A Duty to the Dead – Charles Todd

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5/5 Fulfilled Duties

On The Back:

The daughter of a distinguished soldier‚ Bess Crawford follows in his footsteps and signs up to go overseas as a nurse during the Great War‚ helping to deal with the many wounded. There‚ serving on a hospital ship‚ she makes a promise to a dying young lieutenant to take a message to his brother‚ Jonathan Graham: “Tell Jonathan that I lied. I did it for Mother′s sake. But it has to be set right.” Later‚ when her ship is sunk by a mine and she′s sidelined by a broken arm‚ Bess returns home to England‚ determined to fulfill her promise.

It′s not so easy‚ however. She travels to the village in Kent where the Grahams live and passes on to Jonathan his brother′s plea. Oddly‚ neither Jonathan‚ his mother‚ nor his younger brother admit to knowing what the message means. Then Bess learns that there′s another brother‚ incarcerated in a lunatic asylum since the age of 14 when he was accused of brutally murdering a housemaid.

Bess rightly guesses that the dying soldier′s last words had something to do with the fourth brother. Because the family seems unwilling to do anything‚ she decides that she will investigate. It′s her own duty to the dead.

My Thoughts:

Wow, sometimes you start a new series and don’t really know what’s going to happen. That’s how I was with this book, but I am pleased to say that I was completely blown away by the simple, yet intricate, plotting of this mystery.

Bess Crawford is tending to a dying man, and when he has one last request, she feels that it is her duty to complete that request. Bess is simply amazing. She’s the perfect balance between pushy and non pushy that makes her a valuable main character without being annoying. I loved her father, mother, aunt, Peregrine, and the rest of the secondary characters, also.

However, the mystery was the absolute star of this riveting story. It was a mystery from the past int he simply fact that it had happened long before Bess investigated, and reader had ample clues to figure out the killer, and they had a general idea who the killer was when Bess did. The climax was suitingly climatic and the wrapup was great.

Really I can’t think of anything bad about this book. I loved the way the authors blended nonfiction events with fiction and the mystery. This was a superb book and I’ll be reading more! Highly recommend!

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