An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford Series #6)

An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford Series #6)

3.4 23
by Charles Todd, Rosalyn Landor

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World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch.

Arriving in London on leave, Bess Crawford receives an unusual summons from the War Office. She's to accompany a wounded soldier from a northern clinic, Sergeant Jason Wilkins, to Buckingham Palace. Confined to a wheelchair, the soldier

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World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch.

Arriving in London on leave, Bess Crawford receives an unusual summons from the War Office. She's to accompany a wounded soldier from a northern clinic, Sergeant Jason Wilkins, to Buckingham Palace. Confined to a wheelchair, the soldier will be in her care for barely a day. But the morning after the ceremony, Wilkins is missing. Bess is blamed for losing the war hero.

More disturbing news complicates her difficult situation! The Army considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions her when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man.

If Bess is to clear her name, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared yet again. Carefully questioning unhelpful villagers, Bess and her friend, Simon, follow a trail of clues across England. But will uncovering the truth and saving her honor put more innocent people in jeopardy?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Why would a decorated WWI veteran desert just after being honored by the king? That’s the question posed by Agatha-winner Todd’s absorbing sixth Bess Crawford whodunit (after 2013’s A Question of Honor). In the autumn of 1918, Bess, an experienced battlefield nurse, accompanies wounded Sgt. Jason Wilkins to Buckingham Palace, where he receives a medal from George V. After the ceremony, Bess agrees to let Wilkins have some time to himself to entertain friends, a choice she regrets after finding that he has bolted the London hotel where they were both staying. Given two week’s official leave for her perceived negligence, Bess is determined to track Wilkins down and ascertain why he used her in his scheme. The murder of a man in the north of England, with Wilkins the prime suspect, complicates her efforts. As usual, Todd (the mother-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd) effectively depicts the psychological effects of war, though the resolution doesn’t do justice to the opening puzzle. Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Tampa Tribune
“With every installment, Bess’ stature as a heroine to cherish soars.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Todd’s novels are known for compelling plotting with a thoughtful whodunit aspect, rich characterization, evocative prose, and haunting atmosphere.”
Stephanie Laurens
“Well-rounded, believable characters, a mutilayered plot solidly based on human nature, all authentically set in the England of 1917, make A Bitter Truth an outstanding and riveting read.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Praise for the Ian Rutledge series: “I love series that follow particular characters over time and through their experiences, so I automatically read the latest installments from ... Charles Todd.”
Washington Times
‘Todd has a sharp eye for scene and character, and he surrounds his leading lady with a lively cast.”
“An Unmarked Grave gives the reader everything they could wish for in a book.”
Booklist on An Impartial Witness
“A smartly plotted, well-told mystery.”
New York Times bestselling author Lee Child on the Ian Rutledge series
“A masterpiece of imagination.”
New York Times Book Review on AN UNMARKED GRAVE
Praise for An Unmarked Grave: “Vivid period mystery series.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch on AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE
“An intricate plot populated by superbly drawn characters, not least of whom is the captivating and courageous Bess. With seamless prose, “An Unwilling Accomplice” — like all of Todd’s work — offers a moving portrait of war’s physical and emotional devastation.”
“[AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE] truly surprises and takes the series to a whole new level of complexity.”
Iron Mountain Daily News on AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE
“With careful attention to such details and a gift for story telling, the Todd team has mastered the art of the historical mystery in the series set in the tragic days of the First World War.” on AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE
“Bess is a character with depth and complexity, an army nurse during that awful war, so, like that series, not only intricate mysteries but engrossing historical fiction.’
Library Journal
Is Bess Crawford an accomplice to military desertion and murder? In her sixth outing (after A Question of Honor), the World War I nurse is in trouble with the army and the police, and facing the possibility of being terminated from the nursing service. On leave in London, Bess gets a surprise request to accompany a wounded soldier, Sergeant Wilkins, to a ceremony at Buckingham Palace to receive a medal for bravery from the king. Wilkins is in Bess's charge for the event and through the night. But when morning comes, Wilkins has vanished. Bess, already facing an inquiry into whether she knowingly or through negligence aided a deserter, learns that the soldier has killed a man and again disappeared. With her reputation on the line and a possible murderer on the loose, Bess has no time to waste. VERDICT Todd's mystery is a puzzle that readers will enjoy trying to solve, but lead characters Bess and her friend Simon keep the pages turning. It is also very timely as people will doubtlessly be interested in World War I books since the centennial of the start of the war is this summer. Recommended for fans of cozies, historical fiction mysteries, and strong female sleuths. [See Prepub Alert, 2/10/14.]—Susan Moritz, Silver Spring, MD
Kirkus Reviews
A runaway soldier forces nursing sister Bess Crawford to find a killer and clear her name during World War I.Home from the battlefront on a three-day leave, Bess gets a puzzling assignment. Sgt. Jason Wilkins, a wounded soldier she doesn't know, asks her to push his wheelchair when he receives a medal from King George at Buckingham Palace. Nor can she figure out why Wilkins wants her, instead of an orderly, to attend him afterward. The reasons become clearer when he goes missing: An orderly would have stayed the night in his room, whereas Bess, for delicacy's sake, left him in privacy. Because of her accidental dereliction of duty to Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Services, Bess is given two weeks' leave, which she uses to search for Wilkins. While on his trail, she learns that he's now on the run because he's been accused of murdering a man. Sgt. Maj. Simon Brandon, former personal servant to Bess' father, insists on accompanying her in her quest to learn whether Wilkins is masquerading as a wounded major who tends to wander and shoot at people because he thinks he's escaping from the Germans. Bess isn't sure whether the major is Wilkins, who also had a head wound and was so heavily bandaged—more bandaged than he needed to be—that Bess never got a good look at his face. A third veteran on the loose and the human dramas she encounters along the way add to Bess' challenges in finding Wilkins and absolving herself of unwitting complicity in the murder. Bess' sixth case recycles two motifs from her fifth (A Question of Honor, 2013): confused identity and blighted honor. Despite all the convenient happenstance and all the wounded veterans roaming the English countryside, Bess' courage and determination triumph over all.

