Casualty of War by Charles Todd
Though the Great War is nearing its end, the fighting rages on. While waiting for transport back to her post, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford meets Captain Alan Travis from the island of Barbados. Later, when he’s brought into her forward aid station disoriented from a head wound, Bess is alarmed that he believes his distant English cousin, Lieutenant James Travis, shot him. Then the Captain is brought back to the aid station with a more severe wound, once more angrily denouncing the Lieutenant as a killer. But when it appears that James Travis couldn’t have shot him, the Captain’s sanity is questioned. Still, Bess wonders how such an experienced officer could be so wrong. On leave in England, Bess finds the Captain strapped to his bed in a clinic for brain injuries. Horrified by his condition, Bess and Sergeant Major Simon Brandon travel to James Travis’s home in Suffolk, to learn more about the baffling relationship between these two cousins. Her search will lead this smart, capable, and compassionate young woman into unexpected danger, and bring her face to face with the visible and invisible wounds of war that not even the much-longed for peace can heal.
Charles Todd's Bess Crawford mysteries are among my favorite escapist fiction. Set during World War I, we follow young Bess Crawford to France and England as she nurses British soldiers at the fighting front. She is the only child of Colonel Crawford, a highly respected officer long assigned to the Indian subcontinent. Raised amongst soldiers and outside of England, Bess is tough but mild mannered. Practical, loyal and unflappable, Bess has a strong sense of duty and justice. She is alert to unusual events and often finds herself drawn to investigate small anomalies that hint at larger mysteries or unfair treatment.
In A Casualty of War, the latest Bess Crawford Mystery, Bess encounters Lieutenant Travers, an Englishman from Barbados who shares tales of his home and during that brief time, the war is held at bay. When Travers returns with a serious head wound and the belief that he was fired upon by a British officer, things become complicated. Travers is an unlikely candidate for shell shock, in fact he is adamant that he must return to the Front to keep the shooter from harming any of his men. Travers intends to find his attacker and have him removed from the Front. But after Travers survives a second deadly attack, his statements against the possible attacker lead to others to question his sanity.
Relying on her impressions of Lieutenant Travers before his attacks, Bess Crawford refuses to dismiss Lieutenant Travers’ as shellshocked and unreliