Read An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd Online


“A wonderful new mystery series that will let us see the horrors of World War I through the eyes of Bess Crawford, battlefield nurse.”—Margaret Maron“Readers who can’t get enough of Jacqueline Winspear’s novels, or Hester Latterly, who saw action in the Crimean War in a series of novels by Anne Perry, are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”—New York“A wonderful new mystery series that will let us see the horrors of World War I through the eyes of Bess Crawford, battlefield nurse.”—Margaret Maron“Readers who can’t get enough of Jacqueline Winspear’s novels, or Hester Latterly, who saw action in the Crimean War in a series of novels by Anne Perry, are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”—New York Times Book ReviewThe critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of the Ian Rutledge mystery series, Charles Todd once again spotlights World War I nurse Bess Crawford in An Unmarked Grave. Gripping, powerful, and evocative, this superb mystery masterwork unfolds during the deadly Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, as Bess discovers the body of a murdered British officer among the many dead and sets out to unmask a craven killer....

Title : An Unmarked Grave
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062127013
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

An Unmarked Grave Reviews

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    2019-04-19 03:45

    The year is 1918 and the Spanish flu epidemic is rampaging, killing both soldiers and civilians. Battlefield nurse Bess Crawford and the rest of the nurses and doctors are swamped with patients. But, then Bess discovers that among the dead bodies are the body of a murdered officer that used to serve in her father's former regiment. However, she falls ill in the terrible flu herself before she can report it...The Bess Crawford series has quickly become a favorite of mine. One of the reason is that I find Bess Crawford to be a competent young woman that happens to stumble over problems now and then. Like this time where she must find out who killed an officer that she knew and respected. But, she has also just been terribly ill, the body of the dead man is buried and the only other witness to it has hanged himself. So, there isn't much to go on. But, she won't give up, and luckily she has Simon Brandon and Captain Barclay, a Yankee with a poor knee to help her.This is the first book in this series that I just couldn't find myself really engrossed with. It could be because of the absence of my favorite Aussie, but I think that most of the problem lies in the fact that the case just doesn't draw me in. I don't say that the book was bad, it was just not memorable. I definitely felt that when I started to write the review and for a moment was I at a loss to why the man, in the beginning, was killed. The conclusion of the book was just not that thrilling.Thankfully, Bess makes this book worth the while, she is still a strong and interesting character despite the rather lackluster storyline. There are those that favor a romantic relationship between her and Simon, but I just don't see it. For me, he is an older brother. Then again, this may because I have already in my mind a perfect candidate for her heart. And, that's Sergeant Larimore who is mostly tragically absent from this book. The books most precious parts are when she arrives back in France and he is there to greet here and Bess learning that he is the one that alerted Bess mother that she was ill.Read this review and others on A Bookaholic Swede

  • Mairita (Marii grāmatplaukts)
    2019-04-05 04:29

    Šoreiz daudz spriedzes, slepkavību un skriešanās ar laiku. Bija labi, lai gan pārsteidza motīvs, gaidīju ko citu.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-31 06:34

    Having read the previous three in the series, I can definitely say that this one is the weakest in the bunch. I always enjoy the historical details - Todd can definitely deliver on behind-the-scenes action of WII - but the rest of the mystery was barely serviceable. After one too many coincidences (a man she runs into in a barn is just the exact one she's been looking for, out of all of the millions fighting in Europe), I almost gave up. The killer, of course, always stayed one step ahead of Bess; even while he was posing as a soldier, he apparently had all sorts of magical ways to stay undetected. And Bess seems to attract all of these men who will take on danger to either protect her or help her find information (and she doesn't have to really do anything to gain or keep their loyalty).Finally, the motivation behind the "serial" killings was weak, and had almost nothing to do with the rest of the plot. I'm not convinced I'll read another (yet).

  • LJ
    2019-04-16 23:38

    First Sentence: I stopped just outside the ward and leaned my head against the cool wood of the doorframe.WWI is raging but it is influenza that battlefield nurse, Bess Crawford, and others which is killing off soldiers. In the midst of the dead is a man whose death isn’t from either war or illness; he’s been murdered and Bess recognizes him. Those who’ve seen the body start to die in ways that seem natural. Before Bess can do anything, she also succumbs to the flu and is sent back to England, but that doesn’t stop her determination to find out who killed the man and why.The story begins with a powerful and effective opening relating to the impact of the influenza epidemic in the midst of war. What sets the Todds apart is the ability to describe an horrific scene, conveying all the impact, but without going into graphic detail. By contrast, you truly can feel the love and caring that Bess and her family have for one another. It’s also nice to see the progression, albeit very slow progression, of the relationship between Bess and Simon, her father’s bagman.There is a large collection of characters, but they weren’t confusing. The Todds have truly captured the dedication of the war-time nurses and the contrast of their lives from being on the battlefield and when they return to England, remember that most of the nurses came from the upper classes “An Unmarked Grave” may be the best in the series, so far. There is drama, intensity and some excellent red herrings. AN UNMARKED GRAVE (Hist Mys-Bess Crawford-France/England-1918) – VG+Todd, Charles – 4th in seriesWilliam Morrow, June 2012

  • Spitz
    2019-03-29 07:36

    Well written and rich in historical detail and atmosphere, as always. But the plot was a complete shambles.

