In the latest mystery from New York Times best-selling author Charles Todd, World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that occurred during her childhood in India, a search for the truth that will transform her and leave her pondering a troubling question: How can facts lie?
Bess Crawford enjoyed a wondrous childhood in India, where her father, a colonel in the British Army, was stationed on the Northwest Frontier. But an unforgettable incident darkened that happy time. In 1908, Colonel Crawford's regiment discovered that it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people in India and England yet was never brought to trial. In the eyes of many of these soldiers, men defined by honor and duty, the crime was a stain on the regiment's reputation and on the good name of Bess' father, the Colonel Sahib, who had trained the killer.
A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battlefields of France during World War I, Bess learns from a dying Indian sergeant that the supposed murderer, Lieutenant Wade, is alive - and serving at the Front. Bess cannot believe the shocking news. According to reliable reports, Wade's body had been seen deep in the Khyber Pass, where he had died trying to reach Afghanistan. Soon, though, her mind is racing. How had he escaped from India? What had driven a good man to murder in cold blood?
Wanting answers, she uses her leave to investigate. In the village where the first three killings took place, she discovers that the locals are certain that the British soldier was innocent. Yet the present owner of the house where the crime was committed believes otherwise, and is convinced that Bess' father helped Wade flee. To settle the matter once and for all, Bess sets out to find Wade and let the courts decide.
But when she stumbles on the horrific truth, something that even the famous writer Rudyard Kipling had kept secret all his life, she is shaken to her very core. The facts will damn Wade even as they reveal a brutal reality, a reality that could have been her own fate.
©2013 Charles Todd (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Love fiction--classic to light, serious to comedic. Selective non-fiction. These days lots of mysteries (not too violent, please :-)
I love this series. Bess Crawford, battlefront nurse during WWI is the perfect complement to Charles Todd's other series about Ian Rutledge--a former soldier in the war, who is now trying to find his way in life working in Scotland Yard, despite his wounded body and soul.
This series develops the character of Bess very nicely--and in this particular book, we get to know a bit more of her life with her family while her father served in India. We also get to know Simon Brandon, her father's batman who has stayed very loyal to the family ever since.
I like Bess' character quite a lot--she is intelligent, empathic and clever, but not depicted as doing unlikely things in the way some writers try to turn an early 20th century woman into having the style and thinking of a 21st century woman--which always leaves me feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Bess moves back and forth from France to England in this story, as she tries to unravel murders that took place many years ago. We get to see inside views into Bess' family and background more than before.
A thoroughly satisfying listen with very good narration. Highly recommend!
I've read and enjoyed this series. This one includes the involvement of Bess's parents which brings them out of the background and makes Bess a partner in solving the case. All in all a fun read.
Part of why I enjoy the Bess Crawford mysteries is that for me she has an actual voice - Rosalyn Landor.
These fun books are not great literature, but they are a nice way to pass your reading/listening time. And the mysteries are intriguing enough to keep my interest.
I mostly listen to books while exercising, which pretty much explains all of the action/thrillers on my list.
I love the Ian Rutledge stories and so I was hopeful for this series, but after reading three of them I just can't get on board. I appreciate the attempt to create a plausible female lead and give her a framework that actually allows her to accomplish something - but it is really too forced. If you want to enjoy a female heroine from this time period try Maisie Dobbs.
The author is new to me so I am so happy to have bought this book. The story is engaging, the historic detail is so interesting, particularly the accounts of the medical people in the field during the First World War in France. I love how the characters come to life and the mystery that captures the imagination at the start continues to engage you to the last chapter. Rosalyn is a superb reader and absolutely amazing with all the character voices.
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