• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 12, 2016)
A horrific explosion at a gunpowder mill sends Bess Crawford to war-torn France to keep a deadly pattern of lies from leading to more deaths, in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Timesbestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice.
An explosion and fire at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent has killed over a hundred men. It’s called an appalling tragedy—until suspicion and rumor raise the specter of murder. While visiting the Ashton family, Bess Crawford finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn’t stop with Philip Ashton’s arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege.
The only known witness to the tragedy is now at the Front in France. Bess is asked to find him. When she does, he refuses to tell her anything that will help the Ashtons. Realizing that he believes the tissue of lies that has nearly destroyed a family, Bess must convince him to tell her what really happened that terrible Sunday morning. But now someone else is also searching for this man.
To end the vicious persecution of the Ashtons, Bess must risk her own life to protect her reluctant witness from a clever killer intent on preventing either of them from ever reaching England.
About Charles Todd
Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.
I had not heard of this author (technically, these authors because it is a mother-son writing team) before this book was sent to me by TLC Books Tours to read and review. I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to have had the opportunity to read it. I love it when I get to try authors I don’t know, especially when the book turns out to be good.
As many of you know, I am a Registered Nurse, and proud to be so. So imagine my excitement when the main character and heroine turns out to be a nurse in Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She is serving in France during WW I. She is compassionate, intelligent, observant, speaks her mind when necessary, and has a lot of courage.
While on leave in England, she happens to run into a former patient, Major Mark Ashton, who was severely injured in the war and not expected to recover. At present he has recuperated marvelously. He sees her and invites him to the family home. As they are driving to his home he tells the story of a fire and explosion at the munitions factory which is owned by his father. He partnered with the military to provide bullets for the war effort. One hundred people were killed. The family is distressed about the incident, but things go from bad to worse when the people of Cranbourne turn on the Ashtons and begin harassing the family. They believe that Phillip Ashton started the fire and the explosion. Worse still is when Mr. Ashton is arrested for multiple counts of murder.
With a worthless solicitor and a barrister who will not hunt for the truth, Mr. Ashton is sure to go to the gallows. Bess Crawford, our intrepid military nurse, is on the trail and finds that one mysterious incident after another occurs to keep her from getting to the truth. Gossip has reared it’s ugly head and so she must dig through layers and layers of lies in an attempt to discover the truth.
I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give away any spoilers and ruin the book for future readers. Suffice it to say, that I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to others as a very good read.
Charles Todd’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, April 12th: FictionZeal
Wednesday, April 13th: A Book Geek
Thursday, April 14th: #redhead.with.book
Monday, April 18th: Jayne’s Books
Wednesday, April 20th: Reading is My Super Power
Wednesday, April 20th: Mel’s Shelves
Thursday, April 21st: Tina Says…
Monday, April 25th: Mama Vicky Says
Tuesday, April 26th: Staircase Wit
Wednesday, April 27th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
TBD: I’m Shelf-ish