In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford attempts to save a troubled former soldier from a mysterious killer in this eleventh book in the beloved Bess Crawford mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.
The Armistice of November 1918 ended the fighting, but the Great War will not be over until a Peace Treaty is drawn up and signed by all parties. Representatives from the Allies are gathering in Paris, and already ominous signs of disagreement have appeared.
Sister Bess Crawford, who has been working with the severely wounded in England in the war’s wake, is asked to carry out a personal mission in Paris for a Matron at the London headquarters of The Queen Alexandra’s.
Bess is facing decisions about her own future, even as she searches for the man she is charged with helping. When she does locate Lawrence Minton, she finds a bitter and disturbed officer who has walked away from his duties at the Peace Conference and is well on his way toward an addiction to opiates. When she confronts him with the dangers of using laudanum, he tells her that he doesn’t care if he lives or dies, as long as he can find oblivion. But what has changed him? What is it that haunts him? He can’t confide in Bess—because the truth is so deeply buried in his mind that he can only relive it in nightmares. The officers who had shared a house with him in Paris profess to know nothing—still, Bess is reluctant to trust them even when they offer her their help. But where to begin on her own?
What is driving this man to a despair so profound it can only end with death? The war? Something that happened in Paris? To prevent a tragedy, she must get at the truth as quickly as possible—which means putting herself between Lieutenant Minton and whatever is destroying him. Or is it whoever?
About the Author
Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. Among the honors accorded to the Ian Rutledge mysteries are the Barry Award and nominations for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s Dilys Award, the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the U.S., and the John Creasey Award in the UK. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bess Crawford returns in the eleventh novel in this series. The book opens with Bess being recalled to London to speak with the Matron of The Queen Alexandra’s London headquarters. She’s sure she’s being summoned to be told her services will no longer be needed. Instead, the Matron wants Bess to undertake a personal mission to find her son. Lawrence Minton is one of Britain’s representatives at the peace talks taking place in Paris to officially end WWI. But Lawrence is missing, no longer at his residence, no longer attending the peace talks. It doesn’t take Bess long to find him hiding out in the small town of St. Ives with a family friend. Nor does it take long for Bess to determine he’s addicted to laudanum. In order to get Lawrence out of his down-ward spiral toward death, Bess must find out what’s haunting him and who or what is frightening him. Even though this is the eleventh novel in this excellent series, you need not to have read the first ten books to read this book because it reads like a stand-alone novel. Once again, the Charles Todd (a mother-son writing team) have written a seamless book so well told you’ll find yourself immersed in it from the first page to the last. Bess remains a steady presence while the chaos of WWI remains at hand—there continues to be food shortages, gas shortages, and, of course, grief for those men who fell on the fields of battle. Todd’s descriptions of the aftermath of war are well-drawn and those who survived the war are described in detail so the reader understands that to have survived the war is not always a war won. If you are fan of Charles Todd and Bess Crawford, you will love this entry in the series. If you are only now discovering them, you’ll find yourself wanting to read the series in its entirety. Regardless of which you are, this book will have you reading into the wee hours of the morning, and it deserves to be at the top of your to-be-read list. Thanks to Morrow and Edelweiss for an eARC.