Week 6: “A Bitter Truth”

I’ve never been a fan of Charles Todd’s mysteries.  His (well, THEIR — Charles Todd is a writing duo) primary series, about the haunted Inspector Rutledge, is too stylized for my taste. And as with other WWI-related series, if you start after the war, unless time stretches like taffy, your character will be dragged through the ’20s and toward the Nazis. Jacqueline Winstead’s Maisie Dobbs has finally shaken hands with the Evil Empire — it’s 1933 in her new book, “Elegy for Eddie,” due out in March.

I don’t like Nazis.

Charles Todd’s other series, about nurse Bess Crawford, is only up to 1917. However, I took a decided dislike to the second book, “An Impartial Witness,” which hinges on Bess’ apparent ability to read minds.

You might wonder why I bother myself with an author whose work I so criticize. Simple answer: I will read virtually anything about the war.

Anyway, here we come to Bess Crawford #3, “A Bitter Truth.” Good job, Charles Todd! It made for a fine afternoon.  The characters were distinct, their actions logical, and the two-pronged plot was intriguing. I actually got so interested in the French drama that I forgot about the murder. Now I’m looking forward to the next Bess Crawford, “An Unmarked Grave,” coming in June.

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