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A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery    by Charles Todd order for
Bitter Truth
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Oh, happy days. Another mystery by Charles Todd! Featuring not Ian Rutledge but Bess Crawford, Nursing Sister during World War I. A Bitter Truth is the third in this series.

I can't say which series I like the most. I sympathize with Rutledge enduring Hamish, the soldier he was forced to execute on the field, living and speaking in his conscience. I admire the man's courage to continue to be effective under such circumstances. And there's Bess who sees her duty and does it to perfection. But as I don't have to choose, I can enjoy both series. And I do, very much.

As you delve into A Bitter Truth, you will become a part of each scene. Able to feel the driving rain on your face or experience the complete blackness of the countryside at night and ride the rugged country roads. Or enjoy the stiff upper lip of Gran, the matriarch of the family, who still believes in old standards.

Bess arrives home in London from the battlefields in France for a brief leave, and finds a woman cowering in the doorway to her flat in a cold and driving rain. Providing succor, Bess is persuaded to take the woman, Lydia, back to Vixen Hill in Sussex where she ran from a suddenly abusive husband.

No good deed goes unpunished. Bess finds herself caught up in a grieving family and their myriad problems. Lydia's husband's sister died as a small child many years before. It seems no one has yet adjusted to her absence. However, they are gathered for a memorial service to honor Lydia's brother-in-law who was a fallen soldier. One of the guests blurts out what should have never been revealed and Bess is asked to locate a child in the charge of nuns in France.

No, I can't disclose any more of the intriguing plot. Read this tightly written story to discover for yourself the secrets hidden behind the walls of Vixen Hill.

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