Customer Reviews for

A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford Series #3)

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

#3 in Bess Crawford Series a delight

I love this series of book. Set in WWI, Bess is a battlefront nurse and she spends her time on leave solving mysteries! Three murders this time! These books are a lovely snapshot of the times with Bess giving us a glimpse of the horrors of war, a glimpse of the indep...
I love this series of book. Set in WWI, Bess is a battlefront nurse and she spends her time on leave solving mysteries! Three murders this time! These books are a lovely snapshot of the times with Bess giving us a glimpse of the horrors of war, a glimpse of the independent women to come and the fun of a female sleuth.

posted by Dukewife on July 3, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

As she heads home, on leave from the ongoing First World War, ba

As she heads home, on leave from the ongoing First World War, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford finds a troubled young woman huddled in her doorway. With the biting cold London air chilling them both, Bess invites the woman inside. With the interior lighting now clearly i...
As she heads home, on leave from the ongoing First World War, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford finds a troubled young woman huddled in her doorway. With the biting cold London air chilling them both, Bess invites the woman inside. With the interior lighting now clearly illuminating the young woman, Bess recognizes that the woman appears to have been recently stuck in the face. Despite the fear and protests from the woman, Bess invites her to, at least, stay the night.

The next day, Bess learns that the woman, Lydia, has run away from her home after an altercation with her husband. While Bess had planned to visit her own family during her leave, she agrees to accompany Lydia back home, to offer support for reconciling with her husband, Roger Ellis, and to monitor what, she fears, may be a concussion. Upon arrival, they find the family grieving the recent loss of Roger's brother and the still haunting loss of his young sister many years ago. Bess agrees to stay for a meal between the family and friends in anticipation for the laying of the memorial stone on the brother's grave the following morning. When one of the men, also in attendance at the meal, is found dead the next day, Bess finds herself as a suspect in the middle of a murder investigation.

This is not a typical action driven story. The mother/son author team has crafted an intricate, character driven, English mystery, similar to those of author P.D. James. I appreciated the strong character development and the well-imagined relationship between families, strongly affected by the war. Sometimes, the drama between the characters seemed to verge on soap opera level, but I felt that the mystery was strong enough to overcome these slight faults. While fans of fast paced thrillers may find this a bit slow, I think those looking for strong characters and a believable mystery will enjoy this book.

posted by ABookAWeekES on July 8, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    #3 in Bess Crawford Series a delight

    I love this series of book. Set in WWI, Bess is a battlefront nurse and she spends her time on leave solving mysteries! Three murders this time! These books are a lovely snapshot of the times with Bess giving us a glimpse of the horrors of war, a glimpse of the independent women to come and the fun of a female sleuth.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2012

    As she heads home, on leave from the ongoing First World War, ba

    As she heads home, on leave from the ongoing First World War, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford finds a troubled young woman huddled in her doorway. With the biting cold London air chilling them both, Bess invites the woman inside. With the interior lighting now clearly illuminating the young woman, Bess recognizes that the woman appears to have been recently stuck in the face. Despite the fear and protests from the woman, Bess invites her to, at least, stay the night.

    The next day, Bess learns that the woman, Lydia, has run away from her home after an altercation with her husband. While Bess had planned to visit her own family during her leave, she agrees to accompany Lydia back home, to offer support for reconciling with her husband, Roger Ellis, and to monitor what, she fears, may be a concussion. Upon arrival, they find the family grieving the recent loss of Roger's brother and the still haunting loss of his young sister many years ago. Bess agrees to stay for a meal between the family and friends in anticipation for the laying of the memorial stone on the brother's grave the following morning. When one of the men, also in attendance at the meal, is found dead the next day, Bess finds herself as a suspect in the middle of a murder investigation.

    This is not a typical action driven story. The mother/son author team has crafted an intricate, character driven, English mystery, similar to those of author P.D. James. I appreciated the strong character development and the well-imagined relationship between families, strongly affected by the war. Sometimes, the drama between the characters seemed to verge on soap opera level, but I felt that the mystery was strong enough to overcome these slight faults. While fans of fast paced thrillers may find this a bit slow, I think those looking for strong characters and a believable mystery will enjoy this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A murder mystery set during WWI in London! A must read!

    Life is about to change for battlefield nurse, Betty Crawford on a dark and blustery night in London. When the police are searching for a deserter, Betty heads home to her flat alone. Yet on the stoop of her doorway is a woman, hiding and wearing a thin coat, trying to find temporary shelter from the storm. When Betty offers her a cup of tea and a respite from the weather for a few minutes, she sees that the woman's face bears a battered and bruise hand print along with endless tears down her face.

    Fearing the worst but don't wanting to frighten the poor woman, she learns that she is running from her husband, Roger Ellis. Not prone to violence against his wife, Bess learns that the woman's name is Lydia and offers her a place to stay. Lydia fears the worst could happen the longer she stays away and asks Betty to accompany her home to Vixen Hill.

    There Betty will meet the Ellis family of three generations of widows and meet the spirit of Julianna, who died a young girl and one whom the family can't seem to forget. Betty is talked into staying a few days to help care for Lydia and help her deal with issues involving her husband's jealousy. During her stay, the family is planning a memorial service to lay the headstone of one of the sons that was killed in the war. Only on the eve of the memorial service, one of the house guests George Hughes confides a deep family secret to Betty when neither of them can sleep. When the house awakens in the morning, George is soon discovered murdered and someone in the house is the prime suspect.

