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An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford Mysteries) Paperback – 1 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reissue edition (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061791792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061791796
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Pub Date: 2011-08-16 Pages: 368 Language: English Publisher: HarperCollins US World War I nurse Bess Crawford. introduced in A Duty to the Dead. returns in an exciting new mystery in which a murder draws her inexorably into the sights of a cunning killer It is the early summer of 1917. Bess Crawford has returned to England from the trenches of France with a convoy of severely wounded men. One of her patients is a young pilot who has been burned beyond recognition. and who clings to life and the photo of his wife that is pinned to his tunic. While passing through a London train station. Bess notices a woman bidding an emotional farewell to an officer. her grief heart-wrenching. And then Bess realizes that she seems familiar. In fact . shes the woman in the pilots photo. but the man she is seeing off is not her husband. Back on duty in France. Bess discovers a newspaper with a...

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
"An Impartial Witness," is second in the new Bess Crawford British mystery series by New York Times best selling author, Charles Todd. Todd is the author of twelve popular Ian Rutledge British mysteries, set in the United Kingdom after World War I, and one stand-alone novel. But Charles Todd, of course, is an American mother-son duo: she resident in Delaware; he--who is actually Charles Todd-- in North Carolina.

Bess Crawford is a battlefield British World War I nurse, whom we met, in A Duty to the Dead: A Bess Crawford Mystery, aboard H.M.S. Britannic as it was being sunk by the Germans. The new series was, of course, immediately compared to Jacqueline Winspear's novels about Maisie Dobbs, intrepid battlefield World War I nurse, and Anne Perry's novels about Hester Latterly, one of the first nurses, who saw action in the Crimean War, with Florence Nightingale, the first non-camp follower nurse. However, I thought the attempt at an exciting opening set-piece didn't work, did not much care for "A Duty," and did not think it measured up to these other series. But "Impartial Witness" is a much better book.

It opens to find Bess tending soldiers in the trenches of France during the earlier days of World War I, before the entry of the United States into the war, when Britain fought Germany substantially alone. Bess, however, is sent back to England in summer 1917, with a convoy of seriously-injured patients. One, a young pilot with disfiguring burns, has held onto a photo of his wife in his long convalescence: Bess has noticed it many times, become familiar with the face.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: As my train pulled into London, I looked out at the early summer rain and was glad to see the dreary day had followed me from Hampshire.

WWI battlefield nurse Bess Crawford cared for a badly burned young pilot who had a picture of his wife visibly displayed. In a train station traveling on leave back to London, Bess happens to see the wife who is clearly upset as she sees off a different soldier. Although somewhat perplexed by the scene, it is nothing to the shock Bess feels when a drawing of the woman appears in the next day's paper with Scotland Yard asking whether someone can identify her. Bess learns the woman had been murdered and shortly after, the burned husband commits suicide. Bess feels it is her responsible to find out what had happened.

This is the 2nd book in this new series by the Todd's and I much preferred it to the first book.

Their voice for Bess is much better and she's a stronger character. The sense of chaos and fatigue from being in combat is well conveyed, but with a sense of detachment I feel one would acquire after time. The contrast between the battlefield and being in London, particularly attending the house party, is very effective. I like that Bess doesn't jump to conclusions but gathers the evidence bit-by-bit and over time.

The plot was well constructed and the reason for Bess being involved was justifiable. Although I understood Beth's distance from the events, it did all feel a bit too distant as a reader; I was never emotionally connected to the story.

While I never considered not finishing the book, for me it wasn't a gripping straight-through read either. That said, Todd is an excellent writer and I always look forward to the next book.

AN IMPARTIAL WITNESS (Ama Sleu-Bess Crawford-England/France-1917/WWI) - G+
Todd, Charles - 2nd in series
HarperCollins, ©2010, ARC - Hardcover ISBN: 9780061791789
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An Impartial Witness is the sequel to A duty to the Dead and I was eager to read this book since this series has become a favorite of mine.

It's the early summer of 1917 and Bess Crawford is returning home from the trenches of France with a convoy of wounded men. One of the patient is Lt. Meriwether Evanson, a pilot who has been burned beyond recognition and he clings to life much thanks to his wife Marjorie whose picture he has pinned to his tunic. But Bess notices a woman on a London train station that is bidding farewell to an officer and she recognize the women. It's the pilots wife. But the man isn't her husband. She then discovers back on duty in France that the woman has been murdered and Scotland Yard is asking for information from anyone that saw her that day.

Bess informs the police about what she knows, but it's not enough information since she can describe the man the woman was with, but she doesn't know who he is and soon she starts her own inquiry to learn who killed Marjorie. But it's a frustrating case, and it seems that the killer may be getting away with murder and send an innocent man to the gallows.

I felt that this book was not as engrossing to read as the first book, still very good, but there were moments in the book when I felt that the pacing was a bit slow and I wanted the story to progress a little bit faster. Not that the story was bad, I mean there were several people in the book that could have been the murderer and it wasn't like I guessed right away who it was. I found the story picked up speed towards the end when a man that Bess had befriended was accused of murder and she had to fight to clear his name. Then, the story got more intense and I loved the ending.
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