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An Impartial Witness: A Bess Crawford Mystery    by Charles Todd order for
Impartial Witness
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

A deliciously atmospheric mystery set in 1917, this second novel in the author's new series featuring Bess Crawford opens with the nurse accompanying some seriously injured servicemen back to England from France.

One of the patients, a badly burned young pilot, clings to a picture of his wife, which seems to be the only thing tethering him to life. After they reach home, Bess is given a few days leave before she must return to the front.

In a railway station she is troubled to see a woman who closely resembles the burned pilot's spouse bidding a very emotional good-bye to another soldier. Back on duty in France, the nurse is shocked to discover that the woman was killed on the same day that Beth saw her in the soldier's embrace at the train station.

Since Scotland Yard is requesting anyone who knows anything about the case to come forward, Beth is granted leave to speak with the police. More than willing to help in the investigation (especially because the pilot committed suicide when he heard of his wife's death), Beth has very mixed emotions when a suspect is brought in.

Is this really the killer? The nurse and amateur sleuth isn't so sure. Rather than see a miscarriage of justice, Beth does a little more snooping, which sets her on a collision course with a very, very dangerous killer.

Having already acquired a wide following with their Inspector Rutledge series, this mother-son writing team seems to have found another outlet for their literary talents. If reader responses and sales are any indication of success (and they are!), then Bess Crawford is destined for a long life!

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