An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
This is a mystery set in World War I. The main character is a English nurse who works in aid stations in France. I enjoyed the book because the heroine is intelligent, independent and interesting. Apparently this book is part of a series but stands well alone. The time period is very interesting since both England and France are in such upheaval politically and culturally. It is an easy read and I think anyone who enjoys a good mystery will enjoy the book. I plan to read other books in this series.
Rated of 5
by Dorothy T. (Victorville, CA)
Historical mystery set in WWI
Historical mysteries is not a new genre, but this is the first I have read that is set in France and England during World War I. This is the fourth book in the Bess Crawford Mysteries, and the central character is strong and likeable enough to carry the series, although I am not sure she is really a woman of her time. Bess is quite independent and self reliant in a way that makes her more suitable to a later era. That said, this is a well-written mystery, certainly not one that I was able to figure out before the end, and I did like the setting--sleuthing was definitely more difficult during the days before computers and cell phones.
Rated of 5
by Fran T. (San Diego, CA)
An Unmarked Grave
I have read all of Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge mysteries and the three previous mysteries featuring Bess Crawford. The Ian Rutledge mysteries are notably more complex both in plot and character development. Since Ian Rutledge is a World War l veteran with major Post Traumatic Stress (as we now call it this is not surprising. It is my impression that when Charles and Caroline Todd began a second series featuring a woman as the protagonist that they decided to make these novels a bit lighter. As a rule, I find the Rutledge novels more to my taste for the reasons referred to above. However, this novel has a somewhat more serious tone than several of its predecessors, because Bess is not only nursing on the front, but also falls victim to the Spanish influenza and becomes gravely ill. After she recovers, she tries to solve the mystery of who murdered an officer and family friend. Her detective efforts and her nursing assignments involve her in numerous trips back and forth between England and France with various English officers and enlisted men giving her assistance along the way. When the identity of the murderer is revealed, it comes rather suddenly, without much lead-in, Nonetheless, all the various elements of the novel are resolved rather neatly and as the story closes, Bess and Simon Brandon (her possible love interest) come together again. In my opinion, this fourth entry in the Bess Crawford series was the strongest yet and I recommend it.
Rated of 5
by Juliet F. (clarendon hills, IL)
I have read most of Charles Todd's books, and I generally enjoy them. However, I think that this installment of the Bess Crawford series is the last that I'll read. This book is a lot like the others, at least in terms of its plot structure, pace, and themes. However, I was left unplussed. It felt formulaic and dull. I am ready for some more character development, but this stalls out in this story. The historical detail and perspective is nice, but I would not recommend this book. There are too many great books out there to waste time on this.
Rated of 5
by Beth P. (Chester, VA)
A Wee bit Disappointing
When I received my copy of An Unmarked Grave I was very excited. I had wanted to read both series by Charles Todd, (actually a mother and son team) known for their Ian Rutledge series and then for this series about Bess Crawford, a WWI nurse. The setting is during the Spanish Influenza, a most devastating time in history. Bess is working right in the trenches in England and France, saving lives and overwhelmed with soldiers who have been wounded or have contracted the deadly disease. In the midst of this is a mystery and I believe that while many will enjoy it, I found that I just could not get attached to Bess Crawford, the main character. It may be because I have not read the 3 mysteries that precede this book. It left me rather cold and disappointed. I felt this same way about the Maise Dobbs series, so probably if you are a fan of those you will like this book. I was glad when I finished it and could move on to something else.
Rated of 5
by Laureen S. (Aurora, IL)
Good "Vacation Read"
I had not read any of the prior books in this series, so that may have affected my view of this book. Even though the historical descriptions of the WWI settings in France and England were very detailed, the characters could have been developed a little more.
This being said, it is still an average historical mystery with a couple of twists and some suspense. So if you are looking for an quick and easy, as I call them, "vacation read" (one that doesn't make me think too hard), An Unmarked Grave would be a good choice.
Rated of 5
by Amy L. (Tucson, AZ)
Not The Best Charles Todd I've Ever Read
Charles Todd books are favorites of mine, particularly the Inspector Rutledge series. I am having trouble getting interested in their new Bess Crawford series, which follows a British army nurse in France during World War I. As opposed to Rutledge, there is simply not much depth to this character. Moreover, Jacqueline Winspear covers this topic so much better in her Maisie Dodds series.
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