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A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mysteries)

A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Charles Todd
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

“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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 671 KB
  • Print Length: 486 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061883697
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (25 Aug 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,928 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction for a new series. 9 Sep 2009
My first experience with the mother and son co-writing team known as Charles Todd came about when the Amazon Vine Program gave me the opportunity to read A Matter of Justice: An Inspector Rutledge Mystery back in December of 2008. I was well and truly hooked and have been buying and reading Inspector Rutledge mysteries ever since. When I saw that this book began a series with a new lead character I simply had to read it.

Bess Crawford is a British nurse aboard the hospital transport ship Britannic in 1916 when the ship hits a mine and sinks. Thankfully the ship was not carrying wounded on this portion of their journey or the loss of life would have been much higher. Bess sustains a broken arm made much more serious by assisting in the rescue of one of her fellow nurses. That, plus having to wait for some time to receive good medical treatment, made the break much more serious and therefore very slow to heal. Because she cannot return to duty quickly Bess decides that she can't put off any longer making good on the promise she had made on a previous voyage to Arthur Graham before he died. Arthur had requested that Bess personally deliver a message to one of his brothers at his home in the small village of Owlhurst in Kent. What follows is the story of Bess meeting Arthur's family and discovering that his half-brother has been locked away in an asylum because of a grisly murder he committed when he was 14 years old. The more people Bess meets the more unsure she becomes about exactly what Arthur Grahams message meant and whether his brother Jonathan intends to do anything about Arthur's request.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Maisie Dobbs... 12 Mar 2010
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
and make way for Elizabeth Crawford. Charles Todd - a mother/son writing team famous for their wonderful Ian Rutledge novels - have created a new character, Elizabeth (Bess) Crawford, a British nurse in WW1. The time frame of the Crawford novel is slightly earlier than that of the Rutledge novels. The Rutledge stories take place in the years after WW1, with some flashbacks to his time at war. Crawford is shown (at least so far) working during the war.

I'm not going to write a lot about the story, which is excellent, but rather about the writing. I've read most of Todd's Rutledge books and think the writing is absolutely first rate. That continues on to their second series of book. (I'm assuming the A Duty to the Dead is the first in a series and not a stand-alone novel).
There seems not to be a word out of place, a character introduced but not dealt with in the story, or any rambling. It's air-tight writing and editing. What I wonder about is if two writers, writing together, tend to edit each other's writing as they go along in their collaboration?

Todd's Bess Crawford compares favorably with Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs. Both are fully developed characters as defined - and refined - in their writers' words. Dobbs' London is post-WW1, moving into the 1930's. Both are well worth reading, as are Todd's earlier series, Ian Rutledge.

I'm looking forward to many more Bess Crawford novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - One has a duty to the dead 4 Jan 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER
First Sentence: At sea...the morning sun is lovely and warm.

Bess Crawford is an independent, upper-middle-call British gentlewoman who takes after her father. She became a nurse and travelled to the battlefields of France. On her way back to England aboard the Britannic, the ship strikes a mine and sinks. Bess suffers a badly broken arm but becomes fond of Lt. Arthur Graham who, right before dying, extracts a promise from her to deliver a message to his brother in England. Keeping that promise embroils her in a family surrounded by tragedy and secrets.

It is always interesting when an author you love begins a new series. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. In this case, it definitely worked.

Bess is a great new character. She is representative of many woman of her class; smart, independent; strong and with a belief that woman can be as capable as men. She has seen the results of war and knows the impact it has on the men who fight. It is also typical of the time that Bess is constantly asked whether she was in love with each young many of her acquaintance as people can't otherwise understand the courses of action she takes.

Todd provides a very strong sense of time and place with just a hint of a gothic feel. At the same time they make strong statements about the impact of war and the lack of understanding of those who stay at home. Their writing is very effective and can go straight to the emotions and the heart.

There were a couple small false steps. The story was a little slow getting started and Bess' reaction to the sinking of the ship seemed a bit too detached.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPELLING, ATMOSPHERIC, SUSPENSEFUL 20 Nov 2009
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
The mother and son writing team known as Charles Todd has written 11 highly acclaimed Ian Rutledge mysteries, each recognized for scrupulous attention to historic detail, careful plotting, well developed characters, and riveting psychological suspense. The same is true of A DUTY TO THE DEAD in which Todd introduces a new series featuring Bess Crawford.

While Bess lived in 1916 she's more than a match for any contemporary mystery heroine. The daughter of a highly principled and equally highly disciplined officer she inherited these qualities in large doses. It is 1916 and Bess follows in her father's footsteps by serving as a nurse in the Great War. During training she is cautioned about becoming too fond of her patients. "They are yours to comfort, yours to heal, but not yours to dream about." Nonetheless, Arthur Graham found a special place in her heart, and she made a deathbed promise to him, a vow to take a brief, rather cryptic message to his brother, Jonathan.

However, it is some time before she can keep that promise as when our story opens she is aboard the ill-fated hospital ship Britannic. Todd's description of the explosion that rocks the ship and the ensuing sinking is intense, gripping. Bess suffers a broken arm but does manage to find a place in a lifeboat and is eventually sent to England for recoveryr. It is then that she goes to Arthur's home in Kent.

While at first she is welcomed warmly Bess is astute; she recognizes a sorely fragmented family. There is Arthur's widowed mother, a domineering matriarch. Jonathan is a lieutenant who has suffered a facial wound, another brother, Timothy, who was born with a clubfoot and appears bitter because he could not join the service.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Long winded and uninspiring
For me, a dull and uninspiring book. As a period piece there is little to interest you and as a crime story, the investigation is so weak and the resolution so unconvincing and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Richard Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
This is an author I have just discovered and I absolutely love the setting - 1st World War - and the style of writing. A most engaging story and so realistic. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Susan Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I enjoyed this book. But found the descriptions rather tiresome. It felt very slow at times as if the author was feeling their way.
Published 10 months ago by C. N. Brentnall
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Another good read from Charles Todd, always able to take you back and put you into the story ***** Excellent
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!
Once again the weakness of the Todd writing team seems to be that they are unable to write an ending that isn't somewhat frenzied and also implausible. Read more
Published 15 months ago by H. Lacroix
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written
I bought this book having read a number of the "Inspector Rutledge" series by this author. It is set in the period of WW1 and I thoroughly enjoyed it, perhaps because Bess... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dorset customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Doesn't Come Alive
A Duty to the Dead," by New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, presumably begins a new historical mystery series, starring Bess Crawford. Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2010 by Stephanie De Pue
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‘Tell Jonathan that I lied. I did it for Mother’s sake. But it has to be set right.’” &quote;
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