Charles Todd’s THE RED DOOR is one of the best in the twelve 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. In an effort to do something special to welcome him home, she has painted the front door a brilliant red, a beacon for him as he returns. Now she is dead, brutally murdered. 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 RED DOOR 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, 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 twelve 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 thirteen..