by Charles Todd, William Morrow, August 2013
...strongest story in this series
The fifth in the Bess Crawford series is the best one in my opinion. Bess is a WWI battlefield nurse who continually runs into murder mysteries (like a lot of these series you must keep your incredibility in check). This mystery is 10 years old and starts in India where Bess was raised. Her father was the colonel in command of a British Army unit stationed there. One of his officers is charged with five murders and to the dishonor of Bess’s father and the entire regiment he escapes. Fast forward to the front lines in France in the waning days of WWI where Beth receives information from a dying man that the officer in question is still alive and serving in the British army as an enlisted man. Things take off from there, Beth, ever relentless in her investigation tracks down leads in France and back in England. She must have crossed the English channel at least 20 times in two months to further the investigation. No more spoilers on this story but the plot is more complex than earlier novels in this series although the denouement is fairly weak.
This series is good but not great. Beth as the central character is always being rescued by Simon her father’s aide, so not exactly your feminist role model. Because Beth is neither a detective nor a police official the plotting takes some leaps to keep Beth’s actions credible. This story is stronger because Beth and her mother solve the case without depending on her father’s army connections to elicit information. So if you’ve enjoyed earlier books in this series you’ll find this one entertaining. If you are looking for a good WWI female detective try the Maisie Dobbs series.
I read a copy of this novel provided by the publisher.