A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford Series #3)

A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford Series #3)

by Charles Todd


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062015709
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/30/2011
Series: Bess Crawford Series , #3
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve Ian Rutledge mysteries, two Bess Crawford mysteries, and one stand-alone novel. A mother-and-son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

What People are Saying About This

Stephanie Laurens

“Highly recommended—well-rounded, believable characters, a multi-layered plot solidly based on human nature, all authentically set in the England of 1917, make A Bitter Truth an outstanding and riveting read.”

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Bitter Truth 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ABookAWeekES More than 1 year ago
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.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
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.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An act of kindness toward a stranger has unexpected consequences for WWI nurse Bess Crawford. Bess accompanies the injured woman to her home outside of London, intending to continue from there to her parents home well in time for Christmas. When a fellow guest is murdered, Bess must stay until the police allow her to leave. Bess's involvement continues even after her return to service in France, until she is called back to England for a final confrontation.I didn't like the second Bess Crawford mystery nearly as well as I did the first, so I started this one with a little trepidation. Happily, I soon discovered that Bess was once again the Bess of the first book. In this book as well as the first book, Bess is reluctantly drawn into the mystery for a good reason. In the second book, Bess forces her way into a situation that isn't any of her business, and she came across as stubborn, pushy, obnoxious, and a little spoiled.The mystery in this book isn't as well developed as it could have been, but I was so happy to have the ¿old¿ Bess back that I could overlook that. Bess's personal life hasn't developed much over the course of the series, probably due to its wartime setting. I don't think it's essential to read these books in order. Recommended for readers of historical mysteries, and particularly for fans of the Maisie Dobbs series, which shares several characteristics with this one.
craso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bess Crawford is a battlefield nurse who had returned home to London on leave from France. She finds a bruised woman on her doorstep and takes her in. She soon becomes involved in the woman's personal problems. Bess escorts her home to a small village in Sussex, where her brother-in-law is being laid to rest. The home is haunted by the past death of a young child. After a mourner inappropriately mentions a child in France, he is found died. Who killed him and who is the child? I enjoyed the setting of this mystery novel. The author does a good job of bringing war torn World War One France to life. You get a feel for the comradeship between the soldiers and nurses on duty. Unfortunately, this is the only part of the novel I really liked.I was disappointed by the character of Bess Crawford. I understand she is a compassionate and well meaning person, but she comes across as a meddler. She keeps information from the police to shield the family and looks for the little girl when it isn't any of her business.The storyline turned out to be one prolonged red herring with the solution to the mystery being revealed at the end of the novel. If you enjoy following a story and then discovering that the ending has almost nothing to do with the rest of the novel, then this book is for you.
AFHeart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Series: 3rd in The Bess Crawford MysteriesMain Character: Bess Crawford, English military nurse during warSetting: WWI, England and FranceThis was my first Bess Crawford book and it stands alone fine. Bess is given holiday leave from her nursing duties and finds a women huddled at the door to her apartment building soaked to the bone and her face bruised. Although Bess doesn't want to get involved in Lydia's Domestic situation, she is talked into going with the women to her home to help her face her husband since Bess feels she has a concussion and wants to see she is cared for. Bess becomes enmeshed in a dysfunctional family in their bleak mansion. During the dinner party Lydia's husband Roger and his longstanding friend are distinctly heard in a lull in the dinner conversation talking about a suspected illegitimate child of Roger's in France. Naturally the friend is found dead the next day. Lydia asks Bess to locate the child in France and when Bess returns to the battlegrounds of France for her duties she enlists the help of an Australian officer to locate the orphanages so she can begin her search. Her search to find the child sets events tumbling out of control.Bess as a character is fine as far as she goes. I found her motivations hard to understand through most of the book. Emotionally Bess was distant for me. She explains emotions but they didn't resonate with me. Always in the background is a family friend named Simon who I felt had more potential in any number of ways, but remains as a convenient chess piece to have assist Bess. The dysfunctional family and their bleak home called Vixen Hill provide a creepy atmosphere, giving this tale a Gothic touch. The Australian officer was an brilliant touch that I can only hope will be a return character in the next book.The plot was nicely complex and the reader is along for the ride. It isn't until the last eighty or so pages that the final pieces to this puzzle are revealed and the story is suddenly racing along. There are many improbable parts to this tale, which would not have been too bad if I could have related a bit more with Bess, which I think is the main reason why this book took so long to get me interested. I felt no emotional connection and thus no immediacy from the tale. The Gothic touches and seemingly sinister family members make up for the down sides. As for the killer, there was not enough information to have figured out who it was so that added to the suspense in the final pages as things spun out of control. Without giving up too much, I would have liked the killer to have been a more central character rather than an almost sideline player.This book offers an atmospheric historical tale which does lead the reader on a twisted path with a rather harrowing climax.
eawsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was another interesting mystery in the Bess Crawford series set in World War I. It's well-written and intriguing, and I confess to not having figured out "whodunit" before it was revealed in the book. In this outing, Bess comes home on leave to find a battered woman sheltering in the doorway of her flat. It's a nasty night, so she persuades the woman to spend the night with her, and then gets very involved in her life, to the point of returning to the woman's home with her to give her a cover story for having run away in the first place. The woman lives with her husband's family, all of whom are mourning the loss of a son during the war. A family guest is murdered, apparently because he revealed the existence, in France, of an illegitimate child of the woman's husband. Bess returns to France having promised to search for the child. The ensuing search seems a bit unlikely during wartime, but fits well with the story. In the end, all is revealed and Bess once again returns to duty.It does seem like Bess is able to get leave much more frequently than I would have thought possible, but that's a minor detail. She is also able to accomplish a great deal for "just" a nursing sister, but she is aided in her quest by her father's reputation among his former soldiers. All in all, this was a good book and I look forward to future installments of Bess's story.
readafew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Bitter Truth is the 3rd in the Bess Crawford Mystery series. I met Bess briefly in A Lonely Death several years after this book takes place, the main character in that one is a police inspector Ian Rutledge. Both series take place primarily in England during or after WWI.Bess is a battlefield nurse, just coming home on leave for Christmas when she finds a woman huddled on her doorstep, trying to find protection from the cold winter wind. Bess invites her in to let her spend the night. Her guest, Lydia, slowly tells her story over the next day and a half. She invites/begs Bess to travel back home with her to help her face her husband and his family. Bess reluctantly agrees. She finds more than she bargained for.After spending an interesting couple days with the family (who¿ve all gathered to bury Lydia¿s brother-in-law) Bess is getting ready to leave when one of the house guests is found murdered. Not only does this prevent Bess from going home to see her family for Christmas, she¿s even become a suspect! Overall, I enjoyed the book. I¿ll happily read more in the series. It is well written and gives a good feel for the times. Large parts actually felt a lot like an Agatha Christie novel, though it had plenty of story outside the mystery. If you like cozies you¿ll probably like this one, the only real negative I have is the ending felt a little rushed but not to the point of ruining the book. Worth the time.
NewsieQ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s December 1917 and Bess Crawford, a World War I battlefield nurse, is home to England for the holidays. In the doorway of her London rooming house, she finds a young woman huddled, bruised and chilled to the bone. When she takes in Lydia Ellis, giving her tea and a place to sleep for the night, she can¿t predict just how firmly she inserts herself with the young woman¿s life and family.Lydia convinces Bess to return to Vixen Hill, her husband¿s family home. While there for a memorial service, a houseguest is murdered and the surly police inspector believes Bess to be a top suspect. Bess¿s father, a retired army colonel, sends his man Simon Brandon to assist Bess in extricating herself from the thorny situation. But as the story unfolds, I turns out there¿s no simple way to do that. A second, pivotal plot involves a two-year-old war orphan in France.The Bess Crawford mysteries are a second series by Charles Todd, an American mother-son writing team; both series are set in England during or just after the Great War and drip with the gloom and angst of that period. The writing, as usual, is sharp and solid, the plotting deft and the overall result quite satisfying. Review based on publisher-provided copy of the book.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bess Crawford, home for a brief leave at Christmas, finds herself embroiled in the troubles of another family. Briefly suspected of murder, she allows herself to be persuaded to search France for a missing orphan who may be a relative of her hosts.Melancholy as always, with a suspect and motive coming out of left field late in the book.
SilversReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A stranger on your doorstep with bruises, a stranger you let into your home, and a stranger who became your friend and brought trouble when you arrived at your new friend's home. Could you make friends that quickly and feel comfortable enough to go to their home?Bess thought it was possible, and when she arrived at Lydia's home she immediately knew there was something strange about Lydia and her entire family. This became even more apparent when a family member was murdered and Bess became one of the suspects in the investigation. How did a well-bred girl get herself into such a mess....being nice definitely didn't pay off in this case.The case involved Mr. Hughes who drank too much that evening and blurted out a family secret in front of unknowing family and a few town guests. Could that have been the reason Mr. Hughes was murdered. Who would revert to murder to keep something quiet? Everyone in the household was questioned, and being the last one to speak to Mr. Hughes before his death, was incriminating for Bess. When the police thought they found the murderer, everyone was free to leave. Bess left but not without having to promise Lydia she would find someone for her. Bess hesitated but knew the person in question may be the root of the reason for the murder so she promised to look in France. Bess's nursing career kept her busy, but she managed to "try" to search. This search was the key to many secrets.The story took place in the early 1900's with scenes from makeshift hospitals in France and the house where the family lived...Vixen Hill. The home, the town, and the family life of that era were well described...the lack of phone communication was frightening...also the "motorcar" that had to be cranked to get it started.The book was slow at first, but once the murder took place, the interest picked up. The murder and some of the story's characters were somewhat bizarre, but interesting. I can honestly say the book wasn't bad but it did get too much with the patient care and such. I have never read a Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd, but have read the Inspector Rutledge ones. It won¿t disappoint you, but finding out who committed the crime will surprise you and how the police operated in the 1900's will keep your attention.4/5
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I prefer the Ian Rutledge series to the Bess Crawford mysteries. Both series are set in England. Bess Crawford is a nursing sister during WWI, and sometimes her duty leads to aiding the local police in solving a murder. This story starts with Bess finding a bruised and distraught woman on her doorstep. Of course, Bess befriends the lady and agrees to return the lady, Lydia, to her country manor. No sooner than Lydia and Bess return to Vixen Hill, the manor, when a guest is murdered. The case deepens when an orphaned French toddler is believed to be the daughter of Lydia's husband. The story has many adventures that seem very unbelievable at times, plus many of the characters are under developed. I enjoy a good cast of characters, but the team of Charles Todd flounders in this aspect.
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"A Bitter Truth" is an engrossing depiction of the life of a battlefield nurse in WWI and an upper class family in rural England. We observe the interactions of this family as they attempt to deal with a particularly embarrassing situation.Bess Crawford is a nurse who returns to England on leave from her duties in the battlefields of France. She is surprised to find a well dressed woman huddled in her doorway. When Bess sees that the woman has a bruise on her face, Bess's compassionate nature takes over. She invites the woman, Lucy Ellis, into her flat and learns that Lucy's husband, Roger, struck her. Lucy is afraid to return home and Bess offers to accompany her.At the Ellis home, Bess meets Roger and learns of the argument. Roger is about to return to his unit in France and Lucy wants to attempt to conceive a child so if anything happened to Roger in battle, she would have that part of him to love and remember.Bess is a steady character who is a delight. As a nurse, she deals with physically and mentally injured people. Therefore, she isn't intimidated by petty bureaucrats. She's also a problem solver and has the ability to analyze a situation and provide useful alternatives.Charles Todd describes the relationship between family members and the responsibility that have for maintaining the family reputation, at all costs. There are a number of murders and we follow the story, enjoying Bess's logical approach to attempt to find the guilty person.There is a well placed plot twist that adds to the story and the reader's interest. It places the story at the top realm of creative story telling.The story has a plot and character who seem made for each other and combine to make this a wonderful reading experience.
