the control exerted by their father from beyond the grave.

I liked THE RED DOOR for all the reasons that many other reviewers didn't. Rutledge is changing. Hamish is ever present but his voice is more hushed. The 12 books in the series represent a year in Rutledge's life and he is moving slowly back to the people who love him and whom he loves. He is becoming less a victim of the war and more a survivor of the carnage.

I eagerly await book 13.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is my first Ian Rutledge book, so that may influence my view because as another reviewer noted, this is a series to be read from the beginning, and not jumped into midstream. Even so, I think that a book, even in a series, should be written so that someone can jump in at any point and enjoy it.

The Red Door has a decent plot. The only problem is that it takes over half the book to get going. I had to force myself to keep reading; only rarely do I write a review for a book I do not finish. While the plot is interesting- others have covered the basics, so I won't repeat them- and the dialog flows naturally, there were things about the book that bothered me.

The Red Door is set after WW1. But for references to the past war and people traveling by train and hand-cranking a car, I found little that linked the action to that period. This story could have taken place at any time. Some might say this is the sign of a good story, however a major reason why I read mysteries set in earlier times is because I enjoy a story wrapped up in descriptions of the period. The above ties in with the authors' writing style. The word "spare" kept coming to me as I read. There are some descriptions, but it is the bare minimum necessary. If you like atmosphere and descriptions that make you feel like you are there in the story, you may not enjoy this.

As for the characters, I found them wooden and uninteresting. After reading this, I have no curiosity or desire to read anymore about Ian Rutledge. I should have, but didn't. He has problems from the war, to be sure, but that did not gain my sympathy. Having one of his former soldiers in his head is different, but I saw nothing to show he was healing- or getting worse, for that matter. The man's voice is just there.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been a fan of Charles Todd's grim but literate mysteries for a while now. Todd's protagonist is Ian Rutledge, a shellshocked WWI veteran who has joined Scotland Yard after suffering from a combat-induced nervous breakdown. Rutledge is a thoughtful, sober sleuth, still suffering violently from the post-traumatic stress caused by brutal trench warfare. After nearly a dozen Rutledge novels, Todd still manages a few surprises. The puzzle Rutledge faces this time out is unusual: n English gentleman goes missing and is promptly found alive by Rutledge. Shortly thereafter, Rutledge begins investigating the murder of a woman in a different county who shares the same last name as the missing-but-found man but is not directly related to him. Are the events connected or coincidence?

While Todd keeps the mysteries fresh, the bizarre form that Rutledge's PTSD takes -- the voice of a dead Scot infantryman ringing in his ears, heard only by Rutledge, as a kind of Greek chorus commenting on the action -- is now starting to get a bit worn. It's time to put Hamish to rest, and take the Rutledge character in a new direction. Fans of the series no doubt will enjoy the book anyway, and certainly "The Red Door" is a good solid mystery, entertaining and vastly better than the majority of detective novels being produced today.
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