cover image A Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery

A Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery

Charles Todd. Morrow, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-267878-2

Set in the fall of 1918, bestseller Todd’s strong ninth Bess Crawford mystery (after 2016’s The Shattered Tree) finds the British military nurse still in France, where she meets Capt. Alan Travis, whose English great-grandfather immigrated to Barbados after a family dispute. She reencounters him when he arrives in her field hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. His wild claims that he was deliberately shot by Lt. James Travis—a cousin he met just once—are implausible, and he’s forcibly restrained in a British clinic for mentally impaired soldiers. Bess, who trusts his sanity, promises to help him if she can. In England on leave after the Armistice, she travels to the Suffolk village near where the Travis family lives. The hostility of James’s mother and the murder of a stranger carrying stolen papers about Alan’s whereabouts convince Bess that his family connections put the captain at risk. Harsh period attitudes toward traumatic stress and the exhaustion of a long war add poignancy to Todd’s satisfying puzzle of identity and inheritance. Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency. (Sept.)