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.