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An Irish Hostage: Bess Crawford #12    by Charles Todd order for
Irish Hostage
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

An Irish Hostage is the twelfth (following A Cruel Deception) Bess Crawford mystery written by the mother and son team who go under the name of Charles Todd (also well known for their very popular series starring Inspector Ian Rutledge). Bess grew up in an army family. Her influential father (the Colonel) and close friend, Simon Brandon, were both involved in top secret war work. Bess was herself a Nursing Sister during World War I, now over.

This episode takes Bess to a hostile Ireland for the wedding of her friend, nurse Eileen Flynn to former soldier Michael Sullivan in the small Irish village where Eileen grew up. Unfortunately, the country is still reeling from the 1916 Easter Rising, with very many viewing any Irish who served in France as traitors (including Eileen and Michael). Their only protector is Eileen's cousin Terrence, a hero of the Rising in hiding from the British.

Despite all this, Bess does fly to Ireland for the wedding, only to find that the groom has disappeared. At Eileen's home (where her grandmother is a rabid supporter of the Rising) she meets best man Ellis Dawson, the groom's commanding officer in France. They do their best to aid in the search for Michael and to comfort Eileen. Her rebel cousin Terrence also does what he can. The murder of an artist brings Bess under police suspicion, but also gives her a clue as to where Michael was taken.

After Simon Brandon shows up (in gypsy disguise) to keep Bess safe, there's another abduction, and a daring island rescue. Along the way, Bess begins to question the sibling relationship she's had for so long with Simon, her 'unofficially adopted brother'. She's just beginning to realize how much he means to her - will he reciprocate?

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