World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford matches wits with a devious killer in this exciting and suspenseful adventure from New York Times best-selling author Charles Todd.
In the spring of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic spreads, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well.
However, war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of an officer who has been murdered. Though she is devoted to all her patients, this soldier's death touches her deeply. Not only did the man serve in her father's former regiment, he was also a family friend.
Before she can report the terrible news, Bess falls ill, the latest victim of the flu. By the time she recovers, the murdered officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he?
Working her father's connections in the military, Bess begins to piece together what little evidence she can find to unmask the elusive killer and see justice served. But she must be as vigilant as she is tenacious. With a determined killer on her heels, each move Bess makes could be her last.
©2012 Charles Todd (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
trying to see the world with my ears
If you've never read a list mystery about a nurse (or similar) amateur sleuth solving crimes in the midst of WW1 carnage, this could be interesting. But the author team of Charles Todd wastes a good series premise and potentially interesting characters in that rich backdrop by producing a pedestrian rehash of other novels. Particularly wasted is the Spanish Flu epidemic material. I've listened to a couple of the Ian Rutledge novels - It's hard to believe the same team writes the Bess Crawford series. Number 1 in the series was better, and each subsequent novel seemed to be more loosely constructed -- just the opposite of what usually happens in a historical mystery series as the characters get a chance to develop. Here Bess still improbably hops around Britain and the French trenches, poking her nose in a minor mystery (compared to the hell all around) before eventually tripping over her villain in a too convenient formula.
This mystery is set against the background of WW I 1918. The war has dragged on for several years, losses have been huge for both sides, men are being gassed, and then the pandemic of the 1918 flu is killing people globally. Bess and the other nurses are hard pressed to handle the wounded and now the sick. Soldiers are dying so quickly in France that they are being buried in pits. But one day Bess is called into the room where the bodies are held because an orderly has found a body that did not belong to that unit, with no identifying clothes, and who hadn’t died of the flu. In fact, his neck was broken and he was murdered. Bess knew the man, a family friend who served with her father. She arranged for the orderly to hold back the trucks which took the bodies away, and Bess went off to find the matron to decide what to do. But Bess fell ill with the flu, and was delirious for several days. The nightmare of seeing the murdered man came back to her in a dream. When she finally recovered, she didn’t know if it was a dream or had happened. But then, she learned that the orderly who had also seen the body had, seemingly committed suicide. She instantly believed he was murdered. Bess enlisted the aid of Simon and her father and others to track down this murderer, and her own life was almost taken several times. This was an exciting book, each one in the series has gotten better and better. Landor is a particularly good narrator, especially for no-nonsense nurse Bess Crawford.
I would definitely recommend this audiobook to a friend especially if that friend likes mysteries and has an interest in World War I. The characters and the plot were interesting as well as the details about the time and the people living through WWI.
Any of the other Charles Todd books that deal with the same time period. The other series that comes to mind is the Inspector Foyle programs on PBS. They deal with a changing society during the two World Wars and the changing role for women in that society.
She portrayed the characters very well and was extremely easy to listen to.
I loved the end of the book when Bess Crawford was able to give the murdered soldier's family the comfort in knowing that he had not committed suicide and restored his honour.
I have read or listened to all of Charles Todd's books and I especially like the character of plucky WWI nurse Bess Crawford. The reader put me right in the front lines of caring for the wounded.
I douldn't put it down and wore my MP3 player all day till I finished it! Charles Todd always has lots of plot twists and turns which are not predictable.One minute Bess is fighting for her life with the Spanish influenza the next,she is nearly killed at the front.
Thank goodness it wasn't a 3 parter. I had to know what happened next and despite having read or listened to all of Todd's books, I couldn't guess what was going to happen next.
For fans of period murder mysteries and strong female characters, I highly recomment it
Retired Clergy. PhD in Comparative Religion. Enjoying retirement of golf, motorcycling, model railroading, gardening, and reading.
A wonderful story of wartime hardship with a Downton Abbey feel. A nurse discovers an inner strength that she would never have known apart from the stark ruthlessness of her own illness and the First World War. From a privileged military family in Britain, the heroin determines to return to France to serve the wounded after having, herself, survived the Spanish Flu pandemic that rivaled the war in numbers of fatalities. There is intrigue coupled with valor. This is a tribute to the strength and determination of women. It was hard to put down. Well narrated, I highly recommend this easy listen.
Charles Todd creates the physical & emotional aspects of his characters so well. His stories transport me to another time & place,
I'm a fan of Bess Crawford. She's a strong woman and always strives for justice and right.
This is the 4th Bess Crawford mystery from Charles Todd and it did not disappoint.
I listened to the audio book narrated by the excellent Rosalyn Landor. Her voice is subtle with very good accents. Her strength is in her ability to do men's voices so well that I almost forget there is not a man reading those parts. The American man in this book was voiced extremely well.
I do have a few quibbles, including a weak ending, but they are spoilerish so I won't share them here.
Though both are written well, I've enjoyed Todd's Bess Crawford mystery series more than the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. Both take place during or just after WWI, which is an absolutely fascinating time period. It's obvious that Todd has done quite a bit of historical research on the war, which certainly adds to each stories' atmosphere.
The plots might sometimes be a bit of a stretch, but they have enough truth and "believability" so that I've always really enjoyed them.
The characters are the best part. They are so well developed, they're the reason I've gone through the whole Crawford series. After I'd used my Audible credit on the first book and finished it, I instantly purchased the second book so that I wouldn't have to wait a whole month to see how each character's subplots progressed.
The narrator's voice sounds a bit too cold for me at times, but again, each character's personality is very strongly written so that towards the end I wasn't bothered by it.
I thoroughly recommend this book. If you want your characters a bit darker, I suggest the Rutledge series as well.
Charles Todd does not disapoint in the 4th book of the "Bess Crawford" series. Rosalyn Landor has done a fantastic job in reading ALL the books in the series. I hope they continue to use her as the series progresses. She really brings the characters to life!
Well, I think the icon chosen for me shows a young man... I am an old woman who likes to listen to books and hopes my ears last longer than my eyes.
I first 'discovered' him with the Ian Rutledge series and I keep hoping some more of
the earlier books will be on audible.com. He has mayhem, of course, and the voice in his head, but Todd has a wonderful way with the English language
Now I see what an awful critic I am since I have listened to other audible books
since "An Marked Grave'!!
Only in the Bess Crawford series. She is very, very good..
Sorry.... I'm old... sniff...
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