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  • A Cruel Deception

  • Bess Crawford Mysteries, Book 11
  • By: Charles Todd
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Summary

In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford attempts to save a troubled former soldier from a mysterious killer in this 11th book in the beloved Bess Crawford mystery series from New York Times best-selling author Charles Todd.

The Armistice of November 1918 ended the fighting, but the Great War will not be over until a peace treaty is drawn up and signed by all parties. Representatives from the Allies are gathering in Paris, and already ominous signs of disagreement have appeared.

Sister Bess Crawford, who has been working with the severely wounded in England in the war’s wake, is asked to carry out a personal mission in Paris for a Matron at the London headquarters of The Queen Alexandra’s.

Bess is facing decisions about her own future, even as she searches for the man she is charged with helping. When she does locate Lawrence Minton, she finds a bitter and disturbed officer who has walked away from his duties at the Peace Conference and is well on his way toward an addiction to opiates. When she confronts him with the dangers of using laudanum, he tells her that he doesn’t care if he lives or dies, as long as he can find oblivion. But what has changed him? What is it that haunts him? He can’t confide in Bess - because the truth is so deeply buried in his mind that he can only relive it in nightmares. The officers who had shared a house with him in Paris profess to know nothing - still, Bess is reluctant to trust them even when they offer her their help. But where to begin on her own?

What is driving this man to a despair so profound it can only end with death? The war? Something that happened in Paris? To prevent a tragedy, she must get at the truth as quickly as possible - which means putting herself between Lieutenant Minton and whatever is destroying him. Or is it whoever?

©2019 Charles Todd (P)2019 HarperAudio

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  • Mary P Sanders
  • 15-11-19

Bess’ Deception

Having read/listened to all the Bess Crawford (Ian Rutledge too) stories, I am aware there will be some I find more enjoyable or interesting than others. This particular offering is a good read but seemed to have more ‘filler’ than necessary. I believe “House Todd” can claim ownership of this time period and the social idioms and mores. Their books do more to reveal the terrible human costs of WW 1 than all the history classes available to me - even having grown up as an “army brat”.

In layers of deception, This book reveals more about Bess’ ability to deceive as anyone else involved in this tragic war of wounded men, women and children. Bess is not naive but she jumps to a lot of conclusions and I found the narrative dragging a bit as she muddled through what seemed lame notions.

And, really, no Simon?? Can “House Todd” ever allow a hero or heroine a little happy fellowship?? Thank heavens for the Americans and Australians and their optimistic bonhomie.

I’ll be watching for a sign Bess can grow up enough to become a more interesting and 3 dimensional character worth following ....

12 people found this helpful

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  • L. Lee
  • 02-08-20

Bess drives me crazy

This mystery wasn’t up to the level I expect from Charles Todd. While Bess has never been as interesting a character as Ian Rutledge, up until now I’ve enjoyed her books BUT this was disappointing.
The assumptions of guilt she makes are, for a character who try’s to maintain her in bias “training” were just ridiculous. Also, I know she is a “new” woman” but there are few young women her age who never “swoon” a bit with the attentions if capable, smart and good looking men.
Her “integrity” of holding back information from people like HER FATHER (when she has a good relationship with him) is stupid behavior and immature.
All that said the book ended with an ongoing mystery so I’ll read the next one and home for the best.
Hmmm maybe part of the problem is the readers interpretation - but not all.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Erin Y.
  • 19-11-19

not my favorite Bess Crawford

this story felt tedious and forced compared to the earlier ones. the reader could not be better.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Winsome
  • 18-11-19

Love this series...

Love this series as well as the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. These are complex characters who one really cares about, and there is wonderful period detail. I devour each book as soon as it's available, and then must wait impatiently for the next one. Note to authors: please, please, may we have a little romance in Bess' life (the war is over!). There are a few tantalizing hints here, but our favorite heartthrob is "somewhere in Scotland" and we haven't heard from him very much in the last couple of books.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kathleen Warner
  • 25-10-19

Disappointing

Not up to usual standard. Tedious story with unsympathetic characters. Regret doing a pre-order.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Eileen
  • 28-06-20

Love the Bess Crawford stories

I certainly hope there will be another one soon. I am dying to know what Bess will do next. and what about Simon?

3 people found this helpful

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  • Georgia gardener
  • 13-05-20

Return to form!

This is an excellent Bess Crawford installment. It had all of the interesting personal dilemma that I had longed for in the previous novel of Bess weighing her post-war options. The Simon strain of plot was also well done and rather humorous! The mystery itself is secondary to the exploration of mental illness and injury, which is true to form for the more battle ridden books in this serious. I totally enjoyed it, despite some minor hiccups in character development. Lawrence veers too far on the side of insufferable to be a sympathetic character and while that’s probably realistic, it leaves holes in the story where Bess’s motivation to protect and restore him seems far fetched. Marina is so downtrodden as to be tragic or pathetic rather than compassionate or interesting; much more could have been made of that role. It also felt odd that matron would be unaware of the lengths Bess had gone to and unappreciative, especially as she knows Bess’s father. Overall, this is a return to form and one of the best in the series. It’s consistently funny, well paced, and well researched. Landor is a better performer in this installment as well. She doesn’t master a New Mexico accent (strange 1940s pseudo-American cinematic accent on display here) but Jackson isn’t nearly as annoying as her portrayal of Berkeley; in fact, he’s charming. I was glad to see a sensible and intelligent French person finally portrayed in the doctor’s wife and relieved to avoid the Javert-esque snooty and dismissive French police characters in favor of more varied representations here. I’m now caught up and impatiently await the next installment in Bess Crawford’s adventures.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara D Payne
  • 30-12-19

One of the best

I enjoyed this book. I have always liked the Charles Todd novels but every now and then, one falls a little short. My last Bess Crawford was not the be of my favorites, but this one redeemed the series.

Rosalyn Landor is a marvelous narrator. I enjoy listening to her and she brings the characters to life. I like to picture them in my imagination based on the story and the voices.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Faith Christmas
  • 08-11-19

Ahhhhhh...!!! Spoiler !!!

Ok so the story didn’t have Simon in it !!!
I loved it ! I loved the whole story ! It was awesome !!!
When I started the book I said to myself: I hope Simon or Captain Barkley professes some sort of love for Bess.
NOPE !!! Not even.
But it was an awesome book !!!
Can’t wait until the next !

3 people found this helpful

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  • Norma garcia
  • 04-11-19

one of my favorites

loved the story the characters surprise at the end loved the narrator but I did miss Simon

3 people found this helpful