• Hardcover: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks(April 12, 2016)
Bess Crawford must keep a deadly pattern of lies from destroying an innocent family in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice
In 1916, at the height of the war, an explosion and fire at an armament factory in Kent killed more than a hundred men. With Ashton Powder Mill situated so close to the coast—within reach of German saboteurs—the Army investigated, eventually ruling the event an appalling tragedy. Now, two years later, suspicion, gossip, and rumor have raised the specter of murder—and fingers point to the owner, Philip Ashton, whose son is battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s friend and former patient.
While visiting the Ashtons, Bess finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn’t stop with Philip Ashton’s arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege. The police are hostile—the Inspector’s brother died in the mill explosion—and refuse to consult either the Army or Scotland Yard. Why, after two years, has the village turned against Ashton?
In France, Bess searches for the only known witness to the explosion, now serving at the Front, and tries to convince him to give evidence about that terrible Sunday morning, only to find herself and the witness hunted by someone intent on preventing anyone from discovering what—or who—is behind this web of vicious lies. Uncertain whom to trust, she can rely only on her own wits and courage, but how can she stop a killer whose face she has never seen?
Philip Ashton is urged to throw himself on the mercy of the court—where he will surely find none. Time is running out. And Bess, at the point of a gun, has only one choice left: to risk her life to save the Ashtons.
Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.
I’m a fan of mysteries written with a strong female lead such as the Maisie Dobbs and Maggie Hope mystery series. This is the first book I’ve read by Charles Todd in the Bess Crawford line. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t a stand alone book until part way through the book. I love Bess’s character and plan to go back and read the first six novels! The historical details had me doing research about nursing during the first world war and helped me visualize what a military nurse went through at the front.
In A Pattern of Lies Bess, a WW1 nurse is stranded at the train station in London and happens to meet a former patient, Mark Ashton, who invites her to stay with his family while is waiting for her next train. She soon becomes embroiled in a plot to destroy Mark’s family and although she has to return to her duties in France, she is determined to help the Ashton family uncover the perpetrator of the plot against the family. As more details of the plot are uncovered, Bess’s life is in danger both in France and back home in England. As Bess travels back and forth from the continent, you hold your breath as you can see the plot winding tighter and tighter.
This segment could easily be read as a stand alone book but I so enjoyed the author’s writing that I want to learn more about Bess, especially about her time spent in India. I love the fact that she speaks Hindi to her parents when she doesn’t want anyone else to understand what she’s saying (I speak Hindi as well) and can’t wait to read about her time spent in India. My thanks go to TLC Book Tours for providing me a free copy of this fantastic book!