An Unmarked Grave: Book summary and reviews of An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

An Unmarked Grave

A Bess Crawford Mystery

by Charles Todd

An Unmarked Grave
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2012
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford must match wits with a devious killer in this exciting and suspenseful adventure from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.

In the spring of 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic spreads, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well. But war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of an officer who has been murdered. Though she is devoted to all her patients, this soldier's death touches her deeply. Not only did the man serve in her father's former regiment, he was also a family friend.

Before she can report the terrible news, Bess falls ill, the latest victim of the flu. By the time she recovers, the murdered officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he?

Working her father's connections in the military, Bess begins to piece together what little evidence she can find to unmask the elusive killer and see justice served. But the tenacious and impetuous nurse must be vigilant. With a determined killer on her own heels, each move she makes may be her last.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"How many wartime casualties and heroics from Bess does it take to exhaust a reader? Unfortunately, exactly this many, despite the author's fierce antiwar sentiments." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. Caroline and Charles Todd, the mother-son team who write as Charles Todd, remain unmatched in their ability to convey the horrors of trench warfare and the effect on its participants." - Publishers Weekly

"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 Review

"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

The information about An Unmarked Grave shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Kathleen D. (Hooksett, NH)

1918 . . . the French front . . . the Spanish influenza . . . a killer exploiting the cover of war
This 4th book of the Bess Crawford mysteries is, by far, the best entry to date! Beth must nurse wounded soldiers as well as battle the Spanish flu and track an elusive battlefield murderer. Although the story travels back and forth from the French font to the rural towns of England, the authors manage to keep the story line clear and exciting. In developing the story in this fashion, they remind us of the unimaginable sacrifices made on the home front. The fact that many families often lost not only one son but two, three or more is terrifying & truly difficult to comprehend. The reader experiences the rampant anxiety and chaotic confusion in the cities of disembarkation as well as the exhaustion, trepidation and absolute horror of war for those serving on the battlefields. What better place for a murderer to kill with impunity and mask his acts as the consequence of war!
This latest book is roughly 100 pages less than the previous novels--a great improvement. I found the story was more direct and developed rapidly. A clever twist in the resolution resulted in a very satisfying read.

Phyllis R. (EAST NEW MARKET, MD)

A Death in Wartime
In AN UNMARKED GRAVE, the fourth in his series featuring Bess Crawford, Charles Todd presents an unexplained death among all the wartime dead. When Bess finds a body that doesn't belong with the others, and of a family friend, no less, she tries to find his murderer. First, she must overcome an attack of the Spanish flu that keeps her from following up until the body is interred in an unmarked grave. Using her father's military connections, and the help of an American patient, she tries to continue her nursing duties while detecting. The American patient introduces a possible romantic interest for future stories. Bess evades her own murder while resolving her case after several false starts. This is a strong entry in the series and encourages one to keep reading.

Annette S. (Duluth, GA)

An Unmarked Grave
I had read the first three books in the Bess Crawford series and looked forward to this fourth book. I was not disappointed. The time setting is World War I. The main character is a battle field nurse - Bess Crawford. You will learn of the horrible and sobering conditions that were experienced by the soldiers, officers and auxiliary personnel,and follow this brave nurse as she unmasks the killer while putting her own life in danger several times.

Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA)

A War on Many Fronts
Unmarked Grave is the fourth in the Bess Crawford mystery series, yet requires no prior knowledge of the earlier books to make for a thoroughly engaging and entertaining read. Bess Crawford is a plucky and highly capable nursing sister assigned to the field hospital and aid stations in France during World War I. She is no shrinking violet in post-Victorian age of war-torn England. Unmarked Grave takes place in 1918, when the horrors and the deprivations of the war are well felt both on the battlefields and on the home front of England. Charles Todd’s depictions of war, notably the chemical gassing and field hospitals triage, are highly effective and appropriately set the stage for the mystery. The storyline is quite suspenseful and makes for a very fast-paced read.

Lori (Wayland, MA)

An Unmarked Grave-another great read
I thoroughly enjoyed this 4th book in the Bess Crawford series. I received the book as part of the First Impressions program, reading it immediately after the previous book, A Bitter Truth, which was great too. I raced through both books. Although I like Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge books as well, this series isn’t as dark and has a faster pace. This book has an interesting murder scenario, great character development and I found it interesting to learn about the flu epidemic during WWI. I would highly recommend this book and the series (which should be read in order) to readers who enjoy Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books. These books all provide a great sense of what life was like during this time period.

Nona F. (Evanston, IL)

Best of the series to date
From its first pages, Charles Todd’s latest installment in the Bess Crawford series, An Unmarked Grave, is a compelling and suspenseful “stay up all night even if I have to get up in two hours” read. A real page-turner, this is one of the tighter plot structures in the series despite an eyebrow-raising coincidental but fateful meeting three-quarters of the way through the novel. I also felt that the identity of the murderer came out of left field and was something of a let-down in an otherwise exciting denouement. The authors’ description of Bess falling victim to the devastating flu epidemic is very effective, as is their way of showing how hospitals, families, and villages were affected. As always, character depiction and development is strong, and Bess’s relationships with her family as well as with some characters who are new to the series continue to develop. Definitely the strongest entry in this series to date.

...17 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

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
Author Interview
Link to Charles Todd's Website

Other books by Charles Todd at BookBrowse

16 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more mysteries...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.