Book Review: A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd

I've already began reading another Charles Todd book---The Confession, An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (2012). I have grown to love these books by Charles Todd (a mother son writing team.)
On order at the local library, I'm waiting on the first Ian Rutledge book---A Test Of Wills. Eventually I hope to read every book this writing team has written, including the other Bess Crawford books I've not read yet.

I read A Duty To The Dead, A Bess Crawford mystery previously. Link for this review:

Why do I love Bess Crawford mystery stories? They are ravishing stories with a mystery element that I adore. Bess is a straight forward character. She is calm and intelligent. She is a person that ponders things. She is intuitive, respectful, politely charming, and independent. Her character is virtuous, she consistently tries to do the right thing in every situation. She is a character I admire. It is easy to become swept away by a character that I like so much!

In A Bitter Truth, Bess has come home to England on furlough from her duties as a nursing sister during World War I. Upon arriving one chilly rainy night at her flat, she finds a woman hovering under the doorway. Bess feels no other choice but to take this strange woman in. Bess studies this strange woman and perceives she is in her mid-twenties, wealthy, polished. We learn later her name is Lydia. Bess becomes consumed with Lydia's care and predicament. Eventually traveling back with Lydia to her home at Vixen Hill. Vixen Hill is home to a family of secrets. A murdered body is found on the grounds of Vixen Hill. Poor Bess has become not only wrapped up in Lydia and her family, but now Bess is a suspect in this murder. 

This is a busy story, bringing in secrets from the past, and present. Vixen Hill is home to a family that has carried great sorrow throughout many years. They are stoic and brave, yet not talking about their burden has led to bitterness. I felt the writing team gave me the ability to "feel" the characters sadness.
I love the environment of England. Vixen Hill is located in a sparse and pallid scenery. Possibly a reflection of the inhabitants? Yet, it's England and I love all things British.
Bess handled herself coolly during her interrogations. I guess I should have expected her response, yet it was a comfort that she did not lower her virtue.
The mystery element untangled itself through a various assortment of who-did- it perpetrators. I was surprised at the conclusion.
I'm anxious to read more from Bess Crawford's mystery books!

Published by Harper Collins August 2011
352 pages
Historical Mystery Fiction
Link @ publisher:

Link for author's:


  1. I've only read the first Bess Crawford mystery, but I enjoyed it. I really need to catch up with this series and read the rest of them. Nice blog!

  2. We've added your link to the reviews page at War through the generations and snippet will appear on the main blog on July 12.


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