A Duty to the Dead: Book summary and reviews of A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

A Duty to the Dead

A Bess Crawford Mystery

By Charles Todd

A Duty to the Dead
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

England, 1916. Independent-minded Bess Crawford's upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. Growing up in India, she learned the importance of responsibility, honor, and duty from her officer father. At the outbreak of World War I, she followed in his footsteps and volunteered for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic.

On one voyage, Bess grows fond of the young, gravely wounded Lieutenant Arthur Graham. Something rests heavily on his conscience, and to give him a little peace as he dies, she promises to deliver a message to his brother. It is some months before she can carry out this duty, and when she's next in England, she herself is recovering from a wound.

When Bess arrives at the Graham house in Kent, Jonathan Graham listens to his brother's last wishes with surprising indifference. Neither his mother nor his brother Timothy seems to think it has any significance. Unsettled by this, Bess is about to take her leave when sudden tragedy envelops her. She quickly discovers that fulfilling this duty to the dead has thrust her into a maelstrom of intrigue and murder that will endanger her own life and test her courage as not even war has.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fans of independent women sleuths like Maisie Dobbs will welcome this new addition to their ranks." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Todd employs all the elements of a satisfying cozy mystery, with an absorbing plot and a charismatic heroine that will leave the reader wanting more." - Library Journal

"[A]nyone who cares to loll in early 20th century English villages and mores and follow a plucky heroine as she confronts the stupidity of war will find solace in this old-fashioned mystery." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Charles Todd Author Biography

Charles Todd is the author of nine Ian Rutledge mysteries to date, and one stand-alone novel, The Murder Stone. This USA-based mother-and-son (Charles & Caroline) writing team maintain a strong level of anonymity, even though they appear on many author panels together and Charles is a very active member of the Mystery Writers of America. They live somewhere along America's mid-Atlantic coastline.  Some biographies show Charles living in Greenville Delaware, but that simply refers to a P.O. box they maintain.  

Ian Rutledge Series

  1. A Test of Wills (1996) 
  2. Wings of Fire (1998)
  3. Search the Dark (1999)
  4. Legacy of the Dead (2000)
  5. Watchers of Time (2001)
  6. A Fearsome Doubt (2002)
  7. A Cold Treachery (2005)
  8. A Long Shadow (2006)
  9. A False Mirror (...

... Full Biography
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  • Legacy of The Dead jacket

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