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A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
“Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Readers who can’t get enough of Maisie Dobbs, the intrepid World War I battlefield nurse in Jacqueline Winspear’s novels…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
—New York Times Book Review
Charles Todd, author of the resoundingly acclaimed Ian Rutledge crime novels (“One of the best historical series being written today” —Washington Post Book World) debuts an exceptional new protagonist, World War I nurse Bess Crawford, in A Duty to the Dead. A gripping tale of perilous obligations and dark family secrets in the shadows of a nightmarish time of global conflict, A Duty to the Dead is rich in suspense, surprise, and the impeccable period atmosphere that has become a Charles Todd trademark.
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From the Inside Flap
Dedicated to helping the many wounded during the Great War, Bess Crawford receives a desperate request from a dying lieutenant while serving as a nurse aboard a hospital ship. Tell my brother Jonathan that I lied, the young man says. I did it for Mother's sake. But it has to be set right.
Back home in England, Bess receives an unexpected response from the dead soldier's family, for neither Jonathan Graham' his mother' nor his younger brother admit to understanding what the message means.
But the Grahams are harboring a grim secret, and Bess must, somehow, get to the bottom of it. It is her sacred duty to the dead, no matter how painful, or dangerous, that obligation might be.--Washington Times on A Duty to the Dead --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B002LUHYVU
- Publisher : William Morrow; Reprint edition (18 August 2009)
- Language : English
- File size : 747 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 352 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 177,670 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Bess, a nursing sister (WW1) returns to England after her hospital ship is sunk. She is recovering from a broken arm and while on sick leave takes the opportunity to visit the family of an officer who died whilst under her care. Before dying, this officer entrusted her with a very important message to one of his brothers, and the delivery of this message becomes a sacred duty for Bess. As the story unfolds she spends her time between London and parts of the South East saving lives, following up clues, hunting for witnesses and trying to put right the effects of a great injustice.
Overall, the plot is too busy, and seems to have been written with an eye to fast camera work- shifts between scenes- small pieces of the truth being revealed - onto the next location for the next revelation. Characters are uneven. We get unnecessary details about some minor characters, but major characters are left half drawn and their actions/motivation seem unreal or contrived.
The main male character, Peregrine, is completely unbelievable. For some reason, he was not loved by his mother, was considered to be educationally subnormal as a child, kept separate from his siblings, was prone to fits of violence, murdered a young servant, was incarcerated in a lunatic asylum- the list goes on. As the story rattles on, we find that his family has conspired against him so that he only APPEARS to have been these things. In fact, after years kept isolated and sedated in the asylum, he manages to trace our heroine by reading her address from an envelope, outwits his doctor, escapes from the asylum and tracks her to her digs in London (where he successfully evades the eagle-eyed landlady)!
Minor irritations such as an Edwardian child remembering eating "milk and cookies", the use of the Americanese "gotten" and "I could use" only serve to add to the general feeling that this is not a well-crafted book. In another writer's hands It could probably be the basis for a mini-series on t.v. or a film, but as it stands, this book just isn't well-written enough to deliver a satisfying story.