  • Lauren
    2019-03-30 23:24

    An Unmarked Grave3.5 StarsAt the height of the Influenza epidemic of 1918, combat nurse Bess Crawford must contend not only with the wounded and the sick, but with the sudden appearance of an unidentified body among those slated for burial. In the aftermath of her own bout with illness, Bess works with her father's connections to collect evidence and unmask a lethal killer who will stop at nothing to fulfill his mission.The Bess Crawford mysteries is well-written and entertaining. The historical descriptions of the Spanish 'flu and the wartime conditions both at home and at the front are detailed and interesting. Nevertheless, the book does require a healthy suspension of disbelief to accept that the heroine can go traipsing all over France during WWI.The mystery has two possible explanations. While the first option makes more sense based on the details presented throughout the story, the ultimate resolution lacks foundation and foreshadowing, and ends up being convoluted, contrived and lacking in believability. In terms of the characters, Bess is a likable heroine, but she can be somewhat haughty and imperious. Moreover, the possibility of a romance with Simon Brandon remains frustratingly underdeveloped even though there are some intriguing insights into his past service in India. In sum, this is not the best book in the series mainly due to the weak mystery. That said, the atmospheric setting and potential for character and relationship development will keep me reading.

  • Joanne
    2019-04-07 06:24

    Yay, a new Charles Todd mystery featuring Bess Crawford, the WW1 nurse. Here she's battling the Spanish influenza at the front when one of the orderlies alerts her to a dead body unlike the others. Turns out she knows him - he was in her father's regiment - but she comes down with the Flu herself, and by the time she's better, she's back in England and too far away to do anything about it. Except - she does. Back and forth between France and England, and interviewing various people who might have had a grudge against the victim.Seems that there was a perfectly serviceable plot possibility with the first victim's special assignment to Intelligence Work. Murdering two or three additional people for the sake of espionage would have been somewhat believable. The eventual lunatic killer, killing simply because some woman threw him over, does not. Fie, fie, fie. And the idea that Bess just *happens* to run into one of her suspects in France, in a deserted barn, out of the thousands or hundreds of thousand of people who must have been there, is just ridiculous. So I didn't like the ending at all. Tiresome.

  • Val Sanford
    2019-04-04 04:40

    I ate this book up right until the climax when Bess uncovers the devilish fiend trying to kill her. The plot tie-in came right out of left field. I'm sorry, but I think it's poor sport to not include ANY clues (that I could find, I realize) to who might be the killer and why they were killing. The obscure references to a 3rd party doing something that might be 'connected' were way to veiled and way-to obscure. Perhaps I should have said: Wait1 this doesn't belong and aha I now know why. But even if I had said and done those things, I still could never have guessed.The mother-son team of Charles Todd paints an incredibly rich and realistic portrait of France and England at the end of WWI. The affections, character flaws and dimensionality of the people who walk across the pages are superb. The story is compelling, but like Bess, we are in the dark until the end. That bothered me. Of course, I stayed up way to late to finish it, which will tell you how much I really enjoyed watching Bess and Simon and a Yank ferret out a cold-blooded murder and possible German spy. (not a spoiler).

  • Mary Ronan Drew
    2019-03-29 04:17

    An Unmarked Grave starts out with a dramatic scene in which Private Wilson, an orderly in the nursing station where Sister Crawford is working, asks her to come to the shed in which dead bodies are kept before burial. He wants to show her a man whose body that is improperly wrapped and who appears to Wilson to have been murdered. His neck has been broken and his body is with those of victims of the Spanish Influenza, not with those who died from war wounds. Bess recognizes him as a family friend, Captain Carson, and promises to tell the Matron about it as soon as the woman wakes from her nap. . . .To see the rest of my review go to my blog at:

  • Kim
    2019-03-30 01:44

    This was good! It was better than I thought it would be. I will have to look for the others in the series.

