Charles Todd Books In Order: A Complete Guide

Welcome to a journey through the captivating world of Charles Todd, a gifted author renowned for his mesmerizing blend of history, mystery, and suspense. His work has captivated millions of readers worldwide, with his books serving as portals into intriguing narratives and complex characters.

In this post, we’ll delve into the life of Charles Todd, explore his literary works, and provide you with a comprehensive list of his books in chronological order. So, grab a cup of tea, get comfortable, and let’s dive into the riveting realm of Charles Todd’s writing.

Charles Todd Books In Order
Contents show

Who is Charles Todd?

Who is Charles Todd?
Who is Charles Todd?

Charles Todd isn’t just a single person but a talented writing team composed of mother and son, Caroline and Charles Todd. This duo, writing under the pen name Charles Todd, has created some of the most exciting historical crime novels over the last few decades.

Their unique blend of historical authenticity, well-drawn characters, and intricate plots has captivated audiences since they released their first book in the late ’90s.

Quick Fact: Their novels are largely set in post-World War I England, capturing the period’s atmosphere, emotions, and intricacies. The Todd team is particularly known for two popular series: the “Inspector Ian Rutledge” novels and the “Bess Crawford” mystery series.

The former explores the life and work of a Scotland Yard Inspector battling his inner demons as he solves baffling cases, while the latter follows an intelligent, independent nurse serving during World War I.

Charles Todd Books In Order:

Charles Todd Books In Order
Charles Todd Books In Order

Charles Todd’s books should ideally be read in chronological order, especially within each series, to best understand the characters’ development and the overarching plotlines.

Inspector Ian Rutledge Series:

  1. “A Test of Wills” (1996)
  2. “Wings of Fire” (1998)
  3. “Search the Dark” (1999)
  4. “Legacy of the Dead” (2000)
  5. “Watchers of Time” (2001)
  6. “A Fearsome Doubt” (2002)
  7. “A Cold Treachery” (2005)
  8. “A Long Shadow” (2006)
  9. “A False Mirror” (2007)
  10. “A Pale Horse” (2008)
  11. “A Matter of Justice” (2009)
  12. “The Red Door” (2010)
  13. “A Lonely Death” (2011)
  14. “The Confession” (2012)
  15. “Proof of Guilt” (2013)
  16. “Hunting Shadows” (2014)
  17. “A Fine Summer’s Day” (2015)
  18. “No Shred of Evidence” (2016)
  19. “Racing the Devil” (2017)
  20. “The Gate Keeper” (2018)
  21. “The Black Ascot” (2019)
  22. “A Divided Loyalty” (2020)

Bess Crawford Series:

  1. “A Duty to the Dead” (2009)
  2. “An Impartial Witness” (2010)
  3. “A Bitter Truth” (2011)
  4. “An Unmarked Grave” (2012)
  5. “A Question of Honor” (2013)
  6. “An Unwilling Accomplice” (2014)
  7. “A Pattern of Lies” (2015)
  8. “The Shattered Tree” (2016)
  9. “A Casualty of War” (2017)
  10. “A Forgotten Place” (2018)
  11. “A Cruel Deception” (2019)
  12. “An Irish Hostage” (2021)
  13. A Fatal Lie (2021)
  14. A Game Of Fear (2022)

As you embark on your journey through Charles Todd’s absorbing literary world, keep in mind that every page holds a new discovery, every chapter a new twist. Happy reading!

Do you need to read Charles Todd’s books in order?

Do you need to read Charles Todd's books in order?
Do you need to read Charles Todd’s books in order?

While each novel crafted by Charles Todd is an individual story with a unique mystery to solve, they all contribute to the development of the main characters in the respective series, be it, Inspector Ian Rutledge or Bess Crawford. Therefore, it is often beneficial to read the books in order of their release to fully understand the characters’ evolution and context.

Reading the books in chronological order allows you to follow the journey of these characters through post-World War I England, gaining a deeper understanding of their personal struggles and growth, as well as their relationships with supporting characters. Moreover, there are overarching plotlines and character developments that progress from book to book.

Hence, reading in order will prevent any potential spoilers and give you a better reading experience.

However, each novel is designed in such a way that it can be read as a standalone piece. This means that if you happen to pick up a book in the middle of the series, you won’t be lost as the main mystery or crime in each book is self-contained.

