Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

A Bitter Truth is the third in the Bess Crawford Mysteries. I was introduced to Bess briefly in the book A Lonely Death, which is part of the Ian Rutledge Mysteries and focuses on the police inspector of the same name. Both series take place primarily in England during or after WWI.

Bess is a battlefield nurse. Coming home on leave for Christmas, she finds a woman huddled on her doorstep, trying to find protection from the cold winter wind. Bess invites her in to spend the night. Her guest, Lydia, slowly tells her story over the next day and a half. She invites/begs Bess to travel back home with her to help her face her husband and his family. Bess reluctantly agrees and finds much more than she bargained for.

After spending an interesting couple of days with the family (who’ve all gathered to bury Lydia’s brother-in-law), Bess is getting ready to leave when one of the house guests is found murdered. Not only does this prevent Bess from going home to see her family for Christmas, she’s even become a suspect!

Overall, I enjoyed A Bitter Truth and would happily read more in the series. It is well written and gives a good feel for the times. Large parts actually felt a lot like an Agatha Christie novel, though there is plenty of story outside the mystery. The only downside was that the ending felt a little rushed but not to the point of ruining the book. If you like cozies, you’ll enjoy A Bitter Truth. Worth the time.

Rating: 3.5/5

Check out Caleb’s review of A Lonely Death

Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.