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
    Genre: Mysteries

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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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Reader Reviews

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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.

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.

Charla W. (biloxi, mS)

A Bitter Truth
This is a wonderful mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. I had no idea who the bad guy was until the end, which is the way a good mystery should be. Although, this was the first Bess Crawford Mystery I have read, I will be on the look out for these books in the future. This book had believable, interesting characters that you could not help loving. This is a stand alone book and you don't have to read the other books to know what is going on.

Bess Crawford is a murder suspect during World War I. While she is trying to find the real murderer, World War I is raging onward. Anyone that loves a good mystery and loves World War I history would love this book.

Jane N. (Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey)

Bitter Truth
From the first page readers will be hooked. I enjoyed the historical perspective of the book, WW1 and how Charles Todd wove all of those details into a really good mystery. From page one when Bess finds a desperate woman on her doorstep to the very end, the story holds your interest, and builds as it moves forward. Book clubs should really enjoy this because there is so much to digest and discuss here. A really good read and a fine story

Lucy B. (Urbana, Ohio)

Bess Crawford
This is the third book of a Bess Crawford series. I'm sorry to admit that I have not read the first two; but I will.

This book starts with nurse Bess Crawford inviting a young woman she found huddled in her doorway to come into her home and warm herself and then asking her to spend the night since it was late. From there on she is drawn into the girl's and her family's problems. I was intrigued by the story from the beginning and could not put the book down easily. Hopefully, all of us would be as kind as Bess to help someone out, but not become involved in murders as Bess was. This was a great read.

Grace S. (Harrison Township, MI)

An Engaging Read!
This novel is the third in the series featuring nurse Bess Crawford. Strong characters and an intricate plot combine to produce a multi-layered and engaging mystery in the backdrop of World War I.

...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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