A Duty to the Dead
by Charles Todd
Wonderful debut to a new historical
In 1916 aboard the
hospital ship Britannic, nurse Bess Crawford cares for lieutenant
Arthur Graham, promising to carry home a message as he lay dying.
Home recuperating from an injury suffered during the sinking of the
Britannic, Bess remembers the promise she made a while ago.
Determined to honor his request, she visits the Graham family.
Her message does not receive the welcome she expected. While
there, she helps the ill, serving a patient suffering from shell shock
and a case of pneumonia. Certain unsettling facts and reactions
to the sick lead her to investigate more deeply into the background
behind the message she came to deliver. Murder and family secrets
converge, leading Bess to ferret out the truth, honoring the duty she
pledged to Arthur Graham in spirit as well as deeds, a decision that
might cost her her life.
In A DUTY TO THE DEAD, mother
and son writing team, renowned for the Ian Rutledge series, now embark
on a new series featuring nurse Bess Crawford. Independent in
spirit, brave in the face of danger and a woman who speaks her mind,
Bess Crawford feels an obligation to her patients, not just to their
bodies but to soothe their spirit. For Bess, the mind is part of
the patient's health and the promise that she made to a dying man
haunts her, motivating her to go beyond what some would consider the
call of duty.
Charles Todd takes the reader into the heart of World War I through the
eyes of the first person narrative of a strong, independent
woman. Charles Todd does an excellent job in portraying the
dangers and emotions of those serving as medical personnel through the
setting of the hospital ship Britannic. Bess is a thoroughly
likable character both in herself and the story as she tells it.
Although the mystery seems obvious in the beginning, new discoveries
lead to somewhat surprising twists as she narrows down the clues.
The puzzling aspect of the case has enough puzzles to please mystery
lovers while the historical setting will please fans of WWI
literature. Fans of the Maisie Dobbs WWI series will enjoy this
debut of a new series, for the similarities but also for the
differences in tone. While both heed the psychological aspects of
WWI and indeed the psychological dimensions of their characters, A DUTY TO THE DEAD has more of a
traditional yet very exciting hunt for clues and connections. A DUTY TO THE DEAD is an engaging
historical mystery that begs reading in one sitting. A DUTY TO THE DEAD just gets more
and more enthralling with each page.
Publisher: William Morrow (August 25, 2009)
A Bess Crawford Mystery