  • Laura
    2019-04-22 02:45

    I really wanted to like this series and this book but now I feel as if I have to simply break up with it. I was very interested in this book in particular because it dealt with the Spanish Flu, something I'm quite interested in. But the story was very lacking. What detective work was Bess doing? The detective work I did see was done by a secondary character, Simon and we never see the story from his eyes. very disappointed.

  • Mary
    2019-03-29 02:43

    An Unmarked Grave, although fourth in the Bess Crawford Mystery series, was my introduction to the mother-son writing team that is Charles Todd. Upon learning of this duo, I was intrigued by the pairing. How interesting that mother and son choose to write as one. I have two grown sons but they do not share my love of books. I have a hard time imagining writing anything with either. Caroline and Charles Todd have combined their love of history, literature, and mysteries and created two very successful series, the first being the Inspector Rutledge series, published in 1996, titled A Test of Wills. Both series are centered around the Great War, WWI. Inspector Rutledge is a Scotland Yard detective. In the second series, Bess Crawford is a highly trained British army nurse and, like the Todds, loves a good mystery. So, why am I, a very OCD reader, starting with the fourth book in a well developed series? *Thankfully, I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and was provided with the opportunity to get started with a series I've been longing to read. Gotta start somewhere, right? As a newbie to the world of Bess Crawford I really don't have a lot of knowledge about her story as a whole. Jumping in at the middle is not usually my thing and I should probably mention, based on what I've read here, it's best to start at the bestselling-beginning. I wouldn't consider this a standalone because there are well developed characters and I'm not certain of everyone's intentions. For example, there is a fella named Simon Brandon who is very protective of Bess. While I can ascertain Simon and Bess are close, how close are they? Crawford's father is a high ranking officer, which is essential to the character of Bess. It's easier to move around and gather intelligence when one's father has certain privileges but, again, I know very little about his service to country. There is quite a bit of referencing to India. I'm assuming the Crawfords once lived there, which would probably be the reason Bess refers to her father as 'the Colonel Sahib'. Now, does any of this detract from the storyline? No. I'm simply telling you this, dear reader, just in case you were wondering if this was indeed a standalone. Oft times, a particular book in a series can be read as a standalone. Just start with the first volume. I've heard phenomenal things about THAT book. I very much enjoyed THIS book though. Todd gives a wonderful description of the English countryside, from Cheddar Gorge to Fowey, and I've now discovered new places to visit. It was just as easy to place myself in Rouen, following closely behind Bess as she tracked down the killer(s). The Todds have extensive knowledge of WWI and their love for England can be felt in every page. This story portrays Bess as an independent force to be reckoned with. She's a great heroine with a brilliant mind. Readers that seek a strong female character will admire Ms. Crawford. However, I felt she was all business here and I'd like to see a softer side of Bess. I look forward to continuing this series and getting to know Bess Crawford. She lives in an age that I want to explore. I've read many books that use WWII as a backdrop. It's time to familiarize myself with the Great War. I'm ready. I purchased a signed copy (Both Todds signed it as Charles Todd) of A Duty to the Dead and the reviews for this first book are glowing. I think I've found an author I'm really going to love. "I couldn't turn down my orders. They had been cut, and even the Colonel Sahib, as my mother and I called him, would find it difficult to cancel them now. I should have to make the best of it, go to France and do what I did so well: help save lives."Bess Crawford, nurse extraordinaire, is knee-deep in wounded soldiers, just outside the trenches of the battlefield. The Spanish Influenza epidemic in the spring of 1918 is cutting down soldiers and entire families. Caring for the battered, bloody soldiers is taking its toll on the doctors and nurses. The epidemic is deadlier than a battlefield and does not discriminate. Bess does her best to comfort the dying and diseased. She's one of the best nurses in her field but even Bess is not immune. Shortly before falling ill, Bess believes she is witness to a cover up. Bess is alerted to an officer lying amongst the dead waiting for burial. The officer's death has been reported as killed in action but his body indicates murder. Fighting for her life in more ways than one, Bess is surrounded by mayhem and death. Having looked into the cold, calculating eyes of a killer, Bess resolves to uncover the truth and give the dead their due. " I looked down at the little pistol. Nurses were not permitted to carry weapons, but this time, remembering my feeling of helplessness when that arm had come around my throat and how lucky I was that I'd been able to kick the water pail, then scream, I touched it with my fingertips and then settled it carefully in the pocket of my uniform."For more information about this author:*I won an ARC through the Goodreads giveaway and sincerely wish to thank Harper Collins Publishers.

