Charles Todd's critically acclaimed novels featuring
Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge have been hailed by
The Washington Post Book World as "one of the best
historical series being written today." The New York Times
Book Review calls Todd's mysteries "meticulously
wrought...harrowing psychological drama." Now he stakes out
new territory in this mesmerizing stand-alone novel of one
woman's dark journey through family obsession, wartime
secrets, and a chilling legacy....
The Murder Stone
The Great War is still raging in the autumn of 1916, when
Francesca Hatton's beloved grandfather dies on the family
England's isolated Exe Valley. Grieving for the man who
raised her, Francesca is stunned to find an unsigned letter
among his effects, cursing the Hattons and their
descendants. Now a stranger has shown up on her doorstep,
accusing her grandfather of being a murderer.
Ex-soldier Richard Leighton blames Francis Hatton for the
death of his mother, who vanished nearly a quarter of a
century earlier. Her body was never found, only a shawl
stained with her blood. And Leighton is not the only one
with a claim on Francesca's grandfather. On the day of his
funeral, unexpected visitors arrive with the mourners, and
Francesca is besieged by charges of Hatton's vicious
dealings. Yet there is also a shy young woman who praises
his secret generosity.
At the center of the intrigue is an unusual white stone
that lies hidden in a secluded garden where Francesca once
played with her five male cousins, all of them dead now on
the battlefields of France. According to the terms of
Hatton's will, the Murder Stone must be dug up and
transported to Scotland, where it is to be buried forever.
But before Francesca can begin the journey, a series of
ominous "accidents" occur, culminating in the discovery of
a bleeding body on the Murder Stone itself.
Was Hatton the loving, caring protector his granddaughter
always believed him to be?
Or a vindictive, secretive man who cultivated dangerous
enemies? Francesca sets out in pursuit of the truth—and
into the sights of someone determined to exact a revenge