Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Unmarked Grave

by Charles Todd, William Morrow, June 2012

...a worthy contender for your reading pleasure.

Some Spoilers - When we rejoin Bess Crawford, WWI nurse and amateur private detective, it is right in the middle of a Spanish flu epidemic in an aid station near the frontlines in France.  A kindly orderly has brought Bess to view a body in the morgue; not a battlefield or flu causality this soldier who Bess recognizes as a comrade in arms of her father has been murdered.  Soon Bess falls gravely ill with the flu and the orderly is found hanged.  Bess survives the flu unlike so many others in that scourge.  As she recovers she refocuses on the murder of this man.  After regaining her strength she returns to nursing duties in France but continues to pull at the threads of this mystery.  It soon becomes apparent that she too is a target of the murderer.  A thwarted attack on Bess brings her father, the Colonel Sahib, to provide some protection; he sends an American who masquerades as an orderly to protect Bess.  Suspects are identified with the requisite red herrings thrown in before the search of the battlefields focuses on a man with grey eyes masquerading as a major in the British army.  Bess moves from France to England and back again with relative ease as she eludes and then follows the suspect. In the end as expected she gets the bad guy but not before some suspense and gunplay.

I liked this story better than any of the three earlier ones.  The majority of the action takes place in France and has a realism to it.  Additionally Bess seems to have developed some toughness to her.  No more is Simon appearing from nowhere to save her from danger.  In this story she is armed and dangerous and saves herself from attacks.  I liked the depictions of the Spanish Flu pandemic; this onslaught actually killed more people than the war and disproportionally killed young adults.  The pacing of this book was faster than the three earlier ones, events moved right along.  And while Bess is the love interest of several of the characters, this doesn’t slow down the story.   So while Bess still falls short of the high standards of the Maisie Dobbs series, this book is a worthy contender for your reading pleasure!
I read a copy of this book provided by the publisher.

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

This does sound like it is a book filled with intrigue and also like it has a very deft plot. I haven't read many books about this epidemic and I look forward to grabbing this one when I can. It sounds like an excellent read. Thanks for the wonderful review today!