celticlady53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd, A Bess Crawford Mystery is a crime thriller that takes place in England during WWI. Bess Crawford is a nurse who finds herself involved in a mystery that she really didn't want to be involved in. What starts out as one woman giving aid to another woman during a domestic dispute, evolves into a murder mystery that threatens to reveal a family's long ago secrets. With characters that you can love and hate, this is a riveting story from beginning to end. A few of the characters got on my nerves and others I found delightful. This is also a story of the horrors of war and what it can do to the best of families. A must to read.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bess Crawford is a WWI battlefield nurse. When she returns home for the holidays, she finds a bruised woman huddled in her doorway. She offers her shelter for the night, and gradually the woman begins to trust her. Bess is looking forward to seeing her family, but instead she ends up accompanying the woman back to her home. While she is there, a wounded soldier is murdered, and everyone in the house is a suspect, including Bess herself.Bess¿s adventure takes her to France and back several times, and deep into the past and the secrets of this strange woman¿s family. This is my first book by Charles Todd, but it will not be my last. I could not put this book down ¿ I HAD to find out what was going to happen to these people. The ending was just right ¿ satisfying but not happily ever after. I will definitely have to go back and read the rest of the Bess Crawford series, as well as other books by Charles Todd.(This book was provided to me by Amazon¿s Vine Program.)
aztwinmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Bitter Truth is set in the time of WWI and features a nursing sister named Bess. Bess is a wonderful character...a great sense of duty, compassion, and integrity. When she helps Lydia, a lost young woman one evening, she becomes embroiled in Lydia's family troubles and then a series of murders. A well-written mystery and I look forward to reading more from this author.
cathyskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First Line: A cold rain had followed me from France to England, and an even colder wind greeted me as we pulled into the railway station in London.Bess Crawford has been given Christmas leave, and she's looking forward to time away from nursing the wounded and dying on the front lines in France. All she has to do is spend one night in her London flat before going home to her parents. Unfortunately she doesn't even get the front door to her flat open. A woman has taken shelter from the wind and rain in the doorway. Not only is she wet and cold, her face shows signs of a fist, and she's scared to death. Against her better judgement, Bess takes her in. Not only does she give the woman a place to stay, she lets the frightened stranger talk her into going home with her because she doesn't know how her husband (the man who hit her) is going to react.Lydia lives out in Ashdown Forest, in a grand house called Vixen Hill. The landscape reminds Bess of the blighted land of France where war has destroyed every bit of grass and trees, and Lydia admits that it's so grim in winter that the place sucks the life out of a person. When they arrive, Bess finds a family gathered for a memorial service, and even though these people are grieving, there's still something in their behavior that makes Bess uneasy. When one of their number is found dead, Bess finds herself mired in the middle of murder.The Ellis family of Vixen Hill is an interesting one. Many secrets and emotions are tied into the untimely death of a daughter many years ago. Just what those secrets are, and just what each family member's motivations are is what Bess has to find out in order to celebrate Christmas with her family.This is the strongest book in this series so far. I think this is due, in part, to the fact that we finally see Bess as a nurse in France. In the other two books, she was on leave in England, but this time we see her performing her job, interacting with medical staff, doctors, soldiers, and officers, and moving from place to place in a war torn country. This makes her a more fully realized character, and I appreciated seeing this side of her.Although this is the third book in the series, it stands alone well, so you don't have to worry about starting with the first book to keep your bearings. If you enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series written by Jacqueline Winspear, you should give Bess Crawford a try. Chances are, you'll like Bess, too.
vespasia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this latest edition to the Bess Crawford series. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that there were some loose ends. All things considered it is was still a fun read.
