Book Review: An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

Title: An Unmarked Grave
Author: Charles Todd
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: I stopped just outside the ward and leaned my head against the cool wood of the doorframe.

Goodreads blurb: In the spring of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic spreads, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well.

However, war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of an officer who has been murdered. Though she is devoted to all her patients, this soldier’s death touches her deeply. Not only did the man serve in her father’s former regiment, he was also a family friend.

Before she can report the terrible news, Bess falls ill, the latest victim of the flu. By the time she recovers, the murdered officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he?

Working her father’s connections in the military, Bess begins to piece together what little evidence she can find to unmask the elusive killer and see justice served. But she must be as vigilant as she is tenacious. With a determined killer on her heels, each move Bess makes could be her last.

This series has been one of my favorite things of 2012! The first book was a five-star read, and books two and three were solid four-stars. This fourth entry, though, is just as good as the first – actually, even better. Again, the mother-son authorial team has given us a page-turning mystery steeped in the details of the time period.

In An Unmarked Grave, Bess faces not only a murderer, but the Spanish flu. The devastation of that epidemic, in addition to all of the horrors of war, made for such a frightening episode in our history. The mystery in this book is solid, even though there was really no way for the reader to figure out the answer before the end. It is really the other parts of the story, however, – Bess dealing with her recovery, her parents’ fear over sending her back to France, and her growing relationship with Simon Brandon – that make this my favorite in the series.

The only downside to this book is that it is the last one released so far, and there is no word on how long we have to wait for the next one.

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18 Responses to Book Review: An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

  1. Mary
    Twitter: bookfanmb

    I enjoyed the entire series and wish we’d hear if there will be more in the Bess Crawford books!

  2. Karen says:

    Would you please list the order of this series?

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Karen – absolutely:

      1. A Duty to the Dead
      2. An Impartial Witness
      3. A Bitter Truth
      4. An Unmarked Grave

      For future reference, you can find any series I review listen in order on my Series Reading page – link at the top right

  3. This was my first (and so far only) Bess Crawford mystery, and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read more in the series. Hopefully this coming year. 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed An Unmarked Grave too!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – I always love finding a series in which a lot of books are already out – I hate waiting!

  4. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    Wow, it sounds like I need to start this series. I only have this book.

  5. Laurie C
    Twitter: baystateRA

    I’ve been suggesting this one to readers who like Jacqueline Winspear’s mysteries. I haven’t read one myself yet.

  6. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    I’m caving … This series looks so good.

  7. Susan says:

    This series sounds good. Glad you reviewed this one. I need to get on it!

  8. Carole says:

    Thanks for linking this in. If you pop back in a few days there should be a lovely collection of book links. I have just signed up to follow you. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

  9. Pingback: The Sunday Salon – December 9, 2012 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  10. Helen
    Twitter: hcstringer

    This sounds interesting. My grandfather was in the army in India at the time of the flu epidemic. He said it was really virulent…and fast. You could be talking with a friend in the mess in the evening and then be attending his funeral the following afternoon. One of the places that really communicates the massive death toll is a small church in North Wales that is surrounded by hundreds of small white war graves. Almost an entire Canadian regiment was wiped out before they even got to the front!