  • Michelle L
    2019-04-10 07:21

    Bess Crawford, battle-field nurse, WWI, and her circle (military/espionage father, his former batman, and her sturdily supportive mother), are the kind of stiff upper lip, upper class Brits who in other fiction would be the unsympathetic, "We just carry on" types. But in this Girl's Own Adventure school of historic female detective (amateur) they are our heroines and heroes. And quite enjoyable, especially with a glass of fizzy lemonade and some light bites close at hand. You could do worse to pleasantly while away a couple of reading sessions.It's fun to compare this series with Todd's other series featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge, because they are opposites with nearly mathematical precision. Not just because of the sex and professional differences between the two protagonists, either. Tho' both are products of WWI, Rutledge, suffering from PTSD, is a highly introspective man struggling existentially with every wonderfully convoluted mystery sent his way, not to mention his heavy guilt over the execution of his sergeant on the battlefield. Bess on the other hand, is bothered by only a modicum of an interior life, very little intellect (tho' intelligent) and the almost total self-assurance of her class. And there's always a man to get her over the worst, or to even the playing field for her. And very good at bossing them she is! Poor Rutledge's women just make his life worse.Both series are a history buff's treat. World War One is explored, or shown, in different aspects with what seems fine accuracy. The Rutledge series is more demanding and thoughtful; but we all need picnicking in our lives too, and Bess (you can guess her stolid qualities by that name) provides it.

  • Michael
    2019-04-02 07:27

    In a military ward in France in 1918, the Spanish Influenza is killing as many soldiers as are dying in battle. The medical staff tries their best but as some of them also succomb to the disease, it appears to be a losing battle as more and more bodies are carried out to await burial.Battlefield nurse Bess Crawford is asked by an orderly to look at one of the bodies. She sees Maj. Carson has been murdered and recognizes him as a family friend. Before she can report it, she's a victim to the disease and evacuated to England.Being a courageous person, when she returns to France, she tries to inquire about the man's death. Back in England she had been told that the major died from shrapnal wounds. She is informed that the orderly who informed her about Maj. Carson became depressed and committed suicide.Bess won't let this sit because she understands human reactions and the orderly didn't seem like a person who would committ suicide. To get answers, she uses her persuasive ability and visits people in England when she's on leave. She wants to see if what happened in France made sense. Unknowingly, she also becomes a target.The story is well written and painstakingly plotted with some surprises and keen psychological insights into the characters.

  • Shorty
    2019-04-01 00:40

    A slightly more messy novel, narrated by the same woman. And either I'm not able to concentrate on something more than easy, or this novel was a mess..... I'm just not sure.Too many people, too much running around, and I kept finding myself not paying attention for a while. It got confusing, fast. I may take a break from this series for a while.3 stars.

  • Simone St James
    2019-04-04 01:17

    The mystery itself isn't explained in enough detail in this one... but, my gosh, the scenes at the front in World War I are amazing. They are not battle scenes, but a portrait of life behind the lines - the medical tents, the supply lorries, the chaos. Incredibly detailed and absorbing. Also, Bess needs a love interest, stat :)

