An Unmarked Grave (Bess Crawford Series #4)

An Unmarked Grave (Bess Crawford Series #4)

by Charles Todd

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Overview

“A wonderful new mystery series that will let us see the horrors of World War I through the eyes of Bess Crawford, battlefield nurse.”
—Margaret Maron

“Readers who can’t get enough of Jacqueline Winspear’s novels, or Hester Latterly, who saw action in the Crimean War in a series of novels by Anne Perry, are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
New York Times Book Review

The critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of the Ian Rutledge mystery series, Charles Todd once again spotlights World War I nurse Bess Crawford in An Unmarked Grave. Gripping, powerful, and evocative, this superb mystery masterwork unfolds during the deadly Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, as Bess discovers the body of a murdered British officer among the many dead and sets out to unmask a craven killer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062015730
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/02/2013
Series: Bess Crawford Series , #4
Pages: 262
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. Among the honors accorded to the Ian Rutledge mysteries are the Barry Award and nominations for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s Dilys Award, the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the U.S., and the John Creasey Award in the UK. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

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An Unmarked Grave: A Bess Crawford Mystery 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received An Unmarked Grave from a free goodreads giveaway. I really enjoyed this book. Nurse Bess Crawford discovers the body of an officer that had been murdered and left in a shed among the bodies of Spanish flu victims and war casualties to be buried. The officer was a member of her father's regiment and a family friend. Before Bess can notify anyone, she collapses from the flu infection. When Bess finally recovers, she learns that the orderly who brought the murdered officer to her attention had committed suicide. The story follows Bess trying to piece together what really happened to the officer, the orderly and others who have crossed path with the murderer. Between the war going on, the flu epidemic and a murderer on the loose, An Umarked Grave is an exciting mystery.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I recently had a patron ask if I knew of a good historical mystery series for her. She was older, and said she liked stories set in the war years such as Charles Todd's Bess Crawford books. (which she highly recommended) Well, I did indeed have a series for her, but although I was familiar with Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge series, I had never read one of the Bess Crawford books. Her recommendation resulted in me picking up the latest installment of this series - An Unmarked Grave. Bess Crawford is a World War I nurse. 1918 finds her at the front lines in France, with war casualties and the Spanish influenza contributing equally to the dead waiting to be buried. But when an orderly points out a body to Bess that isn't wrapped right, she is shocked to find she recognizes the man from her father's regiment. It wasn't the flu or war that killed him - she suspects foul play. But exhausted and physically worn down, she falls prey to the flu herself before she can report what she thinks might be murder. Back in England she does advise her father of her suspicions. But the body is long buried. Did she imagine what she saw? Or is there a murderer in the ranks? Bess is determined to find the answer and wants to return to France. Todd's writing brought this time period to life. The dialogue, social mores and expectations of the time were wonderfully depicted, creating a strong sense of atmosphere. Bess is such a great character - kind, dutiful, compassionate, strong, determined and intelligent. All of the characters were equally well drawn and just as engaging. I liked the idea of a woman being the sleuth in this time period, when men were the traditional 'leaders'. Bess is more than up to the task. The plotting is good, slowly unravelling over time. This is a gentler mystery, meant to be savoured and enjoyed. I choose to listen to A Unmarked Grave. The reader was Audie award winner Rosalyn Landor. She has a wonderfully rich, crisp British accent that perfectly suited the mental image I had of Bess. She portrayed all of the characters just as well. Most of the other characters were male and Landor came up with believable voices for them. Bess's father had a nice, gruff, regimental tone. The 'yank' soldier's voice was spot on as well. Her voice added much to the overall feel of the book, conveying emotion and setting easily. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be picking up another in this series. Fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs character would enjoy this series. (This was my recommendation to my patron)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I appreciated very much that this book had no profanity or four-letter words, and was written in an educated literary, rather than slangy, style. It also provided specifics about how the war and flu affected people at that time. But it was more a romance than a mystery. It seemed like all the men fell in love with the heroine, and too much of the plot relied on coincidences and contrivances to explain the what, why, and how of the mystery.