Still, you may miss some nuances or references to the characters’ pasts that may not impact the current plot but do add depth to the characters.

How many books has Charles Todd written?

Charles Todd, the mother-son writing duo, has written a significant number of books divided mainly into two series. The Inspector Ian Rutledge series has 22 novels, while the Bess Crawford series consists of 12 novels.

In addition to these series, Charles Todd has also written a standalone novel titled “The Murder Stone” (also known as “The Walnut Tree”) in 2011. This means, in total, they had written 43 books.

Please note that Charles Todd might have published more books after September 2021, as they typically release at least one new book every year. Therefore, it would be beneficial to check the most recent publications from their official website or reliable book retailers for the most up-to-date information.

What is the order of the Ian Rutledge series?

What is the order of the Ian Rutledge series?
What is the order of the Ian Rutledge series?

The Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd is an engrossing series of mysteries that take place in the aftermath of World War I. The protagonist, Inspector Ian Rutledge, is a tormented yet highly competent Scotland Yard inspector who battles his personal demons while solving complex cases. Here are the books in the series in order:

  • “A Test of Wills” (1996)
  • “Wings of Fire” (1998)
  • “Search the Dark” (1999)
  • “Legacy of the Dead” (2000)
  • “Watchers of Time” (2001)
  • “A Fearsome Doubt” (2002)
  • “A Cold Treachery” (2005)
  • “A Long Shadow” (2006)
  • “A False Mirror” (2007)
  • “A Pale Horse” (2008)
  • “A Matter of Justice” (2009)
  • “The Red Door” (2010)
  • “A Lonely Death” (2011)
  • “The Confession” (2012)
  • “Proof of Guilt” (2013)
  • “Hunting Shadows” (2014)
  • “A Fine Summer’s Day” (2015)
  • “No Shred of Evidence” (2016)
  • “Racing the Devil” (2017)
  • “The Gate Keeper” (2018)
  • “The Black Ascot” (2019)
  • “A Divided Loyalty” (2020)

What is the order of the Bess Crawford series?

What is the order of the Bess Crawford series?
What is the order of the Bess Crawford series?

The Bess Crawford series, also written by Charles Todd, takes readers to the tumultuous times of World War I and its aftermath, seen through the eyes of Bess Crawford, a brave and intelligent nurse. The series is as follows:

  • “A Duty to the Dead” (2009)
  • “An Impartial Witness” (2010)
  • “A Bitter Truth” (2011)
  • “An Unmarked Grave” (2012)
  • “A Question of Honor” (2013)
  • “An Unwilling Accomplice” (2014)
  • “A Pattern of Lies” (2015)
  • “The Shattered Tree” (2016)
  • “A Casualty of War” (2017)
  • “A Forgotten Place” (2018)
  • “A Cruel Deception” (2019)
  • “An Irish Hostage” (2020)

Do the Bess Crawford Mysteries need to be read in order?

While each Bess Crawford mystery is standalone in terms of the central plot, it is often more rewarding to read them in order. This is because there are overarching story elements and character development that unfold progressively throughout the series.

Expert Tip: Reading the books in chronological order allows readers to follow Bess’s personal journey, her experiences during the war, and her evolution as a character.

Additionally, understanding the context of Bess’s relationships with recurring characters and her personal history adds depth and richness to the reading experience. However, if you pick up a book mid-series, you should still be able to enjoy the central mystery as each novel is crafted to ensure the main plot is self-contained.

That said, you might miss out on certain character nuances and references to past events.

How did Charles Todd’s writing partnership begin, and what is their process?

The unique writing partnership between mother Caroline and son Charles Todd began in the mid-1990s. Both had a keen interest in history, mystery, and storytelling, which provided fertile ground for a collaborative effort. They chose to write under the pseudonym Charles Todd to lend a sense of unity and individuality to their work.

Their writing process is collaborative and dynamic, often starting with the conception of a plot and the central mystery. They discuss the storyline, character arcs, and historical context at length before beginning to write.

Despite being a two-person team, their seamless integration results in a singular voice, which is a testament to their synergy and a shared vision for their characters and stories.

What makes the post-World War I setting so significant in Charles Todd’s books?

