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Unmarked Grave, An: A Bess Crawford Mystery…

Unmarked Grave, An: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries) (edition 2013)

by Charles Todd

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Title:Unmarked Grave, An: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries)
Authors:Charles Todd
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2013), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
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An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

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Title: An Unmarked Grave (A Bess Crawford Mystery #4)
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 262
Year: 2012
Publisher: William Morrow
This fourth book in the Bess Crawford mystery series has Bess still serving as a nurse in WWI. It is now the spring of 1918, and the battle between the Germans and the British rages on with the wounded continually pouring in to the aid stations. Bess also faces the Spanish Influenza epidemic that begins killing almost as many as the nearby guns. With so many sick or dying, the pressure to help the wounded or sick mounts to astronomical proportions on to the backs of the surviving doctors and nurses. An orderly approaches Bess and shows her that he has an extra body unaccounted for. He shows Bess and she recognizes the dead body even though he is out of uniform and has no identification. She also sees immediately that the man didn’t die of the flu or a war wound; he had been murdered. This man as he is now is destined for an unmarked grave without any identification, but before Bess can report what she knows something happens to her that leaves her unable to complete this task.
This sets in motion a terrifying series of events for some familiar characters in the story: Bess, Simon Brandon, Colonel Crawford and others. The race to find the killer takes Bess back and forth between England and France all the while dodging bombs and bullets of German soldiers during the war. Bess refuses to let the killer’s victims’ deaths be recorded as desertion for one and suicide for another when she knows they have been murdered. She won’t let the surviving family members live with those dark clouds hanging over them. Bess is stalked by the killer, too and must keep up her guard. She finally discovers the killer’s identity, but will she be in time to stop him from committing yet another murder?
This story is jam-packed with action, intensity and tension. The selflessness of Bess is truly commendable. She doesn’t look at a man as German or British when treating a wound, but as a human being in need of care. This time the mystery, wounding and killing hit closer to home than Bess could have imagined. Through it all though Bess keeps a calm head, proceeds with her plan with strength and determination and never gives up. She is such a strong woman for one so young! The series is so realistically set within the WWI timeframe. I have learned much about how soldiers and nurses lived and served their country selflessly. I look forward to reading more of Bess’ adventures in future books.
My rating is 5 stars.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/. Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457 ( )
1 vote lcjohnson1988 | Sep 20, 2014 |
A good mystery. Not my favorite ending. A good feeling for the atmosphere of World War I. I prefer the depth of Maisie Dobbs, but Bess Crawford is a good stand in while I wait for the next one. ( )
1 vote njcur | Aug 5, 2014 |
I read the first Bess Crawford mystery and liked it, for the most part. I looked at the next books in the series and it seemed continuity wasn't a big deal, so I went ahead and read #4 since I already had it.

Despite jumping over two books, I had no difficulty in following the story. It follows the chronology of World War I but nothing major had shifted with Bess or her immediate circle; it was really quite self-contained. As a mystery, the pace flows well and it's a fast read. I read 150 pages in one sitting.

One reason I'm reading the books is that I am studying up more on World War I-era medicine. In this regard, I'm still frustrated with the series. This book did show some action at the front, with procedures and the terror of a gas attack, but it didn't dwell much on the medical aspect.

Bess as a character still feels rather empty to me. It's definitely not a character-driven series. I have no idea what she wants. It also seems like her father is too much of a power figure. If anything goes wrong, Colonel Sahib comes to the rescue. He even has her pulled from the front when she comes down with the flu. It makes things awfully convenient far too many times over even as people are out to kill Bess. Through her father's connections she knows almost everyone and can do almost anything.

I already have the second book in the series so I'll go ahead and read that, but overall I find that there are too many bothersome elements here for me to continue beyond that. ( )
1 vote ladycato | Nov 13, 2013 |
Several things have changed since the third tome, A Bitter Truth, of the series. The language is less winsome, flowing, less formidable. I've gone on record saying that I embrace low brow potboilers and dime novels. It's still sad to witness this book and consequently its authors finding it necessary to up the stakes, to add exponential action and to provide parody-like happenstances. Charles Todd was a name I've come to associate with quality and bravery. One can only repel the lure of ease for only so long.

The number of times people survive gun wounds in this story seems greater than the great unwashed's fatal brush with the Spanish Flu. The myriad times of such situations bordered on the farcical. I also didn't like the insinuations that great men by default survived war and that grades in the military was solely based on meritocracy. Charisma cannot substitute for luck and connections in the real world. I wondered if the authors wanted its audience to believe what should be called a deception.

The authors did well to shroud the chilling multi murderer in darkness. Ralph Mitchell was nothing short of a terminator. The mysterious man brought about a smoother climax than any of the previous books. Danger had dogged the heels of the heroine so often that the ending didn't seem forced. While I couldn't keep much concentration in the early chapters, I could keep a hawk like focus on the ever increasing cast of new names that kept adding. I'm a bit hazy about why the killer had embarked on a rampage and the motive escapes me for now. I'm glad I didn't waste my time reading this book - you know what I mean. It was a very good book, and I'm glad I'll remember parts of it forever. ( )
  Jiraiya | Sep 9, 2013 |
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While contending with wounded soldiers and influenza patients, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford stumbles upon the body of an officer and family friend who has been murdered, and uses her father's connections in the military to search for an elusive killer.… (more)

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