Though the Great War has ended, Bess Crawford finds herself caught in deadly circumstances on a remote Welsh headland in this tenth entry from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author.
The fighting has ended, the Armistice signed, but the war has left wounds that are still agonizingly raw. Battlefield Nurse Bess Crawford has been assigned to a clinic for amputees, and the Welsh patients worry her. She does her best to help them, but it’s clear that they have nothing to go home to, in a valley where only the fit can work in the coal pits. When they are released, she fears that peace will do what war couldn’t—take their lives.
Their officer, Captain Williams, writes to describe their despair, and his own at trying to save his men. Bess feels compelled to look into their situation, but the Army and the clinic can do nothing. Requesting leave, she quietly travels to Wales, and that bleak coal mining village, but she is too late.
Captain Williams’ sister tells Bess he has left the valley. Bess is afraid he intends to kill himself. She follows him to an isolated, storm-battered peninsula—a harsh and forgotten place where secrets and death go hand in hand. Deserted by her frightened driver, Bess is stranded among strangers suspicious of outsiders. She quickly discovers these villagers are hiding something, and she’s learned too much to be allowed to leave. What’s more, no one in England knows where she is.
Why is there no Constable out here? And who is the mysterious Ellen? Captain Williams and his brother’s widow are her only allies, and Bess must take care not to put them at risk as she tries to find answers. But there is a murderer here who is driven to kill again and again. And the next person in his sights is Simon Brandon, searching for Bess and unaware of his danger. . . .
WWI has finally ended in Mary Higgins Clark Award winner Todd's memorable 10th mystery featuring British nurse Bess Crawford (after 2017's A Casualty of War). Despite the conclusion of the fighting, Bess still has plenty of soldiers to tend to at a hospital in France in particular, a group of Welsh soldiers, whose serious injuries make their future employment doubtful. When she's reassigned to a clinic back in England, Bess is reunited with the Welshmen, only to find several of them suicidal. Following their discharge, their leader, Capt. Hugh Williams, writes to inform her that one of the privates took his own life, and to ask for help to avert future suicides. She uses some leave to seek Williams out, ending up in a desolate and isolated town on the Welsh coast, where he's suspected of his own brother's murder. His warning that it's not safe for Bess to remain there proves prescient. The atmosphere of the claustrophobic community Bess is trapped in is palpable as Todd (the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd) expertly ratchets up the suspense.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Super slow, meandering start
I usually love this author and the Bess Crawford Mysteries, but the first 1/3 of the book was painfully slow and seemed to have a social agenda rather than laying the groundwork for a great story.