A Bitter Truth: Book summary and reviews of A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd

A Bitter Truth

A Bess Crawford Mystery

By Charles Todd

A Bitter Truth
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2011,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Already deservedly lauded for the superb historical crime novels featuring shell-shocked Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge (A Lonely Death, A Pale Horse et al), acclaimed author Charles Todd upped the ante by introducing readers to a wonderful new series protagonist, World War One battlefield nurse Bess Crawford. Featured for a third time in A Bitter Truth, Bess reaches out to help an abused and frightened young woman, only to discover that no good deed ever goes unpunished when the good Samaritan nurse finds herself falsely accused of murder.

A terrific follow up to Todd’s A Duty to the Dead and An Impartial Witness, A Bitter Truth is another thrilling and evocative mystery from “one of the most respected writers in the genre” (Denver Post) and a treat for fans of Elizabeth George, Anne Perry, Martha Grimes, and Jacqueline Winspear.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Highly recommended - well-rounded, believable characters, a multi-layered plot solidly based on human nature, all authentically set in the England of 1917, make A Bitter Truth an outstanding and riveting read." - Stephanie Laurens, New York Times bestselling author.

"Starred Review. The Todds ... plausibly insert their heroine yet again into a criminal investigation, besides providing their usual depth of characterization." - Publishers Weekly

"Todd brings World War I England and France to life with an intriguing plot and an intrepid sleuth." - Library Journal

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Carmen S. (Elkins, Arkansas)
Good historical fiction
A historical mystery set during World War 1. Really enjoyed the book, fell in love with an Australian chap, hope the author uses him again. A good clean read but not boring. Will read more books from the author.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Margo Z. (Monroe, MI)
Great Characters and Good Mystery
This is the third novel in the Bess Crawford series, preceded by A Duty to the Dead, and An Impartial Witness. The main character Bess is kind, caring, and sensible as she carries out her duties as a nursing sister during World War I. All of the characters are well drawn, and the author gives an excellent picture of that time in history. Bess gets better and better in each novel. She is the kind of person you would want as a best friend, and the mystery is intriguing and solved by intelligence and determination.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Karen L. (Antelope, CA)
Bess Crawford- one lucky, plucky protaganist
There are many things to commend about "A Bitter Truth." The authors have a wonderful ability to create multi-dimensional characters and to evoke the sense of what it must have been like during World War I. And the plot twist at the end kept me guessing whodunnit until the big reveal. But I feel the Bess Crawford character suffers in comparison to Todd's other protagonist, Ian Rutledge. Lacking the Inspector's internal demon, Crawford just comes across as a busybody, and a busybody that happens to be in the right place at the right time, at that. She may be a plucky heroine, but the plot relied upon too many external characters and coincidences to keep my interest piqued throughout the novel.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Michele K. (Phenix City, Al)Mildred Terry Lib., Ga
A Bitter Truth
I enjoyed the third installment of the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. A complicated plot, although a bit far fetched. It gives one a look into the life of a nurse during WW1. I am looking forward to see what happens with Bess next.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Nancy E. (Sturgeon Bay, wi)
A Bitter Truth
It was with great anticipation that I approached this book. I had read the preceding two books in the series and have to say that I enjoyed them and their plucky heroine Bess Crawford. While the plot was good, the characters were not as well drawn as in the previous two books. The setting, however, was well done. I would read more in this series, but would not recommend this particular title to mystery fans.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Wendy R. (Riverside, CA)
Excellent Historical Crime Fiction Novel
New to the series, I was a little concerned at jumping into Charles Todd's Bess Crawford series without having read the previous books. However, my fears were unwarranted. Like with many crime fiction series books, this one stands well on its own. Bess Crawford is a heroine after my own heart. She is intelligent and strong. Set during World War I, the authors (a mother/son team) capture the mood of the times quite well, including the hardship and suffering. In the novel, Bess is unwittingly drawn into the troubles of the Ellis family, and it falls on her to investigate when she becomes the prime suspect in a murder. I thoroughly enjoyed A Bitter Truth and look forward to reading more by these authors.

...25 more reader 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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