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A Pattern of Lies (Bess Crawford, #7)
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A Pattern of Lies

(Bess Crawford #7)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,422 ratings  ·  386 reviews
An explosion and fire at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent has killed over a hundred men. It’s called an appalling tragedy—until suspicion and rumor raise the specter of murder. While visiting the Ashton family, Bess Crawford finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn’t stop with Philip Ashton’s arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the hous ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by William Morrow
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Jen Fishler I'm with you, this series. My only complaint is that I've already read them up to this point and can't enjoy them for the first time…moreI'm with you, this series. My only complaint is that I've already read them up to this point and can't enjoy them for the first time all over again! Charles Todd is quite a team...kudos, kudos, absolute reading delight!(less)
Beth I picked up #7 and, throughout, I was wondering, "Who is this guy Simon to Bess?" Needed more explanation of that; otherwise, there are enough hints…moreI picked up #7 and, throughout, I was wondering, "Who is this guy Simon to Bess?" Needed more explanation of that; otherwise, there are enough hints to the other continuing characters that you can enjoy them on their own. (less)

Community Reviews

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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,422 ratings  ·  386 reviews

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Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: british-mystery
If this was the only Bess Crawford mystery I had ever read, I would have really liked it. As it is, I have read them all so far, and I am increasingly frustrated with the absence of a personal life (or at least the absence of a clear idea of what Bess THINKS of her personal life). She is something of an enigma always, because while the books are written in the first person, we do not see a lot of personality, just what she thinks of the progress of the current mystery. I do not need her to be ma ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
I hoped I would like this book, I had no idea how much I would come to love it. It's not always easy to start a series with the latest book instead of with the first, but this one was easy to get into.

Bess Crawford is a nurse during WW1 and she spends a lot of time in France tending to the wounded soldiers and that is how she got to know Mark Ashton. Now, later on, she runs into him again, this time in England where he is visiting his family before getting back to France. She learns that his fam
Once again Sister Bess Crawford, WWI nurse, investigates a mystery. This time, she's helping an army officer prove his father's innocence in a horrific gunpowder factory explosion. The Ashtons live in a small village near the coast in Kent, and Philip Ashton, mill owner, is arrested on suspicion of causing the explosion two years in the past which killed and injured a great many villagers. The town, including the police, is convinced that he is responsible, and his whole family is shunned and su ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

The title may be “pattern of lies” but the end result became a design for destruction. While this is a murder story, it is also, and more significantly, a story about the evil that men (and women) do, and man’s (and woman’s) inhumanity to their fellow humans. And that’s what makes this one so chilling. It’s not the original murder, it’s the mob mentality that takes over a small town and very nearly hounds an innocent man to his death.

As we have found out al
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
The Bess Crawford Series is an enjoyable cozy mystery series set in England during WWI. Main character Bess Crawford is a nurse and a bit like Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote (telling my age a bit with that comment). Bess is continually stumbling across murders and helping to solve them.

In A Pattern of Lies, Bess helps solve a two year old crime in which a 100 factory workers were killed in an explosion. The explosion and its severity were based upon fact. There is a lot of detail provided
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
I listened to the book on CD and it was well read. Even so, I would have appreciated a bit faster pace in the story itself. Sometimes I felt the descriptions of unrelated things bogged the story down, as well as repetitions of the plot to that point in the story.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a good series showing a side of WWI —dealing with the wounded as Sister Bess Crawford, a nurse near the battlefront often deals with more than medical issues. But with this seventh in the series, it seems to be like the war itself, never-ending. I agree with some others commenting that Bess doesn’t seem to have a personal life. There have been several opportunities for at least to have a boyfriend, if not a love affair. I checked and there are two remaining books in the series, and ...more
Mary B. Grove
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
complex plotting, abrupt end