  • Carol
    2019-04-06 07:39

    I enjoyed this book

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-04-05 03:33

    Fourth in the Bess Crawford mystery series set in World War I and revolving around Bess Crawford, one of the nursing sisters helping on the front in the spring of 1918. My TakeDang, it's just not safe anywhere with Bess Crawford around! Fortunately, she's not one to sit back. Between rescuing and protecting and investigating on both sides of the Channel, all the influence that Bess' father and Simon have comes in very handy.I do enjoy Todd's characters and the homeyness he creates, yes, even on a battlefield! Todd brings the time period to life in its manners, expectations, and dialog. There are some aspects to the time that I can appreciate. There are others that are simply too bizarre!There are some loose bits in this particular story. Just how is the order that puts Bess in danger set up? Dr. Hicks claims he checked it out, but with all the paperwork that the army requires, I can't believe this move was set up this easily. Wait just a minute...Captain Carson? I thought he was a major? And how does the Prince of Wales fit in with the worry about German spies. I do wish Todd hadn't put so many Julias in this story. What was the point of bringing in Mrs. Campbell's divorce? Yes, divorce is, omigod, the kiss of death socially, but for the little dribs that Todd drops I just don't see the point.The StoryAs if the horror of war isn't enough. As if these men aren't suffering enough, the Spanish influenza hits Europe and the battlefront. Doctors, nurses, soldiers, all are dying from this plague. But this flu is still not as insidious as the man who murders so many for his own purposes. Her father has warned her of German spies and Bess is well aware that men will also murder for revenge. When those around Bess are murdered, even she begins to exercise a caution.The CharactersBess Crawford is a young woman who understands the responsibility of duty. Her father, Colonel Sahib, and her mother have raised Bess with the regiment and she is fully aware of the men who have passed through it. Her own honor demands that she aid the wounded, her nursing skill requires that she do so on the front lines. Sergeant-Major Simon Brandon was her father's batman and retired, technically, from the regiment when her father did. Technically.Private Wilson is holding up under all of it. The influenza. The sorrow of having to bury all these promising young men. Yet, never did Bess believe he was depressed. Nor does his wife, Joyce Wilson, believe he would commit suicide.Dr. Gaines is the doctor in charge of the convalescent clinic in Somerset. Captain Thomas Barclay is recovering there and is too eager to return to battle. Or play the role of bodyguard. Trelawney is one of the Colonel's men, assigned to drive Bess on her undercover mission. Lucky for Bess that Captain Grayson knows her so well.Major Vincent Carson was a promising soldier. A man whom Colonel Sahib thought would one day lead the regiment. Colonel Prescott wrote the letter to his widow, Julia, informing her of his death. Sabrina Carson, the major's sister, married to please herself and not her family. It's quite possible that her husband's family took revenge for the slight. William Morton, her husband, has six other brothers in the war, some of whom could have done it. Hugh, David, Llewellyn, young Ross, and the twins with Ross Morton their father trying to run the farm on his own. With the tremendous numbers of men dying in this misled war, it's not that surprising that those idiots in charge finally realized that they shouldn't take every son in a family. It's too bad they didn't figure this out in this war!The Cover and TitleThe cover is Bess in her nursing uniform of a dark dress and the white apron, its straps criss-crossing in the back. Bess is standing in front of a window, her back to us, holding a paper, lost in thought.The title is too accurate as Bess falls ill within hours of finding Major Carson who will find his final resting place in An Unmarked Grave.

  • Becky
    2019-04-10 02:33

    While working as a nurse at a field hospital in France, a startling discovery is brought to Bess's attention: an orderly has found a suspicious body amongst the dead. He's certain that it doesn't belong and a second check of his counts confirms. What's more, the body is unmarked with the exception of an obviously broken neck, leaving both Bess and the orderly concerned. It would seem the dead man was slipped in amongst the other bodies in the hopes that someone could cover it up. What makes it more shocking is that Bess recognizes the dead man as a member of her father's old unit. Before she can inquire or raise any alarms, Bess becomes the latest victim of Spanish Influenza. When she recovers, she fears it was all a dream. That is until the soldier's wife receives notification of his death. But the letter claims the man died on the front, which means his body would never have been at the field hospital at all. Furthermore, it claims he was hit by shrapnel with no mention of a broken neck. Unfortunately, while Bess was ill the orderly died under suspicious circumstances. Now Bess is the only one with any knowledge of the misplaced body. Though this was my first Bess Crawford (and my first Charles Todd), I had no trouble at all diving in mid-series. The story seems to fare well on its own and I didn't feel as though I was missing any information pertinent to this particular installment. I was aware that I was missing a lot of backstory but if I didn't know this was the fourth in the series, I doubt I would have noticed in the least.Bess is a truly engaging character. In my opinion she comes across both as a believable heroine of her time but also, considering her sensibilities, appealing to a modern reader. She's clever and determined as well as being a formidable young lady. In spite of being knocked over by the flu and the apparent danger of her knowledge of a murder, she's unwilling to forgo her responsibilities as a nurse and wait for danger to pass. Instead, she returns to France as soon as she has the opportunity -- thereby giving herself the opportunity to investigate in spite of the knowledge that she's put herself right in the crosshairs of a dangerous and ruthless killer.Charles Todd is the pseudonym for mother and son writing team, Charles and Caroline Todd. This is one of two series the team writes together and, based on this particular installment, it seems they're the perfect union of skills. The story is seamless in both style and pacing. Their research and knowledge of the setting also comes across fantastically. Obviously I have no first hand knowledge of the period, but I found all of the details to be completely convincing.