    I received the novel A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd compliments of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. It feels like a historical version of the game, Clue, as Bess Crawford attempts to solve the mystery surrounding the Ellis family secret and the murder of George Hughes. Set in London during the middle of World War 1, the mystery continues to grow as more and more people turn up missing or murdered as well. I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars and is perfect for you crime solving sleuth fans!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an exhilarating multilayered mystery

    In 1917, battlefield nurse Sister Bess Crawford leaves the front in France to spend Christmas with her family in Somerset, England. Bess stops at a London boarding house for the night with plans to complete the journey home the next day. Instead she finds a battered, cold and wet woman curled in a fetus like position at her door. She brings twentyish Lydia Ellis inside.

    The next morning Lydia tells Bess she is leaving her abusive husband Roger for hitting her. Lydia persuades Bess to come with her to her home Vixen Hill in Sussex so she can confront her spouse. At Vixen Hill, family friend George Hughes swears he saw a child in France who looked like Juliana, Roger's late sister who died as an infant. Everyone including Roger's mother and grandmother assume he sired a child while he was on the continent. Someone murders George with the police suspecting Lydia. Bess returns to France looking for the child and soon with the help of an Aussie finds Sophie who she brings to Sussex as another homicide occurs.

    The latest Bess Crawford WWI amateur sleuth (see An Impartial Witness) is an exhilarating multilayered mystery. Kindhearted Bess cannot stop herself from helping someone in need, a trait readers will admire. France and England seem geographically small considering the state of transportation in 1917 and especially since nothing is quiet on the western front as Bess runs into others too frequently. Still Team Todd once again provides the audience, as he does with the Inspector Rutledge police procedurals, a tale that deeply condemns war.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Trite

    It takes an inordinate amount of belief suspension to get through these novels, particularly this one. The plotting is amateur at best . This is my last Bess Crawford novel. The are advertised as being akin to the Maisie Dobbs books, but in my opinion they cant hold a candle to Jacqueline Winspear s meticulous plotting!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    A Bitter Truth

    It was nice to find an old fashion good read amongst all the poo out there. Strong authors crafting an interesting story without dumbing down language or relying on sex to hold the reader's attention...refreshing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Twist of Fate

    This Bess Crawford mystery, set during World War I, finds her on a short leave from the front, intending to spend the Christmas holidays with her parents. When she arrives at her apartment in London, she finds a young woman huddled on her doorstep, cold, hungry and distraught. In sympathy, Bess takes her up to her room and learns that she has run away from her husband and home because he has abused her, and her disfigured face is proof.

    From this improbable beginning, Bess becomes involved in a family’s secrets and along the way in a few murders, since she accompanies the young woman back to her home and family. The novel rambles on, as the plot unfolds and the police fumble in an effort solve one murder after another. Bess returns to France, only to be recalled by the police for additional inquiries.

    There are some excellent aspects to the novel, including insights into the lives of upper crust Britons of the period. But it appeared to this reader that to bring the plot to a conclusion, the mother-son author duo reached out to contrive a solution that has little if any foundation. Nevertheless, the book is an enjoyable read and is recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Kept me guessing....

    It took me a while to get through this book, which is unusual. It could be that three novels with Bess Crawford is too much when read in sequence. Bess frustrates me with her total immersion in strangers' lives. But i love her tenacity and spunk. Once i was able to keep the cast of characters straight, it got easier. I do love a mystery where you dont see the ending coming and that is certainly the case here. Well-written as always.
    ?...wjj

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    READ

    All young scientists go to "science" result one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    Bitter truth is this is another muddle mess

    Of ww i and author burn out and one unpleasant person and situation and am amused to see the very first review was as usual a five from our little cliff notes gal. borrowed and skipped scanned to last chapter. The reviewer who said the author seems to have a split persona is right what a difference between two series almost could be two authors

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Another winner

    Thank you team known as Charles Todd. I truly am enjoying this series and look forward to reading them all. An intelligent heroine with peek into the less delved into WWII era.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    definitely recommend

    I like the voice of Charles Todd. I think it's great that there is just a detective story and no unnecessary relationship stuff to hack through to get to the meat of the tale. Well done and I seem to always have a hard time figuring out who the culprit is.

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly recommend!

    I am a big fan of the Bess Crawford Series. She is such a noble
    and courageous nurse during the World War I
    I have read many of the series and will keep on reading them.
    Yea for Charles Todd!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    A waste of time.

    This was an inept attempt at a British murder mystery. The authors have no idea how our friends across the pond think or speak. The murderer was pulled out of a hat in the last few pages. We knew virtually nothing about him until the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    I thought this book was focused more on the relationship of two

    I thought this book was focused more on the relationship of two people than it was on solving a murder.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Another winner for CHARLES TODD

    This book is obviously intended to show us the fact that the first world war was just a harsh for those who were female as for the males. I like Bess Crawford very much because she doesn't feel sorry for herself.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Love this series.

    Love this series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Superb!

    Charles Todd once again creates a dramatic plot!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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