Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TLC Virtual Book Review Tour - An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

An Unmarked Grave 
by Charles Todd
A Bess Crawford Mystery, Book 4

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: January 2, 2013

Genre: Historical Mystery Thriller

ISBN: 978-0062015730

Book Description:  

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 a murdered officer—a man who not only served in her father's former regiment but 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 officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he?

Using 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.


Author Bio and Links: 

Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother and son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree that means he can boil more than water. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.

Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvelous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.

Author Website

Author's Facebook Page


My Review 

Set amidst the backdrop of World War I and the Spanish Influenza, a British nurse in France finds herself in danger as she investigates a suspicious death she is sure is in fact a murder.  A historical mystery or thriller, An Unmarked Grave, the fourth book in the Bess Crawford Mystery series by Charles Todd, captured my attention from the first page and never let go.  Well developed characters, historical accuracy and plenty of action brought World War I and the conditions in France to life for me in a way no textbook ever could.

The only child of a British Colonel and his wife, Elizabeth "Bess" Crawford has dedicated her life to serving wounded soldiers during World War I.  While lonely for her family, Bess's skill and training help her as the Spanish influenza has decimated both the troops and the medical community serving them.  When a trusted orderly brings her what he suspects is a case of foul play rather than death by illness, Bess intends to investigate.  Instead, falling victim to the influenza herself, Bess soon finds herself back in England recovered and having to convince her parents, and a possible love interest, that she's healthy and ready to return to duty.  

As Bess works at convincing others to let her return to what she considers her rightful duty, she discovers the trusted orderly has died under what she considers suspicious circumstances.  More determined than ever, Bess manages to get reassigned to duty and France, swears to her friends to stay safe, and vows to get to the truth.  I really enjoyed how the author introduced the numerous characters in this story and how they developed Bess' character.  A strong and intelligent woman by nature, she's not above asking for help when she needs it.  When her life is placed in danger, her resiliency and determination for justice to win is commendable.  

Will Bess be able to solve two murders before she becomes a victim herself?  I encourage you to read An Unmarked Grave to find out.  While the fourth book in the series, I was able to read this book on its own without difficulty and look forward to reading the previous books in the series.  This may have been my first reading of a Charles Todd book but it certainly won't be the last!  And if you're a fan of Downton Abbey - this is a series you won't want to miss. 

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Crowns  

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. 


  1. Numerous people have mentioned that this is their first read of the series. It's always fun to discover a new series that you can go back and read previous books. Makes the wait for the new one much shorter!

  2. I've really enjoyed the first two books in this series and can't wait to catch up to this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.