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Summary

"A stunner, exquisitely plotted and characterized, with Todd’s trademark meticulous backdrop of World War I-era England.” (Strand Magazine)

The Great War is still raging when Francesca Hatton’s adored grandfather dies on his estate in England’s isolated Exe Valley. She is his sole heir, for her five cousins are dead now on the battlefields of France. Among his effects, Francesca is stunned to find a letter cursing the Hattons. And at the funeral, a stranger publicly accuses Hatton of murder. Who was her grandfather? The kind man who raised her - or a secretive killer? For in the back garden where she and her cousins once played, there is a white stone they always called the Murder Stone. 

Alone, with no one to help her, Francesca is determined to clear Hatton’s good name. But when a series of ominous “accidents” occur, she realizes that in her pursuit of the truth, she has crossed the path of someone who won’t be satisfied until all the Hattons are dead. 

Praise for The Murder Stone

“Seamless...a compelling insight into the home front during 1916.” (Chicago Tribune)

“A gripping novel of family secrets set against the tragedy of World War I.” (Mystery Lovers Bookshop News)

“Many twists and turns, angst-ridden characters, and an evocative historical setting. A gripping read.” (Library Journal)

©2003 Charles Todd (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Murder Stone

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable...

I very nearly stopped listening in the first few minutes. A lengthy list of characters may be appropriate at the front of a book for reference as one is reading., but is pointless and inappropriate when listening to a story. For the rest, it’s an enjoyable enough yarn although predicable and not much of a mystery. I would say that it isn’t on a par with the excellent Inspector Rutledge series.

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  • Chris McDonald
  • 14-02-20

Unfaithful Narrator?

First, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoy all novels by Charles Todd and this was no exception. The location and era were brilliantly rendered and the characters are masterfully brought to life. The story is not the usual mystery however. It is a psychological thriller and we are guided, more or less, by the protagonists who plays the role of an unreliable narrator. This is not unusual for this type of story and the authors have done a fanstatic job weaving current and past events. Where i feel a bit let down is during the epilogue, in which we learn that during the climatic scene, the unreliable narrator became a dishonest narrator. Of course you only realize this once you complete the book, but afterwards, there is a since of betrayal because until that point, the reader really feels they shared the adventure and then learn they were betrayed and the real motivations were hidden as a way to maintain suspense. Okay, maybe I am being unfair. I have seen this in other stories, just not from Charles Todd. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the pacing was well executed. A+

10 people found this helpful

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  • Babs
  • 01-03-20

Narrator was hysterical, story was unsatisfying

I adore Charles Todd's books, both the Bess Crawford series and the Rutledge series. They deal with the tragedies and complexities of post-war England with subtlety and beautiful detail. So I had high hopes for this one. At first, I thought it was only the narrator who bothered me -- her voice hit a fever-pitch within the first few minutes, and she portrayed Francesca as yelling or screaming far too often. Would a woman of her class and background be shrieking so much? An experienced narrator can portray anger and grief without having listeners feel as if we are in the middle of a shouting match. Then I realized that the book left me cold as well. Incredibly confusing, very few sympathetic characters and too much "Perils of Pauline" drama. I'll wait for Nurse Crawford and Inspector Rutledge!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Debbie ,McBride
  • 26-02-20

More like a teen angst novel than a Charles Todd mystery

I rarely write reviews but the The Murder Stone is, well terrible. I have loved the previous books, though I not a big fan of the female narrators used in Charles Todd’s previous books. This one especially sounds like she is whining, no matter what emotion she is trying to express. I tried very hard to get into the book and thought I might find a sympathetic character in the story somewhere, but to no avail. The characters are flat and uninspiring. The plot is odd and poorly researched. I finished the book only by skipping through it so I could try and see if it would get better. It didn’t. Don waste your money on this book. The other Charles Todd books are wonderful. Maybe this one was written by a Todd teenager and thus the drama comes from a place of teenage angst. Or maybe the authors had a deadline to meet and this was the result. Save yourself the time and money and pass it by.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Scott
  • 06-03-20

Romance Ruins Murder Mystery

Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawfords Series have been very enjoyable, with good writing and well thought out stories, plots and some interesting characters. This book is a pretty serious departure from those works in the one aspect of a love interest between the two main characters. The relationship to me was wholly unbelievable, seemed very forced in terms of timing, and as an interjection into the plot and detracted so much from the story that I found my self shaking my head from its inception. The only reason found for finishing the book was to see how the story would try to extricate itself from its own weirdness in this respect. It didn't work for me and the result was still very unsatisfying. The other disturbing thing about this book for me was that the Main Character appeared, from the description and wording of the narrative, many times to be confused, or not to know what to believe, or do solely based on the fact of gender, that most of her decisions were made based on emotion, rather than rational thought or a plan. it was disappointing. I think I'll stick to Ian and Bess going forward.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Charlotte Araki
  • 13-02-20

Loved it

l have enjoyed all of Charles Todd's works but this is my favorite so far. Enough twists and turns to keep one guessing and interesting and likeable characters. The narrator Emogen Church is extremely talented with a gift for voices. A must listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • The Louligan
  • 20-06-20

NOT WORTH THE TIME OR CREDIT

I have listened to all of the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford books. I thoroughly enjoyed most of them.,But this new character and the story around her is awful. Listening to it was like floundering in quicksand. I wanted to get out but the book’s ridiculousness kept pulling me back in. I think I was hoping that it would eventually make sense. Not to be repetitive, I totally agree with the reviewers who gave this title less than 3 stars. The narrator got on my nerves. I had to keep adjusting the sound levels because she was either mumbling or screaming. I found her character to be arrogant, spoiled, neurotic and just plain stupid. No woman of her class during that era would act like she did. Plus I got tired of all of her speculations and inner thoughts. This book feels like it was done by a ghostwriter who studied Charles Todd but failed miserably.

2 people found this helpful

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  • portia
  • 21-04-20

Enticing premise spoiled by repetition

WWI England and a generation of young men lost to war. Orphan "heroine" returns home for grandfather's funeral, the lone survivor of her family and learns that her beloved grandfather had secrets, perhaps dark and evil ones. Great premise. However, our heroine is a bit of a twit unable to take control of things. My personal distastes for repetitive narrative is a hallmark of this novel. If this were a written book I'd have resorted to skimming for content. The character thinks it, then it happens, then she thinks it again, Did I mention she is a twit? Perhaps things will improve but I don't think I can hang in long enough to find out. Too bad, I'd really like to know more about the character who never actually appears in the book. (The narrator got 2 stars due to my feeling that she could have made the characters a bit more likable through her interpretation. )

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carly Simon Fan
  • 07-08-20

Another Winner

Loved it, great story and another surprise ending. Love all of Charles Todd's books, excellent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-04-20

The Murder Stone

Was enthralled by this book. So different from previous novels by the author. I look forward to reading more of this kind frim the author. I didn't miss Inspector Rutledge at all.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicole Obyrne
  • 11-03-20

Not Bad, not bad at all.

The reason I bought this book is because I love the narrator her voice is not annoying. But actually the book was bad, the main character was a little whiny a times a little too helpless female but overall I'd say it's good read.

1 person found this helpful