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An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
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An Unmarked Grave (edition 2012)

by Charles Todd

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2933038,321 (3.67)34
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. ( )
  readafew | Jun 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-25 of 29 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Feb 9, 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 |
Nurse Bess Crawford is healing the wounded in France while dodging a German sniper. She travelling back and forth from Britan to France while helping her father find the spy in their midst and helping a wounded Simon and an American Captain who has been shot in the leg. Bess is becoming a comic book character by her saving everyone who comes into contact with her. Example: she can't get a ride and uses a dogsled. Too much. ( )
  Kathy89 | Jan 28, 2015 |
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 |
A Bess Crawford entry. More action than previous books. But a plot line that went lame at the end. Still this writing duo is a winner. ( )
1 vote librarian1204 | Apr 27, 2013 |
Although I've always been fascinated by World War I, the closest relatives I had who served in it (two great-uncles by marriage)both were prevented by illness from ever going to France. One survived his bout with TB and became a much-loved family member; the other died of influenza at Camp Devens, leaving my great-aunt a widow after a brief marriage. Since she died when I was 4, all I have of that early relationship is Uncle Charles's photo in his Army uniform.

I've enjoyed all Charles Todd's World War I mysteries, both the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series, but I think I especially liked this one (if "like" is the word for such harrowing reading) because of its setting in the first months of the influenza pandemic.

Nurse Bess Crawford is herself struck down with flu just after she's presented with a mystery, and after her recovery, she tries to follow the cold trail of a ruthless killer. Moving back and forth across the Channel, and with the help of family friend Simon Brandon and a new possible beau who's an American serving in the Canadian forces, she has many adventures before the end.

I actually found the ending a bit deus ex machina for my taste, but I think this is one of those series I read for character and setting more than for plot, so I didn't mind too much. Recommended, if this applies to you as well. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
not in wiscat, soft cover
  wabenopl | Feb 21, 2013 |
Enjoy the setting and empathetic characters. But nurse Bess Crawford serving on the western front in WWI has adventures that are a little too similar from one book to the next. Would like to see a little more development od the characters and storylines. ( )
  pennykaplan | Nov 28, 2012 |
The latest in the Bess Crawford mystery series, which I enjoy rather much. Bess is a nurse in WWI France, in this book dealing with (and falling temporary victim to) the Spanish flu. The period details seem spot on and the mystery was tight – a much better read than the authors’ previous outing in this series. 3½ stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Oct 6, 2012 |
While nursing in France during World War I, Bess Crawford learns of an extra body in the place where those killed in battle have been gathered. Although the body bears no identification, Bess recognizes him as an officer from her father's former regiment. He appears to have been murdered by someone who may still be in the area. Before she can alert the matron, she falls ill with influenza. Her memory is vague when she recovers. How much is real and how much did she dream in her illness? When more murder victims turn up, Bess realizes that her own life is in danger. The killer isn't leaving any witnesses alive, and Bess may be the only person left who can identify him.

The premise for the murder is similar to Ellis Peters' One Corpse Too Many. However, it's a plot that works well in a war situation. Bess had a good reason for trying to find the killer since her own life was in danger. Most of the way through the book I felt like it was shaping up to be the best book in the series, but the ending was a little disappointing. It relies too much on coincidence.

I'm curious about where Bess's relationship with Sergeant Major Simon Brandon might be going. It's a bit strange. Bess treats him like part of the family, and he seems like an older brother, or even a third parent at times. This book introduces a new potential suitor for Bess who seems more age appropriate. He is clearly jealous of Simon and thinks of him as a rival for Bess's affection. At the rate things are going in this series, we might not find out where Bess's feelings lie until somewhere around book 10! ( )
  cbl_tn | Sep 23, 2012 |
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) ( )
1 vote Twink | Aug 2, 2012 |
I'm of a mixed mind about this Bess Crawford mystery. I enjoy the character and the period details, but I just don't think the writers play fair when it comes to the mystery. The solution comes from way out in left field, and there's no hint of it before (save for mention of a character who will later show up in the story). So the solution to the mystery was a let down if you enjoy playing along in trying to figure out who the killer is. ( )
1 vote Denise701 | Jul 18, 2012 |
Thank you to Jen at Book Club Girl for providing me with a copy of this book. Please check out her blog talk interview with authors Charles Todd for further insight into the book. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/book-club-girl/2012/06/28/charles-todd-discusses-th...

