Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Review: An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd

Kerry Hammond is here today to review the latest in the Bess Crawford historical mystery series by Charles Todd.

An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd is the 6th book in the Bess Crawford series, which features a British WWI nurse who cares for soldiers wounded in the war. The book came out in trade paperback on May 5, 2015 from Harper Collins. I’ve read everything Charles Todd has written, both the Bess Crawford series as well as the Inspector Ian Rutledge books. Both are, in my opinion, two of the best historical mystery series available. I wait, semi-patiently, for each book to be published and pounce on them when they appear.

In this installment, Nursing Sister Bess Crawford is asked to accompany a wounded soldier as he receives a medal of honor from the King at Buckingham Palace. Bess’s presence has been requested by the soldier himself, as he remembers her treating his wounds after battle. When Bess meets up with the soldier, she realizes he must be mistaken, for she has not met him or treated him (nurses remember the wounds they treat, if not the soldier). She feels he must be mistaken in his memory, but is glad to offer her services anyway. After the medal ceremony, the soldier disappears from his room and Bess is held accountable for the fact that he’s gone missing, and she is put on mandatory leave while the Army looks into the matter.

Bess enlists the help of her long-time friend Simon, who served under her father and is a loyal and trusted ally in her attempt to prove that not only is she not to blame for the soldier’s desertion, but that she had nothing to do with his disappearance and is not an accomplice. She and Simon trace the soldier’s possible escape route and search for anything in his past that will help them determine how and why he left. They follow the trail to several small towns and are drawn into mysterious happenings that may or may not point to the missing soldier.

This was an extremely enjoyable book. When I read a series, I inadvertently get attached to specific characters who make recurring appearances. I have to admit that Simon is one of those characters that I’ve become attached to, and his large part in this book was an added bonus. Bess is just wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoy following her through her investigations each and every time. Her loyal friends and confidants, including her parents, make the books such a comfy read. It’s like visiting old friends, but ones who have exciting exploits into murder.  Since I don’t have any real friends with those experiences, I need to get my fix with my imaginary ones.

The author’s historical detail is well written and really transports the reader. The details and descriptions allow me to get lost in a time period I would otherwise never be able to experience. The representation of England, the war, and the people who experienced it is flawless and I can only imagine how much research goes into each book. I am glad that the effort is made and the installments keep coming.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.


  1. Sounds like a great book and series.

  2. I need to get caught up on this series - I really enjoy Bess and the supporting characters.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!