  • Cathy Cole
    2019-03-24 03:39

    First Line: I stopped just outside the ward and leaned my head against the cool wood of the doorframe.It's the spring of 1918. Not only are Bess Crawford and all the other nurses and doctors having to contend with an unending stream of wounded men from the front lines in France, they have to battle another killer: the Spanish Influenza.A trusted orderly takes Bess to the area in which the dead are kept before they taken out for burial, and he shows her that there is one more dead soldier than there should be. After checking the records and looking at the man's body, it becomes clear to Bess that this man (a friend of the family) has been murdered, but before she can tell the commanding officer of her suspicions, she falls victim to the flu and is taken to England to recuperate.When she is strong enough to return to duty, she keeps her promise to the orderly and informs her father, the "Colonel Sahib," of what happened, but there's not much that can be done. The soldier's body has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body-- the orderly-- has hanged himself.Bess knows that something's just not right, that someone believed "one unmarked grave more or less wouldn't be noticed," so she begins to piece together what little information and evidence she can. But when another nurse dies, and someone very nearly succeeds in killing Bess herself, she knows that she somehow has to stay safe from this very determined killer so justice can be done.This series continues to get stronger-- especially when the books (like this one) have so many scenes in the war zone in France. Battle not only shows Bess at work, it heightens the feeling of danger. The writing duo of Caroline and Charles Todd ratchet up the danger and suspense even further with the killer who seems to see all, know all, and be everywhere at once. Bess isn't safe, and neither is anyone who tries to help her.I came nowhere close to deducing the killer's identity, and I actually breathed a sigh of relief when the capture was signed, sealed and delivered. The series is also hinting rather strongly at possible romance in Bess's future. Possible, that is, if Bess ever realizes what's right under her nose!If you have yet to read any of these Bess Crawford mysteries, give this one a try. It stands very well on its own, but don't be surprised if you want to go back and read the others once you've finished An Unmarked Grave. I also highly recommend this series for any readers who are fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series or Suzanne Arruda's Jade del Cameron books.

  • Luanne Ollivier
    2019-04-23 05:42

    I recently had a patron ask if I knew of a good historical mystery series for her. She was older, and said she liked stories set in the war years such as Charles Todd's Bess Crawford books. (which she highly recommended) Well, I did indeed have a series for her, but although I was familiar with Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge series, I had never read one of the Bess Crawford books. Her recommendation resulted in me picking up the latest installment of this series - An Unmarked Grave.Bess Crawford is a World War I nurse. 1918 finds her at the front lines in France, with war casualties and the Spanish influenza contributing equally to the dead waiting to be buried. But when an orderly points out a body to Bess that isn't wrapped right, she is shocked to find she recognizes the man from her father's regiment. It wasn't the flu or war that killed him - she suspects foul play. But exhausted and physically worn down, she falls prey to the flu herself before she can report what she thinks might be murder. Back in England she does advise her father of her suspicions. But the body is long buried. Did she imagine what she saw? Or is there a murderer in the ranks? Bess is determined to find the answer and wants to return to France.Todd's writing brought this time period to life. The dialogue, social mores and expectations of the time were wonderfully depicted, creating a strong sense of atmosphere. Bess is such a great character - kind, dutiful, compassionate, strong, determined and intelligent. All of the characters were equally well drawn and just as engaging. I liked the idea of a woman being the sleuth in this time period, when men were the traditional 'leaders'. Bess is more than up to the task.The plotting is good, slowly unravelling over time. This is a gentler mystery, meant to be savoured and enjoyed. I choose to listen to A Unmarked Grave. The reader was Audie award winner Rosalyn Landor. She has a wonderfully rich, crisp British accent that perfectly suited the mental image I had of Bess. She portrayed all of the characters just as well. Most of the other characters were male and Landor came up with believable voices for them. Bess's father had a nice, gruff, regimental tone. The 'yank' soldier's voice was spot on as well. Her voice added much to the overall feel of the book, conveying emotion and setting easily. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be picking up another in this series. Fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs character would enjoy this series. (This was my recommendation to my patron)

  • Maria
    2019-03-29 05:16

    I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. I rated it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.Set amidst the backdrop of World War I and the Spanish Influenza, a British nurse in France finds herself in danger as she investigates a suspicious death she is sure is in fact a murder. A historical mystery or thriller, An Unmarked Grave, the fourth book in the Bess Crawford Mystery series by Charles Todd, captured my attention from the first page and never let go. Well developed characters, historical accuracy and plenty of action brought World War I and the conditions in France to life for me in a way no textbook ever could.The only child of a British Colonel and his wife, Elizabeth "Bess" Crawford has dedicated her life to serving wounded soldiers during World War I. While lonely for her family, Bess's skill and training help her as the Spanish influenza has decimated both the troops and the medical community serving them. When a trusted orderly brings her what he suspects is a case of foul play rather than death by illness, Bess intends to investigate. Instead, falling victim to the influenza herself, Bess soon finds herself back in England recovered and having to convince her parents, and a possible love interest, that she's healthy and ready to return to duty. As Bess works at convincing others to let her return to what she considers her rightful duty, she discovers the trusted orderly has died under what she considers suspicious circumstances. More determined than ever, Bess manages to get reassigned to duty and France, swears to her friends to stay safe, and vows to get to the truth. I really enjoyed how the author introduced the numerous characters in this story and how they developed Bess' character. A strong and intelligent woman by nature, she's not above asking for help when she needs it. When her life is placed in danger, her resiliency and determination for justice to win is commendable. Will Bess be able to solve two murders before she becomes a victim herself? I encourage you to read An Unmarked Grave to find out. While the fourth book in the series, I was able to read this book on its own without difficulty and look forward to reading the previous books in the series. This may have been my first reading of a Charles Todd book but it certainly won't be the last! And if you're a fan of Downton Abbey - this is a series you won't want to miss.