I have a weakness for anyone named Bess who solves mysteries ever since my Nancy Drew days. This Bess however is a WWI nurse who can't seem to keep herself out of every bodies business. With a war raging on, people don't have much time to attend to things that don't quite up. Fortunately for them it has become Bess's specialty.

In this outing Bess is in France nursing the wounded. While on duty she is drawn into a shed by an orderly who shows her a body that doesn't seem to be a victim of the Spanish Flu they have been battling. Could it be murder? Before she can investigate Bess is stricken with the flu herself and nearly dies. By the time she recovers the orderly is dead by suicide and Bess can barely make out dreams from reality. Bess being Bess can hardly let the matter rest so the investigation is on taking her between France and England in an effort to learn the truth.

I got into this series because of my love of another WWI female sleuth, Maisie Dobbs. While I do enjoy this series I think Jacqueline Winspear is able to craft a more compelling mystery/ problem in her books. Contrary to popular opinion, I feel that this one of the weaker books in the series. There were not clues to the mystery throughout the book. It seemed that the murderer only chose his victims because they were in the way. I like a little more psychological intrigue in my mysteries. That being said I do like the character of Bess Crawford. I just wish she could move ahead in her personal life as well as professional. In this book she almost dies as well as Simon Brandon and their relationship while hinted at has not progressed at all. If you are going to die you would think that it would give you a new perspective on letting those you love know your true feelings. It's been four books already at least let them have a kiss! I think after all Bess and Simon have been through, they deserve at least that much in the next book. ( )
  arielfl | Jul 13, 2012 |
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. ( )
  delphimo | Jul 8, 2012 |
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. ( )
  ReviewsFromTheHeart | Jul 3, 2012 |
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. ( )
  readafew | Jun 19, 2012 |
Bess Crawford, daughter of an English Colonel, raised in India, now serving as a nurse in World War I, finds herself facing a dead body in a spot where it's not supposed to be, and on its way to be buried with no identification.  Dead bodies usually work well to start off a mystery, but just when she sees this body, she is stricken with a severe case of Spanish flu, becomes delirious and is shipped home to England.  When she awakens, she doesn't know if the body (she knows who the soldier was) was a dream, or if she really did see him dead.  How did he end up where she saw him?  Was he murdered, or did he really die from a war wound? 

Thus begins the fourth book in this enlightening and engaging mystery series. In each of them, Bess manages to find herself in the midst of mystery.  An Unmarked Grave is perhaps the most straightforward of the mysteries in the series, but it is by no means simplistic.  The author(s) continue to expand Bess's personality, enhance her relationship with Simon Brandon (will this develop into a romance in later books?), devise interesting and many layered plots, and provide us with views into the awfulness of War.  Their descriptions of battlefield casualty stations give us a realistic imagery of the horror of the carnage, while at the same time giving us a tribute to the courage of all those working under these unimaginable circumstances.  In addition, their depiction of the ravages of the Spanish Flu adding to the desolation caused by the war itself, serves to paint a realistic and devastating picture of the beginning of the twentieth century.

Sr. Crawford's snooping does at times require the reader to accept a character who is a bit more nosy than one might believe, who has a knack for finding trouble, and an unbelievable amount of luck in being able to call on her father and his aide-de-camp Simon to bail her out, but these escapades make for a well-written story that keeps us turning pages, and leaves us wanting more.  And that's my criteria for a ripping good read!

I've read all of these (there are now four in the series) and I'm not sure I'd recommend starting here if you haven't read any of the previous ones.  That said, the author has done a credible job of giving enough back-fill that it would probably work on its own.  ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Jun 17, 2012 |
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. ( )
  MonicaSessoms | Jun 13, 2012 |
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. ( )
  cathyskye | Jun 12, 2012 |
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. ( )
  readinggeek451 | Jun 9, 2012 |
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