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A Cruel Deception

(Bess Crawford #11)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  759 ratings  ·  116 reviews
In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford attempts to save a troubled former soldier from a mysterious killer.

The Armistice of November 1918 ended the fighting, but the Great War will not be over until a Peace Treaty is drawn up and signed by all parties. Representatives from the Allies are gathering in Paris, and already ominous signs of disagreement have app
ebook, (EPUB), 320 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers (New York)
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The Library Lady
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought about giving this a 3 mainly because I am tired of Bess's love life. Clearly she has a thing for Simon, when is she going to figure that out, and the last lines here seem to be foreshadowing something for books to come. Also, since Melinda Crawford is a regular secondary character in both this series and in the Todds's Ian Rutledge series, I keep expecting that eventually the two timelines will meet, as will the characters, perhaps Ian as one of Bess's patients? So far no sign of that. ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi
Is this really only the 11th Bess Crawford? Well, I have enjoyed them all. This one Bess is quite alone and experiences some harrowing challenges as she complies with order from her superior to find and care for a missing son in Paris. I don't care to ruin the story for others and my eyes are calling me to sleepy time.
It's a great WWI series.

Library Loan
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
This excellent series continues with nursing sister Bess Crawford in 1918, just after the Armistice, determining what path she should follow after years of war service. Her London hospital matron steps in with a personal request of Bess - find and help her soldier son, apparently missing from his work with the peace talks in Paris. This is another beautifully rendered story about the lingering effects of war, both physical and mental, and the conflict of social change that inevitably occurs, Asi ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Always a joy to spend time solving a mystery with Bess Crawford.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to believe this is the 11th installment of the Bess Crawford series, it seems like yesterday that I was reading about the ship Bess was returning to England had been hit and was sinking. The series continues to be outstanding and this one is no different. The war is over and Bess accepts an personal assignment from the Matron of the London office of Queen Alexandra to return to Paris and check on her son and report back to the Matron. At Bess arrival in Paris Bess found the affairs of ...more
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it

I have read most, if not all, of this series featuring Bess Crawford. She's a member of Queen Alexandra's nurses who served valiantly at the front during WWI. Opening this book was just like sitting down to tea with a good friend:

"Oh, Bess. It's so good to see you. What on earth have you been up to?"

"Well, a most extraordinary request has brought me here. Matron called me to her office recently and asked a personal favor. She hadn't heard from her son for quite some time and was wor
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This series has taken the reader through the unspeakable horrors of World War I through the eyes of Sister (nurse) Bess Crawford. Each entry, while focusing on a murder or murders to be solved, gains its inspiration from actual events inspired by that war and its effects on every strata of European society, resulting mysteries that are not only entertaining but appeal to the heart and the mind of the reader.

A Cruel Deception is no exception. We find Bess at loose ends as peace talks
I'm always happy at the release of another Charles Todd novel, and the latest in the Bess Crawford series was no exception. While A Cruel Deception seemed to me to be not as fast paced as some earlier titles in the series, it was still a quick, enjoyable read. Bess returns to France in search of a hospital Matron's son, who has walked away from his duties at the Peace Conference. I do find that I am a bit impatient with Bess's lack of concern for the possible repercussions when she sets out on h ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The greatest strength of the Bess Crawford books is the meticulous adherence to the details and the spirit of time and place. I enjoyed following along as Bess searched for an answer to the miasma surrounding her Matron's son. I did want more of Bess and her own personal story. Looking forward to the next installment.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really 3.5 stars. I love this series, and I look forward to reading every new book. It feels like A Cruel Deception is almost a filler, or transition piece. The mystery in this book seemed a little weak, and the solution was, to my mind, contrived. Bess will be facing transitions in her career it seems, and hopefully in her love life. Simon or Ian Rutledge? To be determined.
Laura Hill
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to HarperCollins Publishers and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 22nd, 2019.

An absorbing addition to the Bess Crawford series — this episode takes place in Paris, just after the end of WWI. Bess is sent on a private mission to track down the missing son of a Nursing Matron and has to unravel a complicated history whilst fending off surprise attacks on both herself and the subject. Always wel
Ray Palen
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard to believe that we are already discussing the eleventh novel in the terrific Bess Crawford series. It seems like I was just diving into the first novel featuring the WWI battlefield Nurse from England and feeling like it was just a temporary respite from the well-seasoned, award-winning Ian Rutledge series. Yes, the mother and son team that writes under the name of Charles Todd knew a good thing was happening when they penned their first Bess Crawford mystery and we're so lucky that it ...more
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bess Crawford is sent to Paris by Matron to find her son, Lawrence, and report back to her regarding his whereabouts and condition. As a wounded army captain, he had volunteered to take part in the peace talks but is now missing. Bess takes on the challenge and finds him staying with a friend, a young woman whose family he had helped during the war. But he is suffering from a severe laudanum addiction and makes it clear that he resents both Bess' and his mother's interference. Bess decides not t ...more
Donna Hines
A troubled soldier and a mysterious killer--Count me IN!
Such a haunting reflection upon this soldier...But what haunts him so deeply that he wants to take his own life?
What could possibly be so excruciatingly painful upon him as to turn to drugs to mask the pain?
A drowning-a young girl- a lost opportunity for forgiveness?
It's this empathy that attracted Sister Bess to carry out a personal mission in the wake of these events of war.
It's this same compassion that she
Melissa Dee
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A new Bess Crawford mystery is a delight. In "Cruel Deception,” Bess is struggling with her changing role as the war is ending and nursing sisters are returning to civilian life. Her renowned investigative skills are called into action by her superior Matron, who sends Bess on an unorthodox mission to find a soldier missing from the peace talks taking place in Paris. What looks at first like a simple case of AWOL turns into something more complex.