  • Ariel
    2019-04-17 06:44

    Thank you to Jen at Book Club Girl for providing me with a copy of this book. Please check out her blog talk interview with authors Charles Todd for further insight into the book. have a weakness for anyone named Bess who solves mysteries ever since my Nancy Drew days. This Bess however is a WWI nurse who can't seem to keep herself out of every bodies business. With a war raging on, people don't have much time to attend to things that don't quite up. Fortunately for them it has become Bess's specialty.In this outing Bess is in France nursing the wounded. While on duty she is drawn into a shed by an orderly who shows her a body that doesn't seem to be a victim of the Spanish Flu they have been battling. Could it be murder? Before she can investigate Bess is stricken with the flu herself and nearly dies. By the time she recovers the orderly is dead by suicide and Bess can barely make out dreams from reality. Bess being Bess can hardly let the matter rest so the investigation is on taking her between France and England in an effort to learn the truth.I got into this series because of my love of another WWI female sleuth, Maisie Dobbs. While I do enjoy this series I think Jacqueline Winspear is able to craft a more compelling mystery/ problem in her books. Contrary to popular opinion, I feel that this one of the weaker books in the series. There were not clues to the mystery throughout the book. It seemed that the murderer only chose his victims because they were in the way. I like a little more psychological intrigue in my mysteries. That being said I do like the character of Bess Crawford. I just wish she could move ahead in her personal life as well as professional. In this book she almost dies as well as Simon Brandon and their relationship while hinted at has not progressed at all. If you are going to die you would think that it would give you a new perspective on letting those you love know your true feelings. It's been four books already at least let them have a kiss! I think after all Bess and Simon have been through, they deserve at least that much in the next book.

  • Judy
    2019-03-31 07:25

    As if dealing with the horrible wounds of war, now Bess Crawford as a nurse in France must face the almost surety of death by those who contract the Spanish flu. Just before she falls victim to the scourge herself, Bess discovers the body of a man who has been murdered. Thankfully, Bess recovers from the flu and sets out to solve the mystery of who broke the neck of a man and placed him amongst the bodies of flu victims. Soon, Bess, herself is in danger, herself by the killer who stalks her. This book portrays vividly the gruesome conditions that were the First World War. Bess gains another admirer, but I don't think she will ever become romantically involved as it would hinder her work as nurse and sleuth. I do love this series.

  • Sara
    2019-04-01 00:17

    This is the fourth Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd. Bess is working in a hospital in France during the spring of 1918. The Spanish Influenza has begun to eat its way through the soldiers and the medical staff. Bodies are being stored in sheds until the overworked teams of grave diggers can get to them. After one especially long shift an orderly comes to Bess and shows her a body that has no business being in the burial shed. The man did not die of the influenza, nor was he a patient in the hospital. Even more, the man is someone Bess knew; a soldier in her father's old regiment and a friend. All the signs indicate that the man was murdered and hidden in the shed, but before Bess can alert anyone she herself is struck down by the influenza.Bess faces a long recovery and the memory of the hours before her collapse are hazy and muddled up with fever dreams brought on by her illness. She is half convinced that she imagined the whole thing, but the man she saw is listed as a deserter and the ordlerly who showed him to her has committed suicide. Bess cannot let it rest at that. Something much deeper is going on and she will defy her family and the killer himself to find out what and clear the names of the two dead men.As usual, I loved this book. Bess has never been an untouchable heroine. She starts the very first book wounded, but there is something about seeing her so vulnerable to the flu that I found really touching. I also like the way her family reacts to try to protect her. She understands their fears, but she cannot let things lie. The very first book in this series is titled A Duty to the Dead and I get the sense throughout the entire series, but especially in this new book, that Bess feels a sense of duty to those who are hurt and killed fighting this war. She cannot let good men be reviled as cowards or deserters, she cannot let their families live with that stigma. It is not that she wants to investigate, but that her duty compells her to.

