Friday, September 2, 2016


    It’s always a pleasure when a new Bess Crawford Mystery comes across my desk.  The mother and son writing team of Charles Todd have created an unforgettable character in Bess - she is a World War I battlefield nurse who always responds to the gravest situations with courage and compassion.  She is intelligent, capable, blessed with a sense of humor and perhaps most of all for the reader thoroughly likable.  One closes each book in the series eager for the next.

    With The Shattered Tree Bess must become patient rather than care giver when a sniper’s bullet shoots her in the side while she is in the trenches.  Perhaps she had been thinking of something that happened two weeks past but continues to trouble her.  At an aid station in France in October of 1918 Bess saw an unidentified French soldier yell in fluent German in response to an attack by another patient.  When Bess reports this to her matron she is told that the Frenchman may be from German speaking Alsace-Lorraine.  Bess has tried to put the incident out of her mind when she is shot and sent to Paris to recuperate.

    Once there Bess is surprised to see the Frenchman again.  But what can she do in a strange city with no one to hel?.  Can she alone pursue the man’s identity?  Those who know her are well aware that she cannot simply keep quiet.  If this man is not a Frenchman to whom or what he is he loyal?  Bess knowingly places herself in peril when she confronts evil.

    Once again Charles Todd has given us an absorbing historical mystery rich with details, suspense and surprises.


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