Paperback_Princess More than 1 year ago
You know how when you watch a movie trailer, you know the entire plot of the movie from those three minutes? And you know how sometimes that can happen with book synopses? It didn't happen with this book. Honestly, the synopses covers the first 3 chapters at best, and I kinda loved that because I had no idea what to expect from this book. As far as historical time periods go, I do love the Tudors, but the World War One/World War Two era is also a favorite of mine. I also liked that it combined my a lot of my favorites: accurate historical fiction, plagues, mystery and action. I liked that Bess was on practically on the battlefield during several scenes, including one where she saw the gas coming for them, and she rushed to put on her mask and cover her skin. If you noticed at the top, this book is part of a series and is in fact the fourth book in her adventures. I was a little confused at some points because certain people or facts weren't explained, probably because they were explained in earlier installments. Nothing really hindered the understanding of the story, it was mostly little things that were pre-established that I already missed. The plot was pretty intense with lots of action and some romance which I liked. I feel like most books will contain some kind of romantic undercurrent, and while this one did, it was a lot more subtle than other books are about it. Bess wasn't asking for any kind of romantic come ons, and there hardly were any. I did like that the men in this book were gentlemen - men need to go back to this chivalry and being a gentleman. Even though this book wasn't really about the Spanish Influenza, I didn't feel cheated at all. I still loved the plot of this book because it followed a headstrong woman who ordinarily would have been shoved out of the equation, but she didn't let herself be bullied and I loved it. I think even though I've read book 4, I'll go back and read them from the beginning again.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
France, Spring, 1918 I stopped just outside the ward and leaned my head against the cool wood of the doorframe. I couldn't remember when last I'd slept, or, for that matter, eaten anything more than a few biscuits now and again with a hasty cup of tea. The Spanish Influenza had already cut down three of our nursing sisters, and two doctors were not expected to live through the night. The rest of us were struggling to keep men alive in the crowded wards and losing the battle hourly. Depressing to watch the bodies being carried out, one more soldier lost to an enemy we couldn't even see. It was an insidious killer, this influenza. I'd watched men in the best of healthy in the afternoon gasping for breath by the next morning, tossing with fever, lying too ill to speak, then fighting to draw a next breath. I'd watched nurses and orderlies work with patients for days on end without showing a single sign of illness, only to collapse unexpectedly and join the ranks of the dying. The young were particularly vulnerable. On the other hand, Private Wilson, close to forty, seemed to be spared, even though he handled the dead, gently wrapping them in their soiled sheets and carrying them out to await interment. The shed just beyond the wards was filled with bodies, sometimes tacked like lumber. The burial details couldn't keep up. And those men too were dying. (pg 1-2). In the latest novel from Charles Todd, An Unmarked Grave takes readers back to the chilling period of time as WW1 was just beginning while the Spanish Influenza was taking lives faster than the war wounded. Some wondered if there would be anyone left to fight the war. As Private Wilson is taking count of the bodies in the shed, separating the war dead from those that the illness had claimed, he noticed one extra body. Taking care to avoid any extra attention he notifies, Nurse Bess Crawford to follow him to the shed. When he shows her the extra body, she realizes who it is. Major Vincent Carlson, and the wounds on his body are neither from the war or from the illness. He has been murdered. When she attempts to contact Matron, the head nurse in charge of the facility, Bess herself finds she has succumbed to the Spanish Influenza as well and before she is able to tell anyone, she faints into a fever that may take her very life. Nurse Bess Crawford does recover but she begins to wonder if the body she discovered was a dream or did it really happen. All she knows is she needs to get better as soon as she can and begin to uncover what could be a murder, but how will she find the body of the Major in an unmarked grave? I received An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd compliments of TLC Book Tours and William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. After reading previous novels by Charles Todd a year ago, I feel in love with his unique ability to draw the reader into his book immediately. This is my third book from him and my second in the Bess Crawford mystery series. I love having a woman character like Bess who represents a vulnerability in her character while matching wits much like Sherlock Holmes. Add to that element a bit of history and you have the blending of a perfect suspense mystery. So it's easy to see why I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to read more from him in the future and once again, this novel has found a forever home in my personal library.