karen_o on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This third entry in the Bess Armstrong mystery series written by the mother and son team called Charles Todd opens with Bess finding a strange woman, wet and shivering, huddled in her doorway during Christmas leave from the French front. She convinces the frightened woman to come up to her flat and after discovering that she's run away from the husband who struck her and deciding she likely has a concussion Bess decides to involve herself in the woman's troubles. Thus she accompanies Lydia home and is therefore a guest at Vixen Hill when a friend of the family, who seems to know too much about Lydia's husband's war time activities, is murdered.This part of the novel required the greatest suspension of disbelief for me: that Bess would take the troubles of this unknown family so completely upon herself struck me as an artificial device to involve our accidental sleuth in yet another murder to investigate. But, what do I know? Perhaps people really were that empathetic and helpful in Britain during WWI. Just because I can't imagine it doesn't mean it can't happen, I suppose.That relatively small quibble aside, it was a fairly good story with a subplot involving a child in France and the introduction of at least one new character -- the Australian officer -- who I hope become a permanent addition to the series. It also has all the aspects of a Who Done It? story since clues are in place throughout the novel but the killer isn't revealed until the final few chapters.Recommended to fans of British mysteries, this series and the Charles Todd books. Overall rating: 3 1/2 stars.
Travis1259 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book. It had so much going for it: a Gothic English country house, a World War I nurse as the central character, an eccentric English family, several murders, and some good dialogue. Alas, the novel did not come together. The varied and well pictured setting and atmosphere could not compensate for characters so ill defined. In fact it was difficult to actually enter into the story since the plot and characters swirlled about. And, many decisions made were questionable to say the least. I felt while reading this mystery that the author was making it up along the way rather than following a well planned strategy. Then, I discovered that a mother and son writing team authored the book. So, perhaps they just couldn't get their act together. Still, I am glad to have received this ER book because it did provide the opportunity to explore the many different ways that war, even across the Channel in this instance, can so disrupt people's lives.Because I did find so much about the book to like, I guess I should give this team another shot. Maybe next time it won't misfire.
Angel2649 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the third book about Nurse Bess Crawford, Charles Todd has defined how people in the upper class feel about those who do not follow the rules. Women are wives and mothers and stay home. They do not take unpleasant jobs, espcially nursing. They also think that just because they are 'known', the police have no business thinking that any one of them could be involved in a crime. Bess is a nurse in France during World War I. As she arrives home for a much needed rest coinciding with Christmas. she finds a badly bruised woman shivering on her London apartment doorstep. Eventually the woman reveals that her husband had hit her during a violent argument. She has not seen him for 3 years, and he is much changed from the man she married before the war. He will not consider having children which she desperately wants. When Bess reluctantly agrees to accompany her home to make sure that she arrives safely and no longer needs medical assistance, she thinks that she will only be delayed for a day. From there she plans to travel to her parents house for Christmas. Unfortunately a murder occurs, and the entire household is told they must not leave until an inquest is held and/or the murder is found. There is a subplot about a small child that bears a striking resemblence to a daughter that had died when she was about 3 or 4. The dispair the family felt is one of the main reasons the husband will not consider having childre.I liked the book and all the background information on WWI. But I agree with one of the other reveiwers that Bess does seem to have more leave than others. Maybe it was different for the medical teams than for the men actually fighting the war. Looking forward to the next book and to see if Bess continues to see her Australian soldier.
lauranav on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am becoming very comfortable with the Bess Crawford series. I like her perspective and seeing WWI from the nursing point of view. It helps a lot to have the capable Simon Brandon around to offer protection and find out details.In this story Bess comes home from leave to find a woman huddled in the doorway of the building where she lives. She has compassion on the woman, helping her warm up and get fed and then being drawn into her story of running from home after an argument with her husband, also home on leave. Against Simon's better judgment, Bess goes with the woman to help her over the uncomfortable return home. Before Bess can leave, one of the friends of the family is murdered.The book looks at the issues caused in a marriage by the long separation of war, the difficulty in those at home understanding those who are away at the front. We also see how the soldiers communicate to the front line and back along the way as some of them help Bess with a search for an orphan girl in France. There is the usual stress as the family members wonder about each other, I guess even blood relations recognize that at core we are all sinners and capable of evil. But we too hate to see any of the people we've met end up being a murderer.It moves along and covers the transitions between home leave and serving on the front well. A good addition to a good series. I look forward to the next Bess Crawford mystery.