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A Pattern of Lies: A Bess Crawford Mystery    by Charles Todd Amazon.com order for
Pattern of Lies
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I hesitated on reading the first page of A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd because I knew a book by a favorite author would end eventually and I never want this author's books to end. I enjoy them too much to turn the last page.

A Pattern of Lies is a Bess Crawford mystery. Bess is a nurse during World War I and often accompanies wounded soldiers from the battlefields of France to medical facilities in England for their recovery. On her way to visit her parents during one of these journeys, she stops to see a recently recovered soldier, Major Mark Ashton, whom she nursed previously.

She learns of the difficulties that are plaguing this man. His family's powder mill was being pressured to produce more gunpowder than was possible to do safely when the mill blew up, killing more than a hundred local men. The family has been subjected to rumors that Mark's father, Philip, started the resulting fire, and he was charged with murder.

Bess tries to find a man who claimed to see what truly happened and she uses her time back in France to track this man down.

We are treated to the suspense that always carries the story along. The author knows how to keep readers on the edge of their seats. I also felt a sense of outrage at the accusation that Philip started the fire. The atmosphere of the village would have been hard to live with. The villagers seem to fall one by one for whomever started the gossip that was sure to devastate the Ashtons and put Philip's neck in a noose. Bess becomes involved more deeply as she searches for the witness and puts her own life in danger.

Charles Todd is the name that a mother and son use to produce their wonderful novels. I almost love the background scenery as much as I do the mysteries. I can imagine the trips they must make to accurately write of the villages and towns and countryside that they use as sites for their stories. They also write the Ian Rutledge series as well as two standalone novels. Each and every one is well worth a read.

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