A Question of Honor (Bess Crawford Series #5)

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Overview

World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that leaves her pondering a troubling question: How can facts lie?

In 1908, when a young Bess Crawford lived in India, an unforgettable incident darkened the otherwise happy time. Her father's regiment discovered it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people yet was never brought to trial.

A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battle-fields...

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Overview

World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that leaves her pondering a troubling question: How can facts lie?

In 1908, when a young Bess Crawford lived in India, an unforgettable incident darkened the otherwise happy time. Her father's regiment discovered it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people yet was never brought to trial.

A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battle-fields of France during World War I, Bess learns from a dying man that the supposed murderer, Lieutenant Wade, is alive—and serving at the Front. According to reliable reports, he'd died years before, so how did Wade escape India? What drove a good man to murder in cold blood?

Bess uses her leave to investigate. But when she stumbles on the horrific truth, she is shaken to her very core. The facts reveal a brutal reality, a reality that could have been her own fate.

Winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Todd (the pseudonym of a mother-and-son writing team) once again demonstrates his talent at depicting the horrors of war in his excellent fifth mystery featuring English nurse Bess Crawford (after 2012’s An Unmarked Grave). As the carnage of WWI finally nears its end, Bess finds herself investigating murders committed a decade earlier on two different continents. In 1908, Bess was living in India with her parents when a member of her father’s regiment, Lt. Thomas Wade, came under suspicion of killing his parents. But before he could be apprehended, Wade vanished near the Khyber Pass. Although no body was recovered, he was presumed dead. While Bess is serving in France in 1918, the last words of a dying soldier persuade her that Wade might have survived. Her innate curiosity and knowledge of how traumatizing the scandal was to her father lead her to again play sleuth. In the process, she also examines the triple murder of an entire family that Wade may have committed in England before leaving for India. The extremely clever plot builds to a satisfying resolution. Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Library Journal
09/01/2013
When Bess learns that an earlier crime committed in India involves her father, she must grapple with disturbing truths. Number five in this series (after the award-winning An Unmarked Grave) for the mother/son writing duo.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062278487
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: Bess Crawford Series , #5
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 347,907
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

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Read an Excerpt

A Question of Honor


By Charles Todd

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Charles Todd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-223715-6


17
Chapter One
England, Summer 1918
The afternoon sun was warm on my face as I stepped out
the door of Rudyard Kipling's house in East Sussex. Simon Bran-
don, his expression unreadable, followed me, pulling the door shut
behind him.
I wasn't sure why he wasn't his usual steady self.
As we turned to walk together around the house, toward the
back lawns and the stream and water meadows beyond, I said, refer-
ring to our host, “He's still grieving. Poor man.”
As soon as war broke out in 1914, Rudyard Kipling had urged his
only son to join the Army. Jack had been killed at Loos barely a year
later. His body had never been recovered. He'd been eighteen, still a
boy.
“I remember Jack,” I went on. “Once or twice he visited Melinda
when I was there.”
“You can't find a house in England that isn't grieving. We've lost
a generation, Bess. The best we have.”
I knew that all too well. I'd watched so many men die.
“Mr. Kipling is going to be on the Graves Commission. It's fit-
ting, don't you think?”

Charles Todd
18
“He'll know what words to put on the monuments,” Simon an-
swered. “That will matter.”
Melinda Crawford had asked Simon to drive her down to Bate-
man's to call on Mr. Kipling. Worried about him, she made a point
of regular visits. But this time her driver was suffering from a bout
of malaria. Just home from France on a brief leave, I'd decided to
come with them. I hadn't been to Kent in some time—it was where
Melinda lived—and on the long drive down to East Sussex we'd en-
joyed each other's company.
As we rounded the house and walked on to the gardens Simon
commented, as if it had been on his mind most of the day, “She's
talking about returning to India.” I didn't need to ask who she was.
“Once the war is over. She wants me to take her there.”
Surprised, I stopped, staring down at the reflection of the
summer sky in the quiet surface of the pools. “Is that a good idea?
It's such a long journey at her age.”
Simon was looking back at the house. “I don't know.” I'd always
had a feeling that Simon didn't want to return there. If anyone could
persuade him, it was Melinda.
Her father, like mine, had been an officer in the Army, and she
had grown up in India, just as I had, although of course decades
apart. Indeed she had been something of a heroine as a child during
the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857, for she and her mother had been
caught in the dreadful Siege of Lucknow. She had married another
officer stationed out there and later lost him to cholera. Afterward,
alone but for her Indian servants, she'd traveled the world while she
grieved.
I turned to look too, thinking as I had on other visits how really
beautiful the Kipling house was. Someone moved past one of the
upstairs windows, and I waved.
Mr. Kipling had told Melinda that it was love at first sight when
he came to Bateman's. Born in India of British parents, he'd finally
settled in England. The house couldn't be more different from those

