Reviewed by Caleb Shadis
I have to say that An Unmarked Grave is my favorite Charles Todd book so far. I’ve read two of the Inspector Rutledge books as well as two Bess Crawford mysteries. Both of the Bess Crawford mysteries took place during WWI with Bess as a nursing sister.
An Unmarked Grave takes place when the Spanish flu is ravaging most of the continent. Soldiers on both sides have almost as many casualties from the flu as enemy weapons, and they are not the only ones succumbing to the flu either. Sister Crawford is spending much of her time nursing the sick and dying. After one of her patients dies, Private Wilson asks her to accompany him to the shed where the dead are stored and wait for the burial detail to arrive. She grudgingly complies, since she really needs some rest.
What Private Wilson shows her does not register at first, but then the importance of it dawns on her: the body he’s showing her is not of a patient suffering from a wound or the flu. It appears the only physical problem is a broken neck. The uniform has been removed and someone did a quick job of wrapping the body. It spells murder and to make matters worse, Bess recognizes him as one of her father’s officers. While waiting for her superior to awaken, Bess succumbs to the flu herself and almost loses the battle with the disease.
After finally recovering back in England, Bess recalls a strange and vivid dream about finding a friend murdered among the dead. At first that is all she thinks it is, but eventually she decides it was otherwise. Then she finds out that Private Wilson has hanged himself the same night Bess fell ill. She can’t believe it, so she sets out to discover the truth once and for all.
As I mentioned before, I thought An Unmarked Grave was an excellent book and well worth a read for those who like English mysteries. Bess is full of spunk and very calm under stress. She seemed to break the hearts of many of her patients too. With each new book, she adds a new admirer to the list!
Also by Charles Todd:
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.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.