This installment of Todd’s Bess Crawford series features the author’s usual meticulous research, and Bess continues to be an interesting heroine, a fearless woman with a strong sense of duty. There is, however, an unusual lack of depth to the secondary characters, perhaps because there are so many of them. The first half of the story meanders a bit — Todd spends some time setting up the circumstances for a humdinger of a conclusion, though, making the slow start worth it.

WWI nurse Bess Crawford is looking forward to her Christmas leave when she arrives back in London to find a battered stranger literally on her doorstep. After offering the woman shelter for the night, Bess is talked into returning to Lydia’s small village to help her smooth over the quarrel she had with her husband. Bess reluctantly agrees, but finds the atmosphere at Vixen Hall filled with an odd tension. Soon afterward, one of the houseguests is murdered, and Bess finds herself on the list of suspects. (MORROW, Sep., 352 pp., $24.99)
Reviewed by: 
Donna M. Carter