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An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
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Jun 24, 2012

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Read in June, 2012

While I enjoy the Ian Rankin series more, I'm becoming a fan of the Bess Crawford series by mother-son writing team of Charles Todd. Set in the Spring of 1918, Sister Bess Crawford is a British nursing sister stationed in France in a forward aid station. Besides dealing with daily battlefield casualties, the Spanish influenza is killing thousands and there seems to be no defense against it. Working almost around the clock, Bess and the other medical staff, are beyond exhaustion when an orderly approaches Bess with a problem. There is an extra body in the shed where dead bodies are kept awaiting the burial detail. Bess is horrified when she realizes that the extra body is that of Major Vincent Carson, an officer who served in her father's regiment and he has obviously been murdered. Before Bess can report the crime, she is felled by the flu and almost dies. While the novel focuses on unraveling the mystery of what happened to Major Carson, the strength of this series is the atmosphere it evokes of the horrors of trench warfare, the overwhelming pressures that are placed on the overworked medical staff, and the pressures that World War I are placing on English society.
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