I really like the way the Chas. Todd team writes, though I do feel the Bess Crawford mysteries is weaker generally than their original series. In particular, in the last few books, there's been an explosive denoument and then a very weak "ending" that really isn't. When you, the authors, have the reader's adrenaline all riled up, you've got to do something with it. You can't just offer an almost inconsequential exchange between Simon and Bess - even if it is about the
Raven Haired Girl
Aug 24, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015
Visit Raven Haired Girl for other reviews and giveaways

I'm a huge Charles Todd fan. I adore the writing, the setting, the smart mystery and of course Bess Crawford. This was a satisfactory installment but I need Bess to grow in her character. I understand wartime has alter lives, however, Bess is becoming predictable and boring, we know what to expect and, most importantly, what not to expect from her romantically and personally. Yes, we know of her family, her dedication to her job, a woman of
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
For those who love the mother/son team of Charles Todd, their new book is wonderful. It's towards the end of WWI and Bess Crawford is still going back and forth from England to the battle zone in Europe. A terrible fire and explosion has destroyed an armament factory in Kent. The Army ruled it an accident after first looking for German saboteurs . Now 2 years later, rumors are circulating that Philip Ashton , the owner of the factory purposely destroyed it.
The entire town is buying the rumor a
Sharon Huether
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won this Book through Goodreads First-Reads. Thanks Goodreads. The setting is WWI in France and England. Nurse Bess Crawford is a very caring nurse that is always looking for the truth. After an Ammunitions Powder Mill blows up and kills many workers. The owner is in prison awaiting trial. She helps the authorities and military find the person responsible.
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
I don't know what the draw if for mystery's and perhaps it is that we love to feel like we are contributing to solving the unknown. Set against the backdrop of WWI, as readers immerse themselves into the nursing duties of Bess Crawford. It is a time where nursing was just beginning to grow their grassroots and it wasn't a pretty way to get involved for women to help in the war effort. It is a time of unsanitary conditions, amid the begins of medical procedures while bombs and shells are going of ...more
Laura Edwards
Quite possibly, my least favorite book in the series.

Well, finally, in BOOK SEVEN we're given a physical description of Bess. Bess has light brown hair and dark eyes, not the auburn hair and green eyes I was forced to ascribe to her on my own initiative. I'll just have to adjust the mental picture I conjured up around book three since there was never a prior description of the MAIN CHARACTER. Shame on the Todds for such a glaring oversight.

I think the family of Philip Ashton was pretty stupid n
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I just finished this and need some time to think about what I want to say about it.

It's been a few days and I hate to admit that I was disappointed with this book. The first books in this series were fabulous. Can't stop reading kind of fabulous. Bess was smart and likeable and interesting. The attraction between Bess and Simon was fun to read.

This latest book, and frankly the one before it, is dull. There's no spark anywhere. I hope the Todds are able to capture the essence of the beginning of
PennsyLady (Bev)
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles Todd (Author), Rosalyn Landor (Narrator), HarperAudio

In 1916, at the height of the war, an explosion and fire at Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent killed more than one hundred men.
Army investigation of the tragedy attributed it, most probably, to German subversive activity.
In 1918, a web of hometown lies and suspicion emerge and attempt to credit the disaster to the owner, Philip Ashton.
Bess attempts to help former patient (Major Mark Aston) and his family when resurfacing accusations result
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Good story, but the character development of Bess is very thin.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Davie
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Seventh in the Bess Crawford historical mystery series set during World War I with this story in the autumn of 1918 near the end of the war and revolving around Sister Crawford. The action takes place between the frontlines in France and around Canterbury in Kent.

My Take
Todd had my heart rate going on this one. I could not see how they would ever be able to figure out what was going on. And what is with that police station?? Were they that unsupervised at the time? Were they that autonomous?? Su
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it

Review: It is the fall of 1918 and we all know the War to End all Wars will soon be over but nursing sister Bess and everyone else doesn't realize that. Bess is home from France on a short leave and is stranded at the train station with no train to catch to London to visit her family. All the trains have been commandeered for troops. So she decides to see some of the sights and runs into a former patient she nursed 2 years ago and he invites her to his home with his parents.