A Question of Honor
19
in Bombay or Delhi or even Simla. Like Melinda Crawford, he'd put
down roots in this cooler climate, but a part of his heart was still in
the East. It showed most clearly in his writing.
“Perhaps she wants to visit her husband's grave again,” I sug-
gested as we walked on. “Surely most of the people she knew are
long since dead as well.”
“It's possible.”
I watched fluffy summer clouds drifting across the pool, almost
as real as the ones in the sky above us. Then we walked on in a
companionable silence, taking the path through the copse that led
toward the high grass of the meadow. The hem of my skirt caught
on the dry stalk of a spring wildflower, and Simon bent to set it free.
“Do you want to go back?” I asked him, curious. “To India, I
mean.”
“I don't know,” he said again.
We paused on the bridge over the stream, looking down at the
slow-moving water below. The sound of it passing over the stones in
the streambed was a soothing murmur. But I could sense the ten-
sion in the man beside me.
I didn't press. Whatever Simon had left behind in India, he had
never spoken to me about it. I wondered sometimes if my mother
knew. Simon was devoted to her, and I'd always had a feeling that
something had happened to him in India before my father's regi-
ment had been sent home from that last posting. It would explain
why he was in her debt.
At the time, I'd been considered too young to be included in
family secrets, but had Melinda known? Was that why she wished to
return to India? For Simon's sake—as well as her own?
Changing the subject, I said lightly, “I haven't had a chance to
ask. Are you well enough to return to duty?”
Neither my mother nor I knew what services my father, the
Colonel Sahib, and Simon Brandon performed for the Army. Expe-
rienced men, both of them, they would disappear for a day or a week

Charles Todd
20
without explanation. It often had to do with training and some-
times went well beyond training. I was certain that Simon had gone
behind enemy lines more than once, but I'd said nothing to anyone
about that.
Simon smiled. “I've been told I'm sound as a bell.”
I was glad for his sake, but I was also worried. The war was cer-
tain to end before very long—the arrival of the American forces
under General Pershing was helping turn the tide at last—but until
it did, Simon would be in the thick
(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Question of Honor by Charles Todd. Copyright © 2013 Charles Todd. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(48)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Another great book in this excellent series

    One of the best historical mystery series going. I was already reading Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge series, so immediately bought the first in this one. Bess Crawford, a British nurse serving in France and England in WWI, is faced with mysteries as well as the influx of soldiers wounded in the trenches. This book is as good as the first five. Already impatient for publication of #6!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Good read

    I bought this bookfrom the 2.99 and under section without realizing it was part of a series. I was able to follow it without a problem without reading the books preceding it. The story is good and holds your attention. The characters are believeable and likeable. The only thing that bothered me is how lucky Bess is! People seem to just pop up right in front of her! Out of all the people in England, the people she needs to find just happen to show up without her even looking for them most of the time! All in all though, great book and i will read the next in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2013

    This is a very well written series. I am impressed with how it i

    This is a very well written series. I am impressed with how it immerses the reader in the world of WWI.
    Bess and her family and friends are admirable people. But, they have their failings, too.
    The flashback to 10 years earlier works well. The intensity of the need for regimental honor at all cost is quite clear. This is something people today have much less experience about. For them, at that time, it was black or white.
    Bess' whole family (plus Simon) are interesting and likeable.
    I keep wondering what, if anything, will develop between Bess and Simon. With the chaos of the war I think people either got "serious" very quickly, thinking tomorrow might not come, or held themselves "in check", figuring it was unrealistic to get involved when there was so much uncertainty.
    The part about the service children living away from their families with people in England was very touching. It was such an unpredictable thing, placing ones children with strangers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Wolfpet

    Kkk

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Not recommended by me

    Just a little boring - jumps around way too much. It's easy for me to put that one down - I like reads that are hard to put down.
    But then, different folks have different tastes

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Does anyone know...

    Why I can't go to certain results? I tried to go to Celestialclan at 'soaring high', but my NOOK won't bring up any results. Why is this happening?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Excellent series!

