An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
ISBN: 9780062237194 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062326447 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062237217 (digital)
William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins
FTC Disclosure: Advanced review copy provided by publisher
I can never get enough of historical fiction, especially mysteries. I guess this was born from reading a bit of Agatha Christie, although hers are only “historical” because of how much time has passed since initial publication. Nowadays, whenever I want a reliable read, I don’t look much further than Charles Todd and his Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mysteries. Although it must be noted, Charles Todd is actually a mother and son writing team who work so well together, that determining who contributed what in any of their books is impossible.
An Unwilling Accomplice is one of the latest installments of the Bess Crawford mystery series. Set toward the end of World War I, this particular story finds Bess on a short leave looking forward to some much needed rest. However, she’s been requested to accompany a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace where the man is to receive a medal.
The mystery begins subtly as she doesn’t recognize the name and with her memory of wounds, she’s sure she would have remembered him. Regardless, she does her duty only to be repaid by the man up and disappearing. The next time she hears about him, he is suspected of committing murder and is on the run.
Bess is yet again caught up with intrigue during a tumultuous time in England which quickly mirrors itself in Bess’ life as she strives to right a wrong. This time the situation nearly causes her to lose her place in the nursing service, as well as the respect of her superiors she’s worked so hard to earn on her own, not as her father’s daughter.
The story is engaging and keeps your attention through every chapter. In the past, she’s received some help from her family, but this particular adventure is primarily her and Simon Brandon working to find the truth before their suspect kills again. Another difference is that most of the book is set in England while Bess is on leave, giving those familiar with the series a break from the war just like their heroine Bess.
At 352 pages, you won’t feel the need to skip along, because the story never drags. There is little predictability and the plot is complex enough but not over the top. Highly, highly recommended!
Fans of Maisie Dobbs and Maggie Hope will love Bess and once Todd has you hooked, you have to check out the Ian Rutledge mysteries. The first book in that series is called A Test of Wills.
Find more of Charles Todd books on Amazon. They can also be found at Powell’s Books.