Bridget's Reviews > A Duty To The Dead

A Duty To The Dead by Charles Todd
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's review
Nov 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009-reads
Read in November, 2009

Bess Crawford, the heroine of this book, is a woman who volunteered for the nursing service in World War I in England. As the book begins, she is serving on a hospital ship Britannic, when it is hit by an underwater mine and sinks. Bess is sent home to recover from a resulting broken arm, and to await her next assignment.

While home, she is determined to deliver a message from a soldier that she nursed who died. He made her swear to deliver it to his brother, and she ventures to Owlhurst, the family home of the soldier. This leads to a series of new characters and interesting developments, based on the message itself, which is cryptic and vague all at the same time. As the entire family of the soldier becomes involved in knowing about the message, Bess becomes more and more suspicious of its meaning. When she is called upon to help nurse two characters in the village - the "insane" brother of the family she is visiting, and a soldier sent home with shell shock - things become more and more curious to her, and she starts talking to others in the village.

Without giving away anything, I can tell you that as she receives an unexpected visit from someone she met at Owlhurst once she returns to London, the story becomes more and more involved, and she decides that it is up to her to see that justice is served.

I really enjoyed this book. The writing was good, the descriptions evocative, and the information about the way that shell shocked soldiers were thought of and treated at the time was really fascinating to me. I would recommend it, particularly if you like period suspense stories.

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