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Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Bess Crawford Series, #6
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An Unwilling Accomplice 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Charles Todd does it again. Sister Crawford, on assignment to escort a patient to receive a medal from the king, is caught in a tangled web when the patient vanishes. She and Simon set off to find the patient when he is a accused of murder. Bess also needs to restore her own reputation when she is implicated as an accessory. This book keeps you guessing to the end!
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
The newest entry in the Bess Crawford series follows a familiar path, Bess being a British nurse on the French front during World War I, the daughter of Colonel sahib whose orderly, Simon, is both protector of and participant in her escapades. In this, the sixth novel in the series, Simon and Bess occupy most of the plot as they chase an Army deserter whose disappearance has not only embarrassed her as he escaped from her charge, but nearly cost her her lilywhite reputation and being drummed out of the service. It all begins when Sgt. Wilkins is to receive a hero’s medal from King George and he asks Bess to accompany him to Buckingham Palace pushing his wheelchair. Upon returning to the hotel afterward, he leaves the premises, leaving Bess to take the blame for failing to perform her duty properly. Thus begins a chase in an attempt to salvage her reputation. The plot is really overly complicated, with too many characters. As a result, the reader is forced to follow too many sub-plots and is confused with various characters that contribute little to moving the story forward. The picture of the trenches and the hardships on the Western Front, as in previous entries in the series, are vividly told, but unlike previous novels little is portrayed on the home front
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
The Bess Crawford series provides interesting glimpses into England during WWI, but of course, I prefer the Ian Rutledge series. Bess is a nursing Sister who is stationed primarily in France, but she returns home to England for leave and to solve a mystery, along with Simon Brandon. Simon and Bess act like siblings, and the reader wonders if this relationship will ever develop further. The characters are well developed, but the setting reigns supreme in these novels. The reader can almost smell and fell the English countryside. The plot follows the same pattern in every novel, and Simon's car plays a huge role in the novel, as well as all the inns in which Simon and Bess spend a night. Sometimes the actions seem a little unrealistic, but still an intriguing story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little slow. Not as fast paced as previous books in this series. Still enjoyed it since I am a retired nurse and the WW 1 time frame makes it interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although in spots it seemed a bit draggy and near the end I felt it should "end already" it was a good story, well written, with nicely developed characters. It was reminiscent of Jacquelin Winspears' 'Maisie Dobbs' but with the characters having enough of their own personality traits to make the story theirs - I will definatly keep trying to acquire the others in the series and see how they turn out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does move a bit slowly, with sometimes too long dialogue about things tangential to the main thread of the mystery.  Overall, not too bad, but not as good as other Todd mysteries in this and other series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrotherDoc More than 1 year ago
Nurse Bess Crawford is once again mostly far away from France and the trenches in this book. We get the usual pleasing details of WWI-era English life that typify the Charles Todd books. Bess's ally, her father's subaltern, Simon Brandon, plays a larger role here than in earlier installments in this series. Simon has a car (which needs to be cranked to start, as we are reminded virtually every time they drive) and that's good because the story takes them to several obscure parts of the English countryside looking for Bess's charge, a wounded soldier decorated by the King and then disappearing. The twists of plot and rather slow narrative pace, more repetition than necessary, and a somewhat confusing ending, make this one of the less captivating books in the series. But if you enjoy reading the mother-and-son writing team that is Charles Todd, as I do, you will find the book quite satisfactory and right in line with expectations. I'd give it 3.5 stars if that were possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my Nook months ago and still haven't finished it. I have liked the Inspector Rutledge books by Charles Todd; but this Bess Crawford book is slower than slow, almost pointless. The characters lack depth and the plot isn't interesting. Only the English countryside is well written... and that rambles all over England. Quite disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
When I'm reading a really good book, I want to race though it, but I take out to make it last longer. When I'm reading an exceptional book, time-outs be damned! I'm reading this through ASPS! This is a marvelous immersion into WWI England. The physical and mental realities. It offers the familiar engaging characters with an intriguing bunch of secondary people. Read it. All of them.
joyhawk99 More than 1 year ago
I was a big fan of Bess Crawford books, but the last 2 have been quite disappointing. Lots of travel and searching for a ho-hum solution. The authors need to create more excitement. Perhaps a lover for Bess? I will stick to her Ian Rutledge novels in the meantime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Angst and poor plotting and tedious heroine
bethsci More than 1 year ago
I love both series by Charles Todd. I eagerly await each installment. Each book tells an interesting story set in an historical background. I can't wait for the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed in Bess in this book. Too many characters, too much driving, too long!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually love the Bess Crawford Series by Charles Todd but was very disappointed in this book. Bess is assigned to a young soldier to receive a high medal from the King. She returns him to his hotel room and is told by the soldier that he is meeting friends. Bess has dinner with Simon and finds out the next day that the soldier has disappeared. Bess and Simon drive the country side trying to find him and encounters other characters and soldiers. Too many characters to keep track of and too much driving from place to place. Not the usual writing from this mother and son team. It seems that they got lost in the driving from place to place. Even the ending didn't make sense. Not up to their usual writing..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago