September 2010 Indie Next List
“Bess Crawford, World War I battlefield nurse, catches a glimpse of the wife of one of the wounded soldiers in her care in a desperate clutch at a train station. The wife is murdered later that day and Bess's patient is soon dead, also. What and whom did Bess see? Scotland Yard is soon in touch, and Bess can't let the memory go. The battlefield scenes are unforgettable, but it is the characters and suspense that drive this, the second in the excellent new series from the author of the Ian Rutledge Mysteries.”
— Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
World War I nurse Bess Crawford, introduced in A Duty to the Dead, returns in an exciting new mystery in which a murder draws her inexorably into the sights of a cunning killer
It is the early summer of 1917. Bess Crawford has returned to England from the trenches of France with a convoy of severely wounded men. One of her patients is a young pilot who has been burned beyond recognition, and who clings to life and the photo of his wife that is pinned to his tunic.
While passing through a London train station, Bess notices a woman bidding an emotional farewell to an officer, her grief heart-wrenching. And then Bess realizes that she seems familiar. In fact, she's the woman in the pilot's photo, but the man she is seeing off is not her husband.
Back on duty in France, Bess discovers a newspaper with a drawing of the woman's face on the front page. Accompanying the drawing is a plea from Scotland Yard seeking information from anyone who has seen her. For it appears that the woman was murdered on the very day Bess encountered her at the station.
Granted leave to speak with Scotland Yard, Bess becomes entangled in the case. Though an arrest is made, she must delve into the depths of her very soul to decide if the police will hang an innocent man or a vicious killer. Exposing the truth is dangerousand will put her own life on the line.
About the Author
Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.
“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
-New York Times Book Review on An Impartial Witness
“A book rich in atmosphere and dense with plot.”
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch on An Impartial Witness
“Bess Crawford is a strong and likable character.”
-Washington Times on An Impartial Witness
-Mystery Scene 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
“A smartly plotted, well-told mystery.”
-Booklist on An Impartial Witness
“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
“Finely plotted and full of meticulous period detail and deft characterizations, An Impartial Witness testifies to the lasting appeal of historical mystery fiction.”
-Strand magazine on An Impartial Witness
“This second book in the Bess Crawford series places this mother-son duo at the top of their plotting game, with intricate twists and plenty of viable suspects. The meticulously realized period detailing is an intrinsic part of a story that is much more than a whodunit.”
-Romantic Times on An Impartial Witness