Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd has the main character
Bess Crawford deeply involved in solving a “who done
it.” As with all the books, this strong female nurse
is put in a situation where she has to help solve a case that
is always surrounded in mystery. An added bonus is learning
what it was like living during the World War I era.
In this book, readers are immersed in the culture of 1918.
This includes how the medical profession began to use specialists,
and how prisoners were not allowed to see their families,
a decision determined by the police.
The plot begins with Bess assigned to accompany a convoy of
wounded soldiers to a hospital specializing in internal wounds.
Nurse Bess Crawford is left stranded when her train is detained
in the small town of Canterbury, Kent. While strolling, she
sees a former patient, Major Mark Ashton, who insists she
stay with him and his family. It is here she finds out two
years earlier, the family business (a gunpowder factory) exploded,
causing more than 100 deaths. Though the official investigation
ruled out sabotage, rumor has it that Mark’s father,
Philip, was responsible. Bess finds herself caught up in a
malicious show of hostility, including how the family was
terrorized and a whisper campaign blaming Philip, which leads
to his arrest. Bess risks her life to find out the truth of
what happened behind the explosion.
This is a book about revenge. The most interesting part of
the story is when the authors explore the mob mentality, as
the townspeople attempt to create a believable truth. The
campaign of terror includes the police and ranges from subtle
to outright viciousness. The Todds commented that they wanted
to convey how “people are eager to find someone to point
a finger to, and wanted a scapegoat. People wanted answers
and someone to blame considering the explosion took away the
town’s economic livelihood and many lives.”
A Pattern of Lies has a very interesting plot based
upon the true event of the 1916 Oare Gunpowder Works explosion
in Kent. Readers will enjoy how the authors weave into the
storyline historical insight of the time period.
The Todds also gave a heads up about their future projects.
Coming out in September in print form will by a short anthology,
Tales, which include two Bess Crawford and two Detective Ian
Rutledge stories. Their next Bess book will bring back the
American, Captain Thomas Barclay. Fans should look forward
to this since the chemistry and interaction between the two
characters makes for a lively plot. The next Rutledge book,
also based on a true story, will take place in Cornwall, England
where the detective must sort out if four young women actually
Charles Todd is a mother /son team of writers
Reviews of other titles in this series
to the Dead, #1 [review]
Impartial Witness, #2 [review]
Bitter Truth, #3 [review
Unmarked Grave, #4 [review]
A Question of Honor #5 [review]
An Unwilling Accomplice #6 [review]
A Pattern of Lies #7 [review]
The Shattered Tree # 8 [review]