The post-World War I era is a pivotal period in history marked by significant social, political, and cultural shifts. This era, often referred to as the “Lost Generation,” serves as a profound backdrop for Charles Todd’s books. It was a time when traditional norms were being challenged, technology was advancing, and the world was recovering from the ravages of war.

The fallout from the war provides rich material for the exploration of human nature, societal transformation, and personal conflict. This period allows for the exploration of themes such as trauma, loss, change, and resilience, which are central to many of Charles Todd’s characters and narratives.

How does Charles Todd develop the character of Inspector Ian Rutledge throughout the series?

Charles Todd’s character development of Inspector Ian Rutledge is layered and intricate. As the series progresses, readers witness Rutledge’s continuous battle with shell shock (now known as PTSD) following his service in World War I.

This inner conflict, coupled with his keen investigative skills, shapes Rutledge’s character and forms a significant part of the series’ appeal. He carries the weight of his past throughout the series, haunted by the voice of Hamish, a soldier whom he was forced to execute for insubordination during the war.

With each book, Rutledge’s character evolves as he grapples with his guilt, navigates his trauma, and seeks to deliver justice in his role as an inspector.

What sets Bess Crawford apart as a character in her series?

Bess Crawford stands out as an intelligent, determined, and independent woman in an era marked by strict societal norms. Her role as a nurse during World War I gives her a unique perspective and allows her to navigate various social strata.

Bess’s courage, empathy, and resourcefulness not only enable her to solve mysteries but also expose readers to the rarely portrayed perspective of women during wartime. She often uses her medical skills and understanding of human nature to unravel mysteries, and her compassionate and tenacious character shines through in each book.

As the series progresses, we see Bess maturing and growing through her experiences on the front lines and in her personal life.

What are the recurring themes in Charles Todd’s novels?

Charles Todd’s novels consistently delve into themes of war, trauma, duty, and resilience. The aftermath of World War I is an omnipresent backdrop, affecting the lives of characters and shaping societal norms and interactions. Trauma is another recurring theme, particularly in the portrayal of Inspector Rutledge and his ongoing struggle with PTSD.

Duty is often explored through the commitment shown by characters like Bess Crawford and Ian Rutledge towards their respective roles in society. Finally, resilience, both personal and societal, is a key theme as characters navigate post-war realities, personal loss, and challenging mysteries.

How has Charles Todd’s work been received by the literary community and readers?

Charles Todd’s work has been warmly received by both the literary community and readers around the world. They have been praised for their ability to capture the complexities of the post-World War I era and for their well-drawn, psychologically complex characters.

Their attention to historical detail, atmospheric settings, and cleverly crafted mysteries have garnered positive reviews from critics and have resulted in a dedicated fan base. The team has received several prestigious honors, including the Barry Award and the Anthony Award for Best First Novel for their debut “A Test of Wills”.

Can you give an example of a typical mystery found in a Charles Todd novel?

Charles Todd’s mysteries are typically multi-layered and steeped in the societal and cultural intricacies of the era. For example, in “A Test of Wills,” the first novel of the Ian Rutledge series, Rutledge is called to investigate the murder of a popular colonel in a quiet Warwickshire village.

The main suspect is a decorated war hero and aviator suffering from severe war trauma, leading to a complex investigation set against the backdrop of a society still reeling from the effects of the war. This involves not just the “whodunit” aspect, but also a deep exploration of characters, war-induced trauma, and societal expectations.

This richness and depth in their mysteries are characteristic of Charles Todd’s work.

What differentiates Charles Todd’s mysteries from others in the genre?

Charles Todd’s mysteries stand out due to their historical accuracy, richly developed characters, and the emotional depth of their narratives. The mother-son duo meticulously researches the post-World War I period, capturing its atmosphere, societal changes, and complexities in an authentic manner.

The psychological depth of their characters, particularly the main protagonists – Inspector Ian Rutledge and Nurse Bess Crawford, offer a unique perspective to the readers. Their exploration of PTSD and its effects in the early 20th-century context, through Rutledge, is a theme not commonly addressed in other works of this genre.

Moreover, their mysteries go beyond the conventional ‘whodunit’ approach, weaving in personal narratives and societal issues that provide a broader and more immersive reading experience.

What roles do secondary characters play in Charles Todd’s novels?