Perednia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Intrepid Bess Crawford is just behind the trenches in wartorn France, tending to the wounded, when the Spanish Influenza strikes in the spring of 1918. In the mdist of the chaos, an orderly notices something wrong with one of the many bodies. He didn't die of war wounds or the flu. His neck was broken.The orderly informs Bess as someone he trusts. She promises to alert the proper people. She promises not only because she trusts the kindly older man who is the orderly and sees for herself that the dead man was murdered, but also because the victim was a family friend who served in her father's regiment.But before she can get anywhere, the flu strikes her as well. In the near-fairytale atmosphere in which Bess Crawford exists, she is spirited out of France and convalesces back home as strings are pulled. For Bess Crawford has connections, most importantly her father, the Colonel Sahib.This imposing figure and dearest family friend Simon are full-fledged confidants as she pieces together bits of information and visits various figures connected to the victim. These figures are representative of various strata in Britain's WWI class system, and as such provide a fascinating picture of people carrying on while the Great War goes on and on and on. Although Bess initially isn't quite believed, it's soon evident that the orderly, who died soon after she was taken ill, showed her something important.Before long, more people connected with the investigation die. Bess knows the killer will target her, but her sense of duty demands that she continue. And if that means she has to take along with her a brash American officer recovering from his war wounds, that's what she will do. Even if he and Simon don't exactly take to each other. The killer gets closer and closer to Bess and her inner circle before the end, which is a classic case of the sleuth figuring it all out in the nick of time.The world for Bess that the Todds have created is a genuine homage to the World War I era. The violence is off-screen, the characters do not directly express their feelings for each other (really, how thick are Bess and Simon to not have figured that out?) and duty reigns supreme, the plot unfolds in true tricky Agatha Christie style. The series also has other aspects of the historical era it depicts. There is no irony or nod to modern sensibility in Bess calling her father the Colonel Sahib. Women and lower class folk are expected to know their place. In one of the poignant stories told during the unveiling of the plot, a widower father who has lost several sons to the war doesn't understand why the widow of one of them won't come work the farm. Her son would grow up in fresh air but the workload would obviously kill her.Downton Abbey fans would be well served by reading the Bess Crawford novels while waiting for a new season. Fans of Inspector Rutledge, the first series character brought to life by the Todds, will find a lighter version of the tone in that post-war series.
BrokenTeepee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth book in the Bess Crawford mystery series but the first of the books that I have read. Often when one picks up in the midst of a run like this the author explains the protagonist's past and relationships so the reader can understand what is going on with the characters. In this the writing team for An Unmarked Grave fell short for me. I felt at times as if I was foundering within the tale trying to sort out who was what to whom. It all eventually mostly made sense but it left me, at times, feeling lost. That being said, I did enjoy the book and would pick up another Bess Crawford mystery - probably the first few to get caught up on who is who and what is what.In this tale Bess, a nursing sister is in France at the front working endless hours with the wounded. Things are getting decidedly worse as the Spanish influenza epidemic is afflicting the wounded and the doctors and nurses without discretion. Just as Bess learns of the murder of a family friend she comes down with the flu and is thought to be at death's door. She is whisked away home to England though the influence of her father, Colonel Crawford.Bess slowly recovers but remembers the dead man. When she starts asking questions - did it happen or was it a dream she learns that the private who brought him to her attention is also dead. He committed suicide; or did he?The books moves along at a slow, steady pace which is rather odd for a suspense book. Bess goes about investigating who might be killing people willy-nilly and why. People move about through the auspices of Colonel Crawford and his mysterious role in the government and Bess seems acquainted with just about everyone in both countries. Despite these contrivances I did find the book enjoyable. It was an easy read and Bess is a likable character. I can't figure out, though if she's a nun or the nurses are just called Sister. She seems to have men quite interested in her and she shows some interest in one man so that has confused me....
