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AN UNMARKED GRAVE by Charles Todd

AN UNMARKED GRAVE

By Charles Todd

Pub Date: June 5th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-201572-3
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Plucky battlefield nurse Bess Crawford (A Bitter Truth, 2011, etc.) fights World War I diseases, deserters and more.

When Pvt. Wilson, heading up the burial detail, notices that one of the corpses has no wounds except for a broken neck, he summons nurse Bess Crawford to decide what to do. Bess recognizes the victim as Maj. Vincent Carson, a former member of her father’s old regiment. But before she can get a message to her dad, the Col. Sahib, she’s stricken with influenza, falls into a coma, and is shipped home from Ypres to Dorset. In recovery, she volunteers at Somerset’s Longleigh House clinic, where a wounded Yank, Capt. Thomas Barclay, becomes semismitten and helps her investigate who might have wanted Carson dead. Simon Brandon, her father’s former batman now handling classified assignments for the government, also tries to help, but is seriously wounded before making much headway. Bess returns to France, as does the Yank. Soon enough she must face death twice, confront a deserter with good intentions, shoot a purported British officer in the head, sort through the whereabouts and motives of seven brothers, keep tabs on the Kaiser and the Prince of Wales, and worry about poor Simon’s state of health. Her father will have to step in to see to her safety, but peripatetic Bess, who crosses the channel innumerable times, sets matters right.

How many wartime casualties and heroics from Bess does it take to exhaust a reader? Unfortunately, exactly this many, despite the author’s fierce antiwar sentiments. Readers weary of Bess can take refuge in Todd's Ian Rutledge series (The Confession, 2012, etc.).