At the outset of Todd's outstanding third Bess Crawford mystery (after 2010's An Impartial Witness), Bess returns to London in December 1917 on leave from her nursing work in France to find an attractive, well-bred woman of about 25 huddled in the doorway of her lodging house. The tearful woman, who reluctantly gives her name as Lydia, accepts Bess's invitation to come inside. Lydia later reveals that she's fled to London from Sussex after her husband struck her in the face. The tenderhearted Bess agrees to accompany Lydia back home so she can provide moral support. On arrival in Sussex, Bess finds herself in the midst of a family devastated by untimely death and hiding poisonous secrets. When a murder occurs, the local police suspect Bess is involved. The Todds (a mother-son writing team) plausibly insert their heroine yet again into a criminal investigation, besides providing their usual depth of characterization. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011 Release date: 08/01/2011 Genre: Fiction
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