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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
Collections:Your library

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An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd



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The year is 1918 and the Spanish flu epidemic is rampaging, killing both soldiers and civilians. Battlefield nurse Bess Crawford and the rest of the nurses and doctors are swamped with patients. But, then Bess discovers that among the dead bodies are the body of a murdered officer that used to serve in her father's former regiment. However, she falls ill in the terrible flu herself before she can report it...

The Bess Crawford series has quickly become a favorite of mine. One of the reason is that I find Bess Crawford to be a competent young woman that happens to stumble over problems now and then. Like this time where she must find out who killed an officer that she knew and respected. But, she has also just been terribly ill, the body of the dead man is buried and the only other witness to it has hanged himself. So, there isn't much to go on. But, she won't give up, and luckily she has Simon Brandon and Captain Barclay, a Yankee with a poor knee to help her.
This is the first book in this series that I just couldn't find myself really engrossed with. It could be because of the absence of my favorite Aussie, but I think that most of the problem lies in the fact that the case just doesn't draw me in. I don't say that the book was bad, it was just not memorable. I definitely felt that when I started to write the review and for a moment was I at a loss to why the man, in the beginning, was killed. The conclusion of the book was just not that thrilling.

Thankfully, Bess makes this book worth the while, she is still a strong and interesting character despite the rather lackluster storyline. There are those that favor a romantic relationship between her and Simon, but I just don't see it. For me, he is an older brother. Then again, this may because I have already in my mind a perfect candidate for her heart. And, that's Sergeant Larimore who is mostly tragically absent from this book. The books most precious parts are when she arrives back in France and he is there to greet here and Bess learning that he is the one that alerted Bess mother that she was ill.

Read this review and others on A Bookaholic Swede ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |

It isis the spring of 1918 in the height of World War I. Bess Crawford is performing her duties as a loyal and extremely skilled British nurse on the French Front. In addition to battling countless war wounds, she and her medical staff find themselves caught in the middle of an the Spanish flu epidemic. It is a serious and deadly strain that suddenly strikes Bess herself.

Prior to succumbing to the illness, Bess gets herself caught up in some strange events that put her in far more danger than the Spanish flu. The body of Major Carson is found amidst other corpses, the obvious victim of a murderous act. Bess recognizes him as one of her father's regiment. He is discovered by Private Wilson, who, along with Bess, attempt to properly attend to the body so it is not cast into an unmarked grave.

After Bess is rendered helpless due to the flu, sudden she cannot attend to the caring of Carson’s corpse. When she is finally coherent, she is informed by her family friend and neighbor, Simon Brandon, that Wilson had committed suicide. Bess cannot understand this as the Private Wilson she came to know did not appear to be suicidal at all. Tow unexplained deaths now haunt her.

Bess is sent back home to England to recover from her illness, but is still haunted by what she believes are two murders. While recovering, she finds employment at a local hospital where she befriends an injured Canadian officer by the name of Barclay. In addition to confiding in her friend Simon, she also shares with Barclay her desire to return to France and look into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of Carson and Wilson.

Simon ends up getting wounded himself, shot by a German soldier. He is in bad shape and is being nursed back to health at the same London hospital Bess is temporarily working at. Confident that Simon is in good hands, Bess gets her father, Colonel Crawford, to put through orders returning her to the French Front. When an attempt is made on her life, she quickly realizes that the killer may think she can identify him, and now she is a threat to him as long as she is alive.

Bringing along Captain Barclay for assistance, Bess begins to dig into Carson and Wilson’s lives to see who they might have as an enemy. More importantly, who might want them dead? Carson was once in her father’s regiment, so it is easy for her to piece together his history. Evidence begins to point to the Morton family, who has several sons enlisted in the military. Will Morton seems to have had reason to be envious of Carson, but Bess wonders if it's enough to commit murder.

As Bess digs deeper into the Morton family, the body count continues to pile up as those close to her fall victim to the mad killer. Is it really Will Morton, or could the answer lie in Bess’ own past and that of her father?

Jan ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Whew! This was a nail biter - my favorite character, Nurse Bess Crawford was in danger throughout the entire book and it was very tense indeed. Rather different from the earlier books which I think I liked better but still this was very good. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |

From his webpage: "World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford matches wits with a devious killer in this exciting and suspenseful adventure from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd
In the spring of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic spreads, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well.

However, war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of an officer who has been murdered. Though she is devoted to all her patients, this soldier’s death touches her deeply. Not only did the man serve in her father’s former regiment, he was also a family friend.

Before she can report the terrible news, Bess falls ill, the latest victim of the flu. By the time she recovers, the murdered officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he?

Working her father’s connections in the military, Bess begins to piece together what little evidence she can find to unmask the elusive killer and see justice served. But she must be as vigilant as she is tenacious. With a determined killer on her heels, each move Bess makes could be her last."

So this seems to be a well written male author's spin-off of Maisie Dobbs...... Like I said well written, but oh does it go on & on & on and at points becomes dreary, when "AHA!" there is more action.......

The book was interesting to a point, but then it numbed my mind...... Also there was the fact that this woman, Maisie similarity aside, wasn't as likeable nor as personable as Maisie..... This is a woman born to privilege, with that "attitude", with that bearing, with that "connection" to "my father will get me out of trouble"........

In fact there was nothing endearing about any of the characters that made me care a whit about any of them.... They were flat, upper crust, stodgy types and it left me wanting to go back to Maisie Dobbs......

Despite my review, I do believe that many people will enjoy this series. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
An Unmarked Grave is the fourth entry in Charles Todd's Bess Crawford mystery series. This novel opens with the heroine, British nurse Bess Crawford, working tirelessly in a field hospital full of soldiers wounded at the front, as well as those suffering from the flu, which is reeking havoc all across Europe. When secretly called upon to view the body of a man whose death an orderly believes suspicious, Bess discovers that the body belongs to a close family friend and officer within her father's regiment. Determined to get to the bottom of the apparent murder, Bess makes plans to discuss her findings with her nursing superior at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, Bess almost immediately falls ill with the flu herself, and it is weeks before she's recovered enough to investigate further. Moving between the French front and the English countryside, Bess never gives up on her quest to uncover the truth. Yet, with a number of new murders, it appears the killer is one step ahead of Bess. More dire is that Bess herself has become a target. Will Bess be able to solve the murders before she becomes a victim herself?

Overall, I enjoyed this novel immensely. Bess is a strong heroine who is easy to relate to and her attitudes and actions are consistent with the time period in which she lived. The secondary characters, including Bess' parents and friend, Simon, are also wonderfully drawn and interesting. The mystery itself is intriguing and left me guessing as to the killer's identify until the very end. I especially like the fact that this novel is set against the backdrop of World War I, a period in which becoming increasingly interested. Todd's descriptions of life in a field hospital are especially vivid.

Not having read any of the previous novels in the Bess Crawford mystery series, I was a little worried that my unfamiliarity with the events of earlier books might make it difficult for me to understand some of the back story included in this one. It turns out that this wasn't an issue and, as a result, the novel stands well on its own. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to going back to the beginning of the series to read the books I've missed. I highly recommend this novel to fans of historical mysteries.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
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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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