    Have enjoyed all of the Bess Crawford books written by Charles Todd.
    Excellent writing style, and the storyline keeps you interested from cover to cover.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    A really late answer by red

    The answer is that it pushes the human boundary of exelence and knowledge as so is its counterpart why not. Why not is the way of saying yolo while pushing the human boundery unlike saying yolo which just means that you will do something stupid like jumping off a cliff. Mythbusters uses the term why not even if they arent actually saying it directly they push themselves to do the very best they can which is exactly like saying why or why not. Why don't we just abandon rp? Because we feel like we have a special connection with it and it may be the only way we can express ourselves. Now sure there might be the people that want nook s** and there are 10 year olds on this but the important part is that they are showing themselves and what I knew was that roleplay was a way to express ourselves and those people are doing exactly that so why are they being put down for just being themselves. I mean there are people that are 13 and doing it and if they did it in real life then they'ed be... well I think you know. Why do people fight? Because they have some sort of drive, mabye they hate the other person, mabye they want to get physically stronger. Why is there war? Why don't we make a cannon out of leather. Why is there a human existence? Sometimes people don't know, sometimes people think that they are just killing machines just made to destroy each other and every thing around them. Why is art created even if people will critisize it. Why did van gogh create art even thought every one hated it? Why do only a couple of us become well known and famous while the rest of us just be your average joe just every day being the same as your last. Where is every ones drive these days where is every ones flare. Why don't any of us push beyond our boundaries? do we have our parents in the way? Siblings? Ourselves? Come on people I try to make rp alive but all of us quiting is making it harder. Now sure I have been away for long increments of time but have I ever given up on rp? No I just get back up when my parents take it away. So there is actually no answer to why if you don't put it in context. Thank you for reading

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Answer

    Who relly gives a crap?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Merry

    Im here at this particular book posting in the evening of June 12 so i can win. Its a challenge that im willing to take. I just want to. (Merry)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    From Excellencekit to OMG / Smarties

    Why don't we talk at h2h res one? I can attempt to answer your questions (I really enjoy it).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Alec

    Because.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    TO DANEICA

    EEEEEW!!!
    YOU ARE SO DISGUISTING.




    FROM
    A NON INNAPPROPRIATE PERSON

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Samael

    For whatever reason respective to a particular situation that outlines a proper explanation. ^_^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    AnnaBeth

    "Because God told me to play soccer and a back handspring while kicking the ball to amaze you."///"You can't come over. Why? Mom says I have to break my arm before you can and i am not doing it."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Kelsey's answer to the question

    Because that's how it is. Why? Because we choose to. Why? Because we want to. Why? Because we are living beings with souls and hearts. Why? Because we choose to make it so. <br>The question is, why? The question has googleplex and one answers. If you just walked up to every person and asked them, "Why?" they might give you five hundred different answers to the same question based on their current thoughts. <br> The question why is virtually unanwerable. It's like social studies, where there can be fifty different answers to the same question. <br> So I now conclude that why has an answer, but it is one of many. The answer is the question itself. <br> Why?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Saphore

    This is too easy. Why? God created this world. How? Well why did matter start forming? Why was there an explosion? Why is there light? All because God commanded it. Why do we have candy? Because God created sugar canes. And evil stuff, well thats just good stuff twisted. Like how ppl take s** today. Ghey take ot for horrible stuff but back then, it was for kids. It was so the world could be filled with people. So the answer is quite easy. God. He commanded the earth to be made, the stars to start nuclear fussion. (Oh and you can answer a question without Because in it. Like you could ask 'why did you eat candy' and you could answer ' i was hungary'. Its not nessescary for the because.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Percy

    "Why is the question of all questions. Everything is questioned with 'why?' Like, why did I watch a scary movie? Because I wanted to. Why is the word that makes the human race advance in its knowledge. Now may I ask, why did you ask? :3"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    To the question

    People have thier beliefs. Go greeks gods whatever. But why. Because thats who they are. Why? Becuse thats what they want to do. Why? Because thatsvwho they are. Why? Because thats them thank you. Thats why? But why? ~ lily

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Lizzie's answer

    Why? The most common answer: because I said so. But I do not like this answer. My response: because. Just because. Why do I like candy? BECAUSE it is delicious. Why do I play viola? BECAUSE it is fun. Why do we exsist? BECAUSE we need to do something with our lives. We could change the world. According to this theory, every question including 'why' can be answered with 'because'. Test it. It's true. So my answer: because.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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