  • Alicia
    2019-04-08 07:39

    "An Unmarked Grave" hooked me in with it's sinister title. I turned the book over to read the blurb, which summarized a story about the Spanish influenza during World War One, through the eyes of a nurse, who discovers a body of a family friend. But he doesn't have the lasting signs of the flu, or war caused scars: he was murdered. This book taught me about another time in history, about what it was like for a nurse in the first world war. I love reading books set in another period of history, because history for me is thought-provoking. It's also really important to know about our past, so we can effectively plan for the future. Historical settings are also intriguing because they give the author a small piece of truth, which from there they can speculate on and let their imagination run wild. I don't have a favourite quote, but rather a favourite passage, from after Bess has recovered from the flu, and is working in France again. "Somewhere nearby a soldier was playing a mouth organ, a haunting version of 'Roses of Picardy'. I though how homesick he must be, letting the instrument put into words what he couldn't, that the war had lasted far too long with no end in sight."This passage is so powerful because of the use of adjectives like "a haunting version". But for me, it's my personal connection to music which makes personification like "the instrument put into words what he couldn't" effective.

  • Larraine
    2019-03-29 00:38

    The mother/son team that calls itself Charles Todd continues to surprise and please their readers. This is the fourth in the Bess Crawford series which features a young woman from a privileged army background (her father is a retired major who is still active in special projects with the war office). It is 1918, the Americans seem to have made a difference, but the war still goes on. In addition, the vicious 1918 flu has struck hard. During this period, an extra body shows up where it shouldn't be. Private Wilson, an older man who is known for his dedication to his work, tells Bess that he is concerned and isn't sure what to do. Before she can help, she is struck down by the flu and nearly dies. She recovers slowly at her parents' home. By that time, she is unsure if what she remembers is a dream or reality. However, after talking to her father and to Simon, his former Sgt Major, who is now his aide and lives on a cottage on their property, it seems that there is more than meets the eye. Soon others die as they search for the man with the cold blue eyes. This book takes the reader down a number of false paths. Plus, the imagery of the war, of French homes in ruins, of the sick and the dying is unforgettable. This is another fine addition to a fine series.

  • Samantha Glasser
    2019-04-18 23:32

    Bess Crawford is working near the front lines to heal the wounded in France. She is trusted by her co-workers, so when the man in charge of burying the bodies pulls her aside and shows her that there is on extra body in the queue with a broken neck, she knows it is her responsibility to make sure the murder is righted, especially because the man is one that she knows. However, the following day she succumbs to the ravages of the Spanish flu and is laid up for a month. When she becomes lucid, Bess discovers that the man who tipped her off to the murder has mysteriously hung himself, but she is convinced that he was also murdered because of what he knew. It is now her mission to avenge these men's deaths by finding the killer, but at her own risk.Charles Todd's writing is a treat because it is so effortless. This mother/son writing team churns out novel after novel and each are enjoyable and exciting. This one is no exception. They combine history with mystery so while we're blowing through pages trying to get to the solution, we're also learning something about an often neglected era in history.

  • Judy
    2019-04-10 05:22

    While I enjoy the Ian Rankin series more, I'm becoming a fan of the Bess Crawford series by mother-son writing team of Charles Todd. Set in the Spring of 1918, Sister Bess Crawford is a British nursing sister stationed in France in a forward aid station. Besides dealing with daily battlefield casualties, the Spanish influenza is killing thousands and there seems to be no defense against it. Working almost around the clock, Bess and the other medical staff, are beyond exhaustion when an orderly approaches Bess with a problem. There is an extra body in the shed where dead bodies are kept awaiting the burial detail. Bess is horrified when she realizes that the extra body is that of Major Vincent Carson, an officer who served in her father's regiment and he has obviously been murdered. Before Bess can report the crime, she is felled by the flu and almost dies. While the novel focuses on unraveling the mystery of what happened to Major Carson, the strength of this series is the atmosphere it evokes of the horrors of trench warfare, the overwhelming pressures that are placed on the overworked medical staff, and the pressures that World War I are placing on English society.

  • Charlene
    2019-04-06 03:15

    First, a confession . . . for some reason, I'm fascinated by WWI and its long lasting effects on the world. This is one of the mystery series that is set during WWI action (on both the front lines in France and the homefront back in England). Author, Charles Todd, writes a better series, centering on Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard detective, who is scarred by the War. This one, with Bess Crawford/nurse, as the detective is not as good -- perhaps because the author struggles to tie her in to each of the mysteries since she's not a professional crime solver. Weakest part of this novel was the last 20 pages where the crime is resolved, rather implausibly (too few clues to think we had a fair chance of figuring it all out). Best parts of the novel dealt with life in France during the war itself -- good insights into what it must have been like to have been a "nursing sister".