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An Unmarked Grave
Bess Crawford # 4
Charles Todd

William Morrow
June 5, 2012 / ISBN 978-0062015723
Historical Suspense / World War I / Nurses

Reviewed by Bob Walch

In the spring of 1918 the Spanish Flu was responsible for as many deaths as the enemy on the French Front. Battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must deal with influenza patients as well as the steady stream of wounded who are brought to her hospital.

What Bess doesn't need is a further "complication" that goes beyond the ravages of disease and war, but that's what she's dealing with in this novel. Concealed among the dead awaiting burial, Bess stumbles upon the body of a man who has obviously been murdered. What's more, Bess recognizes the victim as not only a member of her father's former regiment but also a family friend.

Before she can report the grisly discovery the nurse falls victim to the deadly flu herself. By the time she recovers the corpse has been buried in an unmarked grave and the only other person who has seen the body and can corroborate what Bess saw is dead as well. Supposedly the man hanged himself but Bess isn't so sure.

Using her family's military connections, Bess launches her own private investigation to see that justice is done, but she's placed herself in grave jeopardy. As the only surviving witness to what happened, Bess is clearly in the sights of a determined individual who is going to make sure no one ever sheds light on his secret.

Launched in 2009, the Bess Crawford series has become an instant success. Set against the backdrop of the First World War, these novels not only explore life in this most difficult period and the challenges facing the battlefield doctors and nurses but they are also a very entertaining read.

I suspect it won't be long before Bess Crawford becomes the featured heroine in a series of BBC mysteries that will eventually be aired on this side of the Atlantic.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Duty to the Dead, #1  [review]
Impartial Witness, #2  [review]
Bitter Truth, #3   [review 1] [review 2]
An Unmarked Grave, #4
A Question of Honor #5  [review]
An Unwilling Accomplice #6  [review]
A Pattern of Lies #7 [review]
The Shattered Tree # 8 [review]


Reviewed 2012