Once she gets there s
Technically DNF. I got halfway and was bored to tears. So I skipped to the last chapter just to find out who did it.

I used to love the Bess Crawford novels, but I think the formula is boring now. She doesn't strike me as a clever investigator (ala Hercule Poirot) as much as a busybody who stumbles onto the solution to the mystery. Also, the other characters are stereotyped. Sadly, this is probably the last Charles Todd novel for me since I felt the same way about the Ian Rutledge novels after th
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A historical World War One Novel. The background is set in Kent, England and aid stations and hospitals in France. The trains are delayed in Kent and Bess Crawford meets up with Mark Ashton whom she nurse in France. He invites to spend the night with the family. She learns that the gunpowder factory nearby had exploded and killed 100 men and many businesses and homes were damaged in the explosion. Almost every resident has lost a love one in the disaster. Two years LIES are being circulated abou ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
As World War I is winding down, nursing sister Bess Crawford escorts a load of wounded to Kent. Next by is a former munitions factory that exploded killing a hundred men. Now the owner of the plant is arrested for murder and the family is being harassed. Bess investigates because she knows the faimily through the son when she was his nurse in France.
Aug 22, 2017 added it
I enjoyed this book, but thought it dragged a little in the middle. I still really enjoy the characters.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can never seem to rush through one of these books, but the slow savoring of each is satisfying.
First Sentence: I didn’t know much about the little town of Cranbourne on the Swale in northwestern Kent, only that its abbey had been destroyed by a very angry Henry VIII when the abbot of the day refused to take the King’s side in certain matters.

On leave from France and trying to get to her parents home, field nurse Bess Crawford runs into a former patient, Mark Ashton. Due to a train delay, Bess, is pleased to visit his family. On the way, Bess learns about mill tragedy that killed over a hu
Luanne Ollivier
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Charles Todd returns with the latest (#7) in the Bess Crawford series - A Pattern of Lies.

Bess is a Sister with England's Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. She has served her country since the beginning of the war in both France and England. It's 1918 and the hope is that the War will soon be over.

A chance encounter on a leave plunges Bess into another mystery. (For in addition to being a stellar nurse, she's just as adept at solving mysteries) Mark Ashton, an officer and form
Alana White
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Canterbury, Kent, autumn 1918. In this seventh book in the Bess Crawford mystery series, Bess (a nursing sister in the last days of World War I) is stranded in Canterbury after accompanying wounded soldiers from France to England. Whiling away the hours until she may travel on to Victoria Station, she encounters a former patient, Major Mark Ashton, who kindly invites her to stay the night at Abbey Hall, where he and his parents live. During the drive there Mark confides he had come to the Canter ...more
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Woodbury Moore
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Although the 7th in the series, this is the first Bess Crawford mystery I've read. Bess is a World War I nurse with a penchant for stumbling across trouble. In this novel, she encounters a former patient--Mark Ashton--in Canterbury, where she's stuck awaiting a train to London. Mark invites her to his home, and she's caught up in his family's problems. Two years ago their armament factory blew up in a horrendous explosion that killed over 100 employees. The Army ruled out sabotage, but rumors ar ...more
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Play Book Tag: Pattern of Lies - Todd - 3 stars 4 12 Feb 13, 2019 04:26PM  
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Charles Todd is the pen name used by the mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd. Together they write the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford Series. They have published two standalone mystery novels and many short stories.

Other books in the series

Bess Crawford (10 books)
  • A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford, #1)
  • An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, #2)
  • A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford, #3)
  • An Unmarked Grave (Bess Crawford, #4)
  • A Question of Honor (Bess Crawford, #5)
  • An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford, #6)
  • The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford, #8)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford, #9)
  • A Forgotten Place (Bess Crawford, #10)
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