A Duty to the Dead

Todd, Charles

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A Duty to the Dead
Baker & Taylor
Bess Crawford, a nurse in World War I, promises Lieutenant Arthur Graham that she will carry his dying request to his brother, a request that is treated with skepticism, leading Bess to carry it out herself, putting her own life at risk for Arthur's sake. 75,000 first printing.


“Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Readers who can’t get enough of Maisie Dobbs, the intrepid World War I battlefield nurse in Jacqueline Winspear’s novels…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
New York Times Book Review

Charles Todd, author of the resoundingly acclaimed Ian Rutledge crime novels (“One of the best historical series being written today” —Washington Post Book World) debuts an exceptional new protagonist, World War I nurse Bess Crawford, in A Duty to the Dead. A gripping tale of perilous obligations and dark family secrets in the shadows of a nightmarish time of global conflict, A Duty to the Dead is rich in suspense, surprise, and the impeccable period atmosphere that has become a Charles Todd trademark.

& Taylor

Independent-minded Bess Crawford's upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. At the outbreak of WWI, she volunteers for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic. On one voyage, she promises to a deliver a message from a dying officer to his brother. Once she's able to do so, she's disturbed at the brother's indifferent reception of the message, and when an unexpected turn of events provides her with an opportunity to stay with the family for a short time, she takes it.
World War I nurse Bess Crawford promises Lieutenant Arthur Graham that she will carry his dying request to his brother, a request that is treated with skepticism, leading Bess to carry it out herself and put her own life at risk for Arthur's sake.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0061791768
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY T
Characteristics: 329 p. ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

First in a new mystery series and taking place during WW1, Bess is a nurse on leave from the front when she decides to take the message of a dying patient to his family. Little does she know this message puts her in the middle of a long held family secret. Bess is a endlessly curious (almost to a... Read More »

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Jun 12, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The first book in the Bess Crawford series introduces our capable heroine as she embarks on a series of adventures.

Set during WWI, the story starts in the hospital ship Britannic where our heroine sustains an injury that sends her home to recover. One of her patients has entrusted her with a posthumous message to his family and her dissatisfaction with their response leads her to ask some questions of her own.

Engaging characters and an interesting settings draw the reader along, though the classic who done it tale is sacrificed in exchange for some slightly melodramatic plot devices.
All in all - a good enough book to make me read the next one, though perhaps not with the sense of keen anticipation that other (better) series inspire.

Oct 07, 2013
  • zaire189 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I read the most recent book first which was "An Unmarked Grave" and I felt "A Duty to the Dead" wasn't as thrilling but a pretty good murder mystery nonetheless.

May 16, 2013
  • surfing59 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

This book sucked it was sooooooo boring that i skipped to the end! which is why i gave this book a half a star.

Feb 03, 2012
  • kt2011 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

My first experience with Charles Todd and I thought it was an interesting story with lots of twists and turns. I listened to it on my mp3 player and it was very well done. Looking forward to listening to the next one in the series.

Sep 20, 2011
  • Mommies2 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A good start to a new series. A good plot and a nice character. I enjoy the "Ian Rutledge" series more.

Jan 18, 2010
  • lisangus rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This kept me reading but the plot seemed rather unbelievable.


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