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd is the 4th book in the Bess Crawford mystery series. Last year I read and enjoyed the previous book in the series, A Bitter Truth, and I am pleased to say that this book did not disappoint. I enjoyed it just as much.The book begins with Bess Crawford in France, struggling to help soldiers stricken by the Spanish flu in spring 1918. A soldier approaches Bess because he believes he has found a murdered man's body mixed in among the influenza victims, and he wants to have another witness to the crime. Unfortunately Bess falls ill with the flu herself before she can do anything to help, or even report the crime. When Bess recovers she remembers what happened and she tries to solve the mystery and catch the murderer, assisted by her father and her friend Simon, and other friends she meets along the way. As usual she has a lot of adventures, which give the book a bit of excitement and faster pace. I did find it a little unrealistic that one battlefield nurse would have so many friends in high places and be involved in this much excitement. But I suspended disbelief and went along with the plot, and very much enjoyed myself. I love all the characters in this series and look forward to reading more adventures of Bess Crawford.Highly recommended for fans of the series. If this is your first Bess Crawford novel, you could start here if you wish. There is enough background information given for those who haven't read the earlier books.(I received this book through Amazon's Vine Program.)
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bess Crawford is busy fighting the Spanish flu and the masses of wounded soldiers that constantly arrive in the French battlefield. An orderly shows Bess a dead soldier who appears to have been strangled. Before Bess can bring the matter to the attention of the authorities, she falls ill with the flu. Many events delay or cloud the murder. The orderly is found hanging and ruled as a suicide. Bess must enlist the assistance of her father. The story takes many twists and turns in France and England. The story is intriguing with the threats of spies and danger. I felt the writing in this novel is better than prior Bess Crawford novels.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bess Crawford is again thrust into mystery and intrigue when an orderly shows her an extra, unauthorized body in with the dead, a man she recognizes. Soon potential witnesses are being murdered, and Bess finds herself in grave danger as she tries to sort out the tangle.Well written and unsettling.
readafew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to say that An Unmarked Grave is my favorite Charles Todd book I¿ve read so far. I read two of the Inspector Rutledge books and now two Bess Crawford mysteries. Both the Bess Crawford mysteries I¿ve read take place during WWI and Bess is a nursing sister.This one takes place when the Spanish flu is ravaging most of the continent. Soldiers on both sides have almost as many casualties from the flu as enemy weapons. Sister Crawford is spending much of her time nursing the sick and dying. After one of her patients die, Private Wilson asks her to accompany him to the shed where the dead are stored, waiting for the burial detail to arrive. She grudgingly complies, since what she really needs is some rest. What Private Wilson shows her at first doesn¿t register, but then the import hits her hard, the body he wanted her to see was not a patient suffering from a wound or the flu. It appeared the only physical problem was a broken neck. The uniform had been removed and a quick job of wrapping the body had been made. It spelled murder, to make matters worse, Bess recognized him as one of her father's officers. While waiting for her superior to awaken from her much needed rest Bess succumbed to the flu, and almost to the final embrace.After finally recovering back in England, Bess recalls a strange and vivid dream about finding a friend murdered among the dead. At first that is all she thinks it is, but eventually she decides it was otherwise. Then she finds out that Private Wilson has hanged himself, the same night Bess fell ill. Bess can¿t believe it, so she sets out to discover the truth about it all.As I mentioned before, I thought this was an excellent book and well worth a read for those who like English mysteries. Bess is full of spunk and very calm under stress. She seem to break the hearts of many of her patients too. Each book she seems to add at least one more admirer the list.
