A Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries) by Charles Todd


Reviewed by Teri Davis

A Casualty of WarThere are certain authors that you just can’t wait to read their next books. Charles Todd is one of those that many people who enjoy authentic historical fiction feel anxious in waiting for the next book. Personally, I feel that Todd truly seizes your mind immersing you in the World War I battlefield with the nurse, Bess Crawford. There is no male or female preference, just dumping you onto the war torn areas so much that you can smell it.

World War I, was coming to an end and for nurse Bess Crawford returning home is now within her future. While waiting for the transport, she chats with others and happens to meet a memorable soul, Captain Alan Travis, He is a wealthy Englishman from a prestigious family who have made money in Barbados.

Surprisingly, while is still working near the Frontlines, Bess finds again that one her patients as Captain Travis. While he is injured this time, he claims that his cousin, James Travis attempted to kill him. She agrees to investigate only to find nothing about this Lieutenant Travis. She does wonder if his possible concussion confused him and whether the Lieutenant even exists.
A while later, Bess meets Captain Travis for the third time. He again claims that his cousin attempted to kill him. He is badly wounded this time. Whether Bess believes it or not, someone did shoot at him.

Unfortunately, as nurses know, there are numerous patients with extreme demands that constantly require her attention.
Bess is given leave to an English hospital specializing in brain injuries. This time Captain Travis is suicidal causing him to be strapped to his bed.

Bess and her trusted friend, Sergeant Major Simon Brandon arrange to investigate the Captain’s claims. The two travel to Suffolk to investigate the relationship between the twins only to discover a larger threat than they ever anticipated.

Charles Todd is actually a mother/son collaborative team living on the East Coast of the U.S. They are known for their Inspector Rutledge as well as their Bess Crawford books. Also, they have co-written two stand alone novels.

The characters are believable, likable or not, and authentic is the descriptions of their lives. The experiences on the French battlefield hospitals is outstanding. Usually, the plots are first rate. This is the first Charles Todd novel that was predictable, which is not enjoyable in a historical mystery. That said, these World War I books are outstanding in terms of setting and events.