A Duty to the Dead

A Duty to the Dead

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
8
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Baker & Taylor
Independent-minded Bess Crawford's upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. At the outbreak of WWI, she volunteers for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic. On one voyage, she promises to a deliver a message from a dying officer to his brother. Once she's able to do so, she's disturbed at the brother's indifferent reception of the message, and when an unexpected turn of events provides her with an opportunity to stay with the family for a short time, she takes it.

HARPERCOLL

“Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

“Readers who can’t get enough of Maisie Dobbs, the intrepid World War I battlefield nurse in Jacqueline Winspear’s novels…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
New York Times Book Review

 

Charles Todd, author of the resoundingly acclaimed Ian Rutledge crime novels (“One of the best historical series being written today” —Washington Post Book World) debuts an exceptional new protagonist, World War I nurse Bess Crawford, in A Duty to the Dead. A gripping tale of perilous obligations and dark family secrets in the shadows of a nightmarish time of global conflict, A Duty to the Dead is rich in suspense, surprise, and the impeccable period atmosphere that has become a Charles Todd trademark.



Baker
& Taylor

Bess Crawford, a nurse in World War I, promises Lieutenant Arthur Graham that she will carry his dying request to his brother, a request that is treated with skepticism, leading Bess to carry it out herself, putting her own life at risk for Arthur's sake. 75,000 first printing.
World War I nurse Bess Crawford promises Lieutenant Arthur Graham that she will carry his dying request to his brother, a request that is treated with skepticism, leading Bess to carry it out herself and put her own life at risk for Arthur's sake.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, 2009
ISBN: 9780061791765
Characteristics: 329 p. ; 24 cm

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w
wyenotgo
Sep 04, 2016

What I liked best about this book was the fully rounder-out development of the protagonist, Bess. Strong minded, clear-eyed in her sense of obligation and determined to carry on against all obstacles to get at the truth and see that justice was done. The story is very engrossing despite a couple of quite serious flaws in the telling of it. The main weakness in a departure from easy credibility once you get past midway. At one point there's also an awkward error in logical sequence of "who knew what" (no spoiler here, I'll let other readers find it for themselves and handle it as they see fit).
The time (WW 1) and place (England, mostly London and Kent) are presented surprisingly well given that the book is newly written and the author can hardly have experienced that setting in person. Apart from its 21st century language style, the book could just as well have been written 60 years ago, when stories and heroines like this were more in vogue.
I'll be quite happy to read more from this writer, assuming that more Bess Crawford stories are coming along.

d
DorisWaggoner
Nov 30, 2015

Well written first in this new series. Not A Maisy Dobbs winner-out-of-the-starting- gate, but worth reading the second one, as the writers are good. Excellently done characters, in Bess, her father and his batman, along with many of the family to whom Bess takes the posthumous message of one of her dying soldiers. The plot's a bit out of control in places, but I'll definitely read the second one. And check out the Ian Rutledge series on the basis of this one.

e
Eosos
Jun 12, 2014

The first book in the Bess Crawford series introduces our capable heroine as she embarks on a series of adventures.

Set during WWI, the story starts in the hospital ship Britannic where our heroine sustains an injury that sends her home to recover. One of her patients has entrusted her with a posthumous message to his family and her dissatisfaction with their response leads her to ask some questions of her own.

Engaging characters and an interesting settings draw the reader along, though the classic who done it tale is sacrificed in exchange for some slightly melodramatic plot devices.
All in all - a good enough book to make me read the next one, though perhaps not with the sense of keen anticipation that other (better) series inspire.

z
zaire189
Oct 07, 2013

I read the most recent book first which was "An Unmarked Grave" and I felt "A Duty to the Dead" wasn't as thrilling but a pretty good murder mystery nonetheless.

s
surfing59
May 16, 2013

This book sucked it was sooooooo boring that i skipped to the end! which is why i gave this book a half a star.

k
kt2011
Feb 03, 2012

My first experience with Charles Todd and I thought it was an interesting story with lots of twists and turns. I listened to it on my mp3 player and it was very well done. Looking forward to listening to the next one in the series.

m
Mommies2
Aug 02, 2011

A good start to a new series. A good plot and a nice character. I enjoy the "Ian Rutledge" series more.

l
lisangus
Jan 18, 2010

This kept me reading but the plot seemed rather unbelievable.

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