MonicaSessoms on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received An Unmarked Grave from a free goodreads giveaway. I really enjoyed this book. Nurse Bess Crawford discovers the body of an officer that had been murdered and left in a shed among the bodies of Spanish flu victims and war casualties to be buried. The officer was a member of her father's regiment and a family friend. Before Bess can notify anyone, she collapses from the flu infection. When Bess finally recovers, she learns that the orderly who brought the murdered officer to her attention had committed suicide. The story follows Bess trying to piece together what really happened to the officer, the orderly and others who have crossed path with the murderer. Between the war going on, the flu epidemic and a murderer on the loose, An Umarked Grave is an exciting mystery.
cathyskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First Line: I stopped just outside the ward and leaned my head against the cool wood of the doorframe.It's the spring of 1918. Not only are Bess Crawford and all the other nurses and doctors having to contend with an unending stream of wounded men from the front lines in France, they have to battle another killer: the Spanish Influenza.A trusted orderly takes Bess to the area in which the dead are kept before they taken out for burial, and he shows her that there is one more dead soldier than there should be. After checking the records and looking at the man's body, it becomes clear to Bess that this man (a friend of the family) has been murdered, but before she can tell the commanding officer of her suspicions, she falls victim to the flu and is taken to England to recuperate.When she is strong enough to return to duty, she keeps her promise to the orderly and informs her father, the "Colonel Sahib," of what happened, but there's not much that can be done. The soldier's body has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body-- the orderly-- has hanged himself.Bess knows that something's just not right, that someone believed "one unmarked grave more or less wouldn't be noticed," so she begins to piece together what little information and evidence she can. But when another nurse dies, and someone very nearly succeeds in killing Bess herself, she knows that she somehow has to stay safe from this very determined killer so justice can be done.This series continues to get stronger-- especially when the books (like this one) have so many scenes in the war zone in France. Battle not only shows Bess at work, it heightens the feeling of danger. The writing duo of Caroline and Charles Todd ratchet up the danger and suspense even further with the killer who seems to see all, know all, and be everywhere at once. Bess isn't safe, and neither is anyone who tries to help her.I came nowhere close to deducing the killer's identity, and I actually breathed a sigh of relief when the capture was signed, sealed and delivered. The series is also hinting rather strongly at possible romance in Bess's future. Possible, that is, if Bess ever realizes what's right under her nose!If you have yet to read any of these Bess Crawford mysteries, give this one a try. It stands very well on its own, but don't be surprised if you want to go back and read the others once you've finished An Unmarked Grave. I also highly recommend this series for any readers who are fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series or Suzanne Arruda's Jade del Cameron books.
llh0803 More than 1 year ago
Out of all the Bess Crawford books this one is in the top two for me. The character development for Bess in this book was wonderful, and we got so much more of Simon which is always welcome. The mystery had so many twists, turns, and red herrings it kept me from putting the book down; however I did feel like the author perhaps wrote himself into an ending that didn't quite make sense. No book is perfect and this book has so many other great qualities that I can overlook the slight clumsiness in the solving of murders. Bess is such an intriguing character and I love her sense of duty to nursing.
SunnySJ More than 1 year ago
I enjoy the era around Word War I allowing my imagination to develop the background for Bess and Simon to investigate the crimes they stumble into.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Charles Todd's Bess Crawford is well worth reading. You will feel transported to 1918 and WWI.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
highly recommended. Have read 4 more books by her and loved them all. Her characters, plots and settings are wonderfully developed. I now have anew author to enjoy
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KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A historical fiction that took place during World War I in France and London, which is not my usual time and place to read about, so a departure from my norm which was a welcome reprieve. A story that is part of a series that centers around a nurse who ends up in the middle of a murder mystery. I loved reading one of my favorite genres combined with the historical fiction aspect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With a combination of intelligence, spunk, bravery, and compassion, Beww Crawford is a wonderful character! I look forward to reading future books from the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago