Title: A Bitter Truth (A Bess Crawford Mystery #3)
Author: Charles Todd
Publisher: William Morrow
Bess Crawford arrives home on Christmas leave from the Front to find a woman sitting out in the cold on the doorstep to her apartment. The woman has obviously been struck by someone and lets out that she is running from her husband. She knows no one in London and has no money. Bess invites her in to warm up and have some tea. Bess soon finds herself involved in another mystery. She agrees to accompany the woman back to her country home, but only for a couple of days. Well, that turns out to be several days, a murder and a missing man later.
Bess receives her orders to return to duty shortly after Christmas with the murder unsolved. She, however, has another mission of searching for an orphaned girl when she has free time from her nursing schedule. After a few weeks, she is summoned back to England for the inquest of the murdered victim. When she arrives, another murder victim or two is discovered. Bess is stymied as to whom is committing these murders and why. Is it someone in the family she is staying with or is it maybe the homeless beggar in town?
While this had the great tension leading up to the reveal of the murderer at the end of the story, I disliked a few of the characters so much that it detracted from some of my enjoyment of the book. I thought the characters of Lydia, Roger and Gran were all so selfish, mean, petty and sometimes cruel that I didn’t let myself weave them into my emotions, which I do to fully enjoy a story. The mystery aspect of the story was the usual great Charles Todd caliber with plenty of information to lead readers astray or put them in the picture as to the killer. The subjects of infidelity, deception, lying and multiple murders are featured in this third Bess Crawford mystery. This story will entertain for sure and I’m looking forward to the fourth story as Bess Crawford progresses through WWI in service as a nurse.
My rating is 4 stars.