Book Review: An Impartial Witness, A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd

Bess Crawford is a nursing sister in World War I and stationed in France. When the book begins it is the summer of 1917 and she is transporting wounded soldiers back to London. Amongst these soldiers is a burned pilot named Lt. Meriweather Evanson. Pinned to his lapel jacket is a photograph of his wife Marjorie Evanson. Bess is given a 36 hour pass in London before going back to France. At the train station she sees a woman saying goodbye to a soldier. This woman looks exactly like the woman in the photograph pinned to Lt. Evanson's lapel.When Bess is back in France she sees a newspaper with an article about Marjorie Evanson's murder. Bess had seen her only hours before her death when they were at the train station. Bess already felt an attachment to Lt. Evanson, and feels drawn to help find the murderer.

Although I liked this book, I did not enjoy it as well as A Duty to the Dead or A Bitter Truth.
I have also decided I like the inspector Ian Rutledge books a bit better. His character is more driven, enticing, and a bit quirky (I like quirkiness.)
Why did I not enjoy this book as well as the others? From the first page of the story it did not sweep me away. The pace or order of events, or maybe the characters just dragged.
I love books with the environment of England. The rainy dreary summer weather in England is a break from the hot dry days of summertime in Texas.
There was more dialogue and character presence in France in this book. The expectation of bombing or enemy troop advancement, was talked about by Bess and the other nursing sisters. Their living conditions in tents were described. When the bombs fell nearby various objects in their room fell, or was destroyed. The nervous tension of the nursing sisters is presented by them as stoic, yet I know they must have been reeling with the chaotic and stressful duty of being on the frontline of war.

Published by William Morrow An Imprint of Harper Collins 2010
352 pages
Historical Mystery Fiction/ Mystery/ World War I/ War Through The Generations Challenge
Link for book @ publisher:

Link @ Amazon:
Hardcover Bargain Price $10.00
Kindle $9.99

Other Bess Crawford Mystery books by Charles Todd----links will take you to my review of book:
A Duty to the Dead published 2009
An Impartial Witness published 2010
A Bitter Truth published 2011
An Unmarked Grave published 2012

Charles Todd Website:


  1. Wow! I feel very inadequate here. You get a lot of reading done as does Becky! I'll be lucky if I get my 35 books done this year! I am not on GF but I put your site in my WP reader so that I am notified of your posts. I am a "followe"! Happy reading and thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll friend you on Goodreads too!

  2. Your review will be featured on War Through the Generations on Aug. 21. Thanks for participating in the challenge.


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