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An Impartial Witness: A Bess Crawford Mysteryby Charles Todd
Synopses & Reviews
World War I nurse Bess Crawford, introduced in A Duty to the Dead, returns in an exciting new mystery in which a murder draws her inexorably into the sights of a cunning killer
It is the early summer of 1917. Bess Crawford has returned to England from the trenches of France with a convoy of severely wounded men. One of her patients is a young pilot who has been burned beyond recognition, and who clings to life and the photo of his wife that is pinned to his tunic.
While passing through a London train station, Bess notices a woman bidding an emotional farewell to an officer, her grief heart-wrenching. And then Bess realizes that she seems familiar. In fact, she's the woman in the pilot's photo, but the man she is seeing off is not her husband.
Back on duty in France, Bess discovers a newspaper with a drawing of the woman's face on the front page. Accompanying the drawing is a plea from Scotland Yard seeking information from anyone who has seen her. For it appears that the woman was murdered on the very day Bess encountered her at the station.
Granted leave to speak with Scotland Yard, Bess becomes entangled in the case. Though an arrest is made, she must delve into the depths of her very soul to decide if the police will hang an innocent man or a vicious killer. Exposing the truth is dangerous—and will put her own life on the line.
"Set in the summer of 1917, Todd's excellent second mystery featuring British nurse Bess Crawford (after 2009's A Duty to the Dead) smoothly blends realistic characters with an intricate plot. When Bess accompanies Lt. Meriwether Evanson, a severe burn victim, from the Continent to England, she's surprised to spot the pilot's supposedly devoted wife, Marjorie, crying on another man's shoulder at a train station. After returning to saving lives under German fire in France, Bess is stunned to read in a newspaper that Marjorie has been stabbed to death in London. Soon after, the depressed lieutenant commits suicide by cutting his own throat. Unable to resist involving herself in the murder investigation, Bess seeks to identify Marjorie's unknown companion, the possible killer. In addition to supplying a challenging puzzle, Todd (a mother-son writing team) does a superb job of capturing the feel of the battlefield and the emotional toll taken on those waiting back home for a loved one's return. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Bess (A Duty to the Dead) is dogged, implacable and headstrong in the way of Victorian heroines, and mired in a plot the author's more capable detective, Ian Rutledge, would dispatch in half the time with twice the brio." Kirkus Reviews
"Another winning performance with a smartly plotted, well-told mystery.... [F]ans of mysteries featuring strong, appealing heroines will certainly embrace this one. Highly recommendable." Booklist
“Todds novels are known for compelling plotting with a thoughtful whodunit aspect, rich characterization, evocative prose, and haunting atmosphere.”
“Readers who cant get enough of [Jacqueline Winspears] Maisie Dobbs…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
To great critical acclaim, author Charles Todd introduced protagonist Bess Crawford in A Duty to the Dead. The dedicated World War I nurse returns in An Impartial Witness, and finds herself in grave peril when a moral obligation makes her the inadvertent target of a killer. As hauntingly evocative as Todds award-winning, New York Times bestselling Ian Rutledge novels, An Impartial Witness transports readers to a dark time of war and involves us in murder, intrigue, and the fascinating affairs of a truly unforgettable cast of characters.
About the Author
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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