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A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery (Bess Crawford Mysteries, 3) Paperback – May 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 452 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Makes fine work of the brooding atmosphere.” — New York Times Book Review on A Bitter Truth

“Outstanding.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on A Bitter Truth

“Bess is a very strong series lead, the historical setting is as well developed here as it is in the Rutledge books, and the mysteries are just as elegantly constructed. Readers who have yet to sample the Crawford series should be strongly encouraged to do so.” — Booklist on A Bitter Truth

“Few writers surpass Todd in depicting the insanity of war.” — Kirkus Reviews on A Bitter Truth

“Todd brings World War I England and France to life with an intriguing plot and an intrepid sleuth.” — Library Journal on A Bitter Truth

“A thoughtful mystery with an excellent plot, well-drawn characters and wonderful atmosphere.” — Associated Press on A Bitter Truth

“A well-envisaged plot, a deep sense of time and place and characters drawn with care and compassion.” — Richmond Times-Dispatch on A Bitter Truth

“Charles Todd has developed believable characters that carry along this story with lightning speed from the first page to the last.” — New York Journal of Books on A Bitter Truth

“The Todds excel at complex characterizations....For lovers of upper-drawer British whodunnits and Anglophiles in general, A Bitter Truth should prove a sweet treat indeed.” — Wilmington Star-News on A Bitter Truth

“A lovely picture of a slower world.” — Charlotte Observer on A Bitter Truth

“A thoughtful mystery with an excellent plot, well-drawn characters and wonderful atmosphere.” — Indianapolis Star on A Bitter Truth

“Combines believable characters, gut-wrenching suspense and a sobering commentary on the ravages of war.” — Deseret News on A Bitter Truth

“Highly recommended―well-rounded, believable characters, a multi-layered plot solidly based on human nature, all authentically set in the England of 1917, make A Bitter Truth an outstanding and riveting read.” — Stephanie Laurens, New York Times bestselling author

“Readers will enjoy Todd’s plucky, determined sleuth and a thrilling mystery that proves murders on the home front don’t stop just because there’s a war.” — Library Journal on An Impartial Witness

“Bess Crawford is a strong and likable character.” — Washington Times on An Impartial Witness

“A superb whodunit―just when you think you have it figured out, Todd throws a curve―and a moving evocation of a world at war.” — Richmond Times-Dispatch on An Impartial Witness

“A smartly plotted, well-told mystery.” — Booklist on An Impartial Witness

“A book rich in atmosphere and dense with plot.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch on An Impartial Witness

“Todd’s excellent second mystery featuring British nurse Bess Crawford smoothly blends realistic characters with an intricate plot.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on An Impartial Witness

“Find some cures for the post-Downton Abbey blues ... Charles Todd has been producing a series of highly praised detective novels set in the years immediately after World War I.” — Tulsa World Scene

From the Back Cover

While attempting to help a woman in distress, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford learns a bitter truth, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Returning to her London flat from the front lines in France for a well-earned Christmas leave, Bess Crawford comes upon a bruised and shivering woman huddled in the doorway. Propelled by pity, Bess takes her in. Yet despite the ill effects of a concussion suffered during a quarrel with her husband that erupted into violence, the woman decides to return home, and asks Bess to travel with her to Sussex.

At Vixen Hill, Bess discovers a family in mourning for an elder son who has died of war wounds, and a husband tormented by jealousy and his own guilty conscience. But when a troubled houseguest meets an untimely death, Bess finds herself the prime suspect, and on the trail of a vicious killer that leads back to war-torn France toward a startling revelation that will place her life in dire jeopardy.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062015710
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062015716
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 0.88 x 5.34 x 7.8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 452 ratings

About the author

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Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree that means he can boil more than water. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.

Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvelous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great-uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.

Charles learned the rich history of Britain, including the legends of King Arthur, William Wallace, and other heroes, as a child. Books on Nelson and by Winston Churchill were always at hand. Their many trips to England gave them the opportunity to spend time in villages and the countryside, where there'a different viewpoint from that of the large cities. Their travels are at the heart of the series they began ten years ago.

Charles's love of history led him to a study of some of the wars that shape it: the American Civil War, WWI and WWII. He enjoys all things nautical, has an international collection of seashells, and has sailed most of his life. Golf is still a hobby that can be both friend and foe. And sports in general are enthusiasms. Charles had a career as a business consultant. This experience gave him an understanding of going to troubled places where no one was glad to see him arrive. This was excellent training for Rutledge's reception as he tries to find a killer in spite of local resistance.

Caroline has always been a great reader and enjoyed reading aloud, especially poetry that told a story. The Highwayman was one of her early favorites. Her wars are WWI, the Boer War, and the English Civil War, with a sneaking appreciation of the Wars of the Roses as well. When she's not writing, she's traveling the world, gardening, or painting in oils. Her background in international affairs backs up her interest in world events, and she's also a sports fan, an enthusiastic follower of her favorite teams in baseball and pro football. She loves the sea, but is a poor sailor. (Charles inherited his iron stomach from his father.) Still, she has never met a beach she didn't like.

Both Caroline and Charles share a love of animals, and family pets have always been rescues. There was once a lizard named Schnickelfritz. Don't ask.

Writing together is a challenge, and both enjoy giving the other a hard time. The famous quote is that in revenge, Charles crashes Caroline's computer, and Caroline crashes his parties. Will they survive to write more novels together? Stay tuned! Their father/husband is holding the bets.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
452 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

MB
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bitter Truth
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 27, 2015
H. Lacroix
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked this one a little less... but I still read it in just over 24 hours...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 15, 2013
One person found this helpful
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Patricia Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great author compelling mystery
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 28, 2020
Gaye Sissons
5.0 out of 5 stars Very glad there are more in this series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 5, 2015
Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 4, 2013