A DUTY TO THE DEAD
The first novel in what looks to be a terrific new series features war nurse Bess Crawford, a wise and independent woman in 1916 England. Her sense of responsibility makes her a resourceful and formidable sleuth. Full of rich historical details, this novel contrasts the beauty of the English countryside with the horrors of a war that devastated families. Family secrets and a tragic ending round out this absorbing mystery.
Bess narrowly escapes death when the World War I hospital ship she's working on sinks. With a broken arm, she returns home to mend and realizes she must not put off a daunting task any longer. Bess embarks for Kent to deliver the last words of Arthur Graham, a wounded soldier she became quite fond of before his death.
The cryptic message is intended for one of three brothers and, before long, Bess is drawn into a mystery involving dark family secrets. One brother was committed to an insane asylum for the death of a young woman years earlier, and Bess thinks Arthur's message connects to the crime. Bess must uncover the truth and carry out her duty to the dead. (MORROW, Sep., 336 pp., $24.99)