Secondary characters in Charles Todd’s novels play a pivotal role in not just advancing the plot, but also in setting the tone and reflecting the era’s societal norms. From fellow nurses and soldiers to village locals and Scotland Yard personnel, these characters contribute to the vivid tapestry of the post-World War I society.

They often serve as mirrors, reflecting or contrasting the protagonist’s character traits or societal viewpoints. Some of these characters also provide comic relief, bring in elements of romance, or heighten the tension and suspense within the story. Over the series, many secondary characters become integral to the readers, adding richness to the narrative.

How does Charles Todd’s writing style contribute to the reader’s experience?

Charles Todd’s writing style is noted for its atmospheric descriptions, nuanced characterizations, and intricate plotting. Their meticulous attention to historical detail immerses the reader in the post-World War I era, helping them understand the societal changes and challenges of the time.

Their prose often reflects the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters, adding psychological depth to the narrative. The plotlines in their novels are well-crafted, with multiple threads woven together to keep readers engaged and guessing till the end.

Quick Fact: This combination of atmospheric setting, deep character introspection, and complex mysteries makes for a highly engaging and rewarding reader experience.

How does the portrayal of women in the Bess Crawford series reflect the societal changes during and after World War I?

The Bess Crawford series provides a unique lens to explore the changing roles and perceptions of women during and after World War I. Bess, serving as a nurse, steps outside the traditional domestic roles associated with women of her time, reflecting the increasing participation of women in professions and public life brought about by the war.

She is portrayed as independent, resourceful, and resilient, challenging the stereotypes of the “fairer sex.” Her navigation of the predominantly male spaces of the military and detective work reflects the societal shifts of the era and the increasing empowerment of women.

What elements of Charles Todd’s novels make them appealing to fans of historical fiction, apart from mystery lovers?

While Charles Todd’s novels are firmly placed in the mystery genre, they hold strong appeal for fans of historical fiction as well. Their accurate and evocative portrayal of the post-World War I era, combined with the exploration of social and cultural changes of the time, provides a deep historical context that adds layers to the narrative.

The depiction of the impact of war on individuals and society, the exploration of trauma and recovery, and the insights into societal norms and attitudes of the time are some elements that make these novels engaging for historical fiction enthusiasts.

What does the process of solving mysteries reveal about the protagonists in Charles Todd’s novels?

The process of solving mysteries in Charles Todd’s novels offers profound insights into their protagonists, revealing not just their detective skills but also their character traits, personal battles, and growth. As Rutledge and Crawford navigate complex cases, their intelligence, intuition, and resilience are highlighted.

Rutledge’s struggle with PTSD and his determination to uphold justice despite personal trauma show his inner strength and resilience. Bess’s resourcefulness, compassion, and tenacity in solving mysteries, often in challenging and dangerous circumstances, reveal her courage and dedication.

This journey often leads to personal growth and transformation in the protagonists, adding depth to their characters.

What are some common reader reactions to Charles Todd’s portrayal of post-World War I England?

Many readers appreciate Charles Todd’s vivid and nuanced portrayal of post-World War I England. They commend the authors’ meticulous historical research and their ability to authentically capture the atmosphere of the era.

Readers often mention the poignant depiction of the war’s aftermath, including the psychological trauma faced by soldiers and civilians, as a standout aspect of Todd’s work. They also appreciate the exploration of societal changes, including shifts in class structures and gender roles, which provide a deeper understanding of the period.

The evocative descriptions of rural and urban settings in England are often highlighted as contributing to the immersive reading experience.


In conclusion, the writing team of Charles Todd offers an absorbing blend of historical depth, emotional resonance, and mystery in their books. Whether through the troubled but relentless Inspector Ian Rutledge or the brave and resourceful Nurse Bess Crawford, they provide readers with a deeply immersive dive into the challenging era of post-World War I England.

They transport us into the heart of the Lost Generation, making us privy to its trauma, resilience, societal shifts, and the human will to seek justice. For those who enjoy mysteries with a generous dose of history and psychological depth, Charles Todd’s novels are a perfect pick.

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About Ben Hudd

Hi, my name is Ben, and I am part of the writing crew for TheWritersHQ!

I have a roaring passion for books and writing, and have written 2 books throughout my life! I am now excited to share my writing and book knowledge with the world!