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Karen Potts
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Bess Crawford, one of my favorite heroines, endeavors to find her nursing superior's son & heal him of the delusions of guilt gnawing at his soul over events he can't remember except in nightmares. She is clever, wise & determined as always & eventually the story unfolds to restore health & harmony. Another outstanding book in an outstanding series.
I was pleased to see Bess rely at least somewhat more on her own resources than she has in past entries, when Simon Brandon or her father always seem to show up in the nick of time to rescue her. The “Colonel Sahib” still manages to ride to Bess’s rescue at the crucial moment, but Bess’s own actions largely rescue herself this time.
Kaitlyn Dunnett
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing read, with one last twist at the end (NOT a cliffhanger, just a surprise revelation) that has me anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series. It looks like the post WW I years may prove just as challenging to Bess Crawford as the war itself.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full review can be found here:
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was entertaining and suspenseful, and if it was a standalone, I would recommend it. As an entry in the Bess Crawford series, though, it lacked some of the key characters that have made this series so fun to read, and a lot of the obvious historical markers that make the series distinctive. While I strongly recommend the series, this episode was somewhat disappointing.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A great diversion! A very quick read, good mystery, a real page turner. I enjoyed this latest Bess Crawford mystery. Not as dark as the last one. To me, much more fun. Historical Fiction
It's hard to believe that we are already discussing the 11th entry in the terrific Bess Crawford series. It seems like I was just diving into the first installment featuring the World War I battlefield nurse from England and thinking that it was just a temporary respite from the well-seasoned, award-winning Ian Rutledge series. Yes, the mother-and-son team that writes under the name "Charles Todd" knew that a good thing was happening when they penned their first Bess Crawford mystery, and we're ...more
Maggie Boyd
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fans of historical mysteries who have not yet read the Bess Crawford series by the writing duo known as Charles Todd should do so immediately. Set during the peace accords in France following WWI, A Cruel Deception (the eleventh in the series) finds Bess stepping away from her nursing duties to do a favor for one of her superiors. Since the stories are heavily character driven and the character building takes place across all the novels, I strongly recommend reading them in order.

Stephanie Pieck
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've followed the Bess Crawford mysteries with interest because World War I is a fascinating period in history, where the last of a non-industrial society finally receded and everything suddenly seemed to become faster and more complicated. Even the status and expectations of and about women changed.
Bess Crawford is a determined, independent woman who went into nursing. In this new installment, the Great War is over, but Bess feels strongly about wanting to stay in the Queen Alexandra's nu
Lisa Johnson
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Title: A Cruel Deception (Bess Crawford Mysteries #11)
Author: Charles Todd
Pages: 320
Year: 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Bess Crawford receives a request from the matron of her unit to travel to Paris to check up on her son, Lieutenant Milton, who has not been heard from in some weeks. While the request is unusual due to the personal nature, Bess feels as if it is more like an order and complies. First she must locate the wayward so
While the shadows of politics in Charles Todd's latest Bess Crawford mystery are interesting, the book itself was not. A Cruel Deception is a slow-moving, drawn out story that might appeal to the authors' fans, but most of the rest of us will find it tedious.

Most of the army hospitals in England are closing down, so it doesn't come as a surprise to Sister Bess Crawford when she's sent to nursing headquarters. She expects a reassignment. Instead, Matron asks her to take a personal job
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bess Crawford returns in the eleventh novel in this series. The book opens with Bess being recalled to London to speak with the Matron of The Queen Alexandra’s London headquarters. She’s sure she’s being summoned to be told her services will no longer be needed. Instead, the Matron wants Bess to undertake a personal mission to find her son. Lawrence Minton is one of Britain’s representatives at the peace talks taking place in Paris to officially end WWI. But Lawrence is missing, no longer at his ...more
Judy Lawson
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to give this book 3.5 stars, but I couldn't make that happen. The story itself was good - a great improvement over the last book, which had me wondering if I wanted to continue reading the series. In this new book though, found that I continue to be irritated with Bess for making decisions that not only are not wise but that don't really even make sense. As a mother, I was quite frustrated at her decisions to leave Matron out of the loop - especially since her son's life was at stake. B ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A new Charles Todd novel is always a delight, and I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC of this one.

The Great War is over, but Bess Crawford is still caring for the wounded. There are many men who won't recover from their war and she's determined to do her best for them. She is dismayed to be summoned to the headquarters of the nursing service, fearing they'll want her to take a teaching post or worse, be ready for her to resign. Instead she finds that the Matron has a special task for
C.P. Lesley
Writing novels—never mind entire series—takes determination, persistence, imagination, and craft. Charles Todd has added to those natural challenges the joys and complications of creating a single persona from a mother/son team. In A Cruel Deception, the eleventh in their beloved Bess Crawford series, the strengths of their long collaboration are on full display.

Bess, a British nurse, worked with the wounded throughout the First World War. In A Cruel Deception, the war has ended, and Bess faces the futu
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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 (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • A Pattern of Lies (Bess Crawford, #7)
  • The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford, #8)
  • A Casualty of War (Bess Crawford, #9)
  • A Forgotten Place (Bess Crawford, #10)