Racing the Devil

Fresh on shelves this week, Charles Todd’s nineteenth mystery series installment Racing the Devil sees 1900’s Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge investigating a deadly motorcar crash, which may point back to an ill-advised car race between English officers in France one year ago, where racers were nearly run off the mountain road by an unidentified driver. How are the two car accidents related and were they really accidents?

Purchase Racing the Devil by Charles Todd from Powells at this link and you’ll help fund Anglonerd magazine with no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Anglonerd magazine asked Charles Todd, the mother/son writing duo Caroline Todd (not to be confused with Tamsin Greig’s character in Green Wing) and Charles Todd, about their love of old motorcars and if they could share with us some interesting motorcar facts. Here’s what they say.

Researching a book can be fascinating—one never quite knows what will turn up! Racing the Devil is no exception. Inspector Ian Rutledge’s motorcar in the book—and a very popular style in the day—was a 1914 Rolls touring car. We’ve often ridden in it, and it’s in terrific shape. Runs as beautifully as it looks. We know the present owners but like to think that when it was brand new off the showroom floor, it might have belonged to Rutledge. Rolls-Royce catered to those who could afford the best motorcars in the world, according to their claims, and they made glorious chauffeur-driven motorcars as well as self-driven.

One of the most interesting tidbits we came across while looking into British motorcars was a reference to The Yellow Rolls-Royce. This was a  1965 film based on an earlier German movie. The yellow Rolls is bought by an aristocrat, Rex Harrison in the thirties, then sold to a gangster, George C. Scott, and ends up in 1941 in the hands of Ingrid Bergman, an American widow, who brings it to the U.S. Rolls-Royce wasn’t only motors.  It also made piston engines for aeroplanes in the Great War, and continued to make them afterward. By 1940, it was working on the development of jet engines, and after the war made them for commercial flights. Of course piston engines and widowed Americans had nothing to do with a murder mystery that begins on the Somme in 1916, moves to Paris and Nice in 1919, and brings Inspector Ian Rutledge into the picture when an apparently unconnected murder occurs along the Sussex coast in 1920! To tell you what role motorcars play in these events will mean giving too much away, but this is one of the best parts about writing a mystery series. You never know what you’ll be looking for next. And research isn’t done just online or in books—we go to England to find the right setting for the right mystery. Then come characters and plot, while we’re walking through a village.

Did you know there’s a Rolls-Royce Owners Club here in the US? That includes Bentleys, by the way. When we needed a good photo of motors of the period for the cover of Racing the Devil, we just went to a meet and reveled  in all the Proper Motorcars on display.

Purchase Racing the Devil by Charles Todd from Powells at this link and you’ll help fund Anglonerd magazine with no extra cost to you. Thank you!


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