A Duty to the Dead
By Charles Todd
William Morrow, 2009. 329 pgs. Mystery.
Bess Crawford has a sacred duty to the dead—she has been commissioned by a dead soldier to pass along an important message to his brother. Bess has been avoiding this duty, but finds herself having the time after her Red Cross ship is hit by mines during World War I. She travels to the Graham home to deliver the message, but is disturbed by Jonathan’s dismissive response to it. Bess is further distressed by the Graham family’s treatment of the oldest brother, Peregrine, a resident of the local asylum who comes home to die from pneumonia. Bess nurses Peregrine back to health, which results in her becoming involved in a mystery and dangerous conditions.
I am a huge fan of the author’s Ian Rutledge series (also set in post-WWI England) which are top-notch mysteries. I am hoping that, since this title is the first in a new series, the next Bess Crawford books pick up in pace and have tighter mysteries. This mystery had some holes in it and there was a lot of “talking” in this book instead of the author showing the reader what we needed to know. I will read the next one in the series and hope it improves on this one.