Sunday, June 21, 2015
Review: An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
World War I Battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s career is in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch, in this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.
Home on leave, Bess Crawford is asked to accompany a wounded soldier confined to a wheelchair to Buckingham Palace, where he’s to be decorated by the King. The next morning when Bess goes to collect Wilkins, he has vanished. Both the Army and the nursing service hold Bess negligent for losing the war hero, and there will be an inquiry.
Then comes disturbing word from the Shropshire police, complicating the already difficult situation: Wilkins has been spotted, and he’s killed a man. If Bess is to save her own reputation, she must find Wilkins and uncover the truth. But the elusive soldier has disappeared again and even the Shropshire police have lost him. Suddenly, the moral implications of what has happened—that a patient in her charge has committed murder—become more important to Bess than her own future. She’s going to solve this mysterious puzzle, but righting an injustice and saving her honor may just cost Bess her life.
Historical mysteries usually never fail to disappoint, but this one had hits and misses. It's the sixth in a series but that didn't diminish the story. If anything I would like to go back to the beginning. I think this one was the inevitable stinker in the series. Every series has one.
The story takes place during WWI in England, so the historical detail is rich. The story piqued my interest in researching nursing service during the war. These women not only carried out extremely difficult tasks, but were saintly, and treated as such. The uniform commanded respect, and it was given. Bess was a lovely heroine with a rich background. She was a delight and I fell for her right away.
The letdown for me was the story/mystery. Seemed simple enough, but felt like it became complicated yet boring instead of filled with suspense. Most time was spent driving between villages in England, and it was quite boring for me. It didn't have the thrill of the chase at all. Once the punch line came, I was like meh, whatever. If it wasn't for Bess and the historical aspects, I would have given up.
I also want to pint out, the mood of England during the war. I think the novel captures it wonderfully. England lost many of its young men, others were shell shocked, and the populace was beaten. But those always stood by their men and country. The English take everything in stride. Keep calm and carry on indeed!
Read for Amy's Historical Fiction Challenge
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