Reviewed by Caleb Shadis
A Pattern of Lies is the seventh book in the Bess Crawford Mystery series and it does not disappoint. I continue to enjoy reading these mysteries and I learn a bit about the Great War each time.
Bess has just escorted some patients back to England and while waiting for a train to take her to London, meets an old patient who is recovering again from a new injury. Since it looks like the train may be late to never, he offers her a room for the night in the family home and a chance to take his mother’s mind off recent unpleasantness. Bess met his mother when he was wounded and she came to help nurse him back to health.
The family ran a gunpowder plant for over 100 years, without incident. Two years prior, an accident caused the destruction of the mill and the loss of a 100 men. This was a terrible blow to the community on all fronts. Now whispers are going around blaming Mr. Ashton for starting the explosion and causing the subsequent fire, out of spite to the Army. These rumors are causing the family to be ostracized and making their property a prime target for vandals.
Things are continuing to escalate and someone tries to start a fire in house in the middle of the night. Shortly after, Mr. Ashton is arrested for the murder of the 100 men in the explosion. To Bess, it’s pretty obvious that this is nothing more than a witch hunt started by a vicious rumor. But who would do such a thing two years after the incident? Bess does what she can but her duties keep calling her back to the front to nurse more injured back to health.
Things get more serious when a witness is shot at and shortly after that another nurse is assaulted in her room–the same room originally assigned to Sister Crawford. It looks suspiciously like someone doesn’t want the truth to come out back in Kent.
Sister Crawford is an excellent sleuth and fun to read about. I started reading the series with book three and have enjoyed every single one since. They are mostly cozy mysteries but have slightly more danger than the average cozy–often simply because they have WWI as the backdrop.
Caleb is a software engineer and amateur 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.