Charles Todd Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Charles Todd is the pseudonym of a mother-and-son mystery writing team (Caroline Todd and Charles Todd) who have so closely guarded their privacy they have not revealed their actual names or their residences, except to say that they live on the East Coast. Even their joint authorship was not acknowledged until the year 2000, around the publication of their fourth novel, Legacy of the Dead.

The genesis for the series came from their travels throughout England and to the battlefields of France. The character Ian Rutledge came about simply because they wanted to create a character they themselves would like reading about. Rutledge is a little like two other characters who also experienced lingering postwar trauma, Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey and Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings. The immediate postwar setting provided an opportunity to examine the past and to make the past and present overlap, reflecting the authors’ interest in history. Besides, they have said that they had an uncle/great uncle who flew in World War I, and he aroused an interest in the period. The academic training of the authors who write as Todd also helped to shape the novels. The mother was an undergraduate English and history major and has a graduate degree in international relations, and the son has studied communications and culinary arts and history, especially the American Civil War and both world wars.

The publication of the first Todd novel came about quite by accident when the mother-and-son team sent a copy of A Test of Wills to St. Martin’s. The publisher accepted the manuscript and the book did well enough for it to solicit another. The team has continued to produce novels in the Ian Rutledge series and also wrote a nonseries novel.

The mother-and-son team’s books have garnered an impressive listing of awards and nominations. For example, their first Ian Rutledge novel was nominated for a John Creasey Award, an Edgar, an Anthony, and an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association Dilys Award, and it won the Barry Award from Deadly Pleasures magazine. Subsequent novels in the series also have garnered nominations and awards.