At Bertram’s Hotel, A Test of Wills, & Still Life with Bread Crumbs

A Test of Wills is the first Ian Rutledge novel and the first Charles Todd that I have read.  I found that Rutledge is an intriguing protagonist, struggling to put the war behind him and return to “normal” life.  He worries that he has lost his detective abilities, that he may be losing his mind, and that he won’t get over the love of his life and his broken engagement.  In the midst of all this, he is assigned a case that has the possibility of being a public relations and political nightmare.  Enemies without waiting for him to fail and enemies within tearing at his sanity, Rutledge trudges on, unwinding the twists and turns of the case and discerning the liars from the truth tellers until the final reveal.   Well written and paced mystery, I really enjoyed it.

At Bertram’s Hotel is an Agatha Christie with Miss Marple.  It has all the red herrings, interesting characters and twists and turns to keep you guessing.  I liked the setting of a hotel for a certain class of character in London, it reminded me of Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont in some ways, cozy and classic and yet dated and of a time gone bye.  Miss Marple  is a guest at the hotel and she picks up clues and nudges the police in the right direction to solve a case of a missing cleric and then  murder.  A great cast of interesting characters, who keep the story moving as they involve the reader in their exploits.  Very good classic Agatha Christie read!

Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a slice of life novel, with the woman whose life we see a slice of being a famous photographer.  Rebecca Winter is at the tail end of a career, running out of money, divorced and rather isolated.  She sublet her NYC apartment and moves to a small isolated cabin as way to continue paying her bills.  Once there, the substance of her life changes and she finds inspiration in the new world she inhabits.  Wonderfully immersive, the details of Rebecca’s experiences are vivid and intriguing.  The writing elevates this from what could be an ordinary story about a woman and her career to a story that captures the reader’s imagination and draws them into Rebecca’s world.  Highly recommended.



3 thoughts on “At Bertram’s Hotel, A Test of Wills, & Still Life with Bread Crumbs

  1. Tina says:

    Great reviews, I am certainly adding the Charles Todd book for the British Mystery challenge. Off to Goodreads to update my list.

  2. Thanks – on another topic – were you able to get The Whitstable Pearl for the book club?

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