A Pattern of Lies

Title:  A Pattern of Lies (Bess Crawford #7)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  William Morrow
Bess Crawford finds herself still serving as a nurse during World War I with rumors of the war soon being over heard more and more often.  She has a few days leave and plans to spend it with her parents.  Her train is delayed at the station and she runs into a former patient, Mark Ashton, who lives nearby.  He is a soldier still on medical leave from his injuries.  While recuperating, his family becomes pariahs in their small town.  He invites Bess to stay overnight until her train arrives.  Bess finds herself the subject of the same persecution as Mark’s family.
Bess sets out to find out what is at the root of the mean treatment this family is receiving.  She asks questions, but no one knows who started the rumors.  The villagers turn against the family readily enough with no proof and Bess wonders how this happened.  The one man who can perhaps help the Ashtons’ cause is fighting in France.  Bess manages to find him, but he refuses to ask for leave to come home to straighten things out.  The rumors turn even the local law enforcement against Mark’s father, the former owner of a gunpowder factory that experienced a tragedy two years prior.  Many think Mark’s father involved in the explosion that destroyed the factory and killed 100 men.  He is arrested and set to stand trial.  Can Bess figure out who is fanning the flames of injustice before it is too late?
I had a difficult time getting into this story, but I knew that if I kept reading the story would improve and draw me in, which it did.  This isn’t the best story in the Bess Crawford mystery series, but still worth reading as the main character’s history and personality continue to develop.  There was not enough action in the story for me, and the plot seemed to drag slowly to a conclusion.  It seemed Bess was poking her nose into something that really wasn’t her business.  Hopefully, her next mystery will feature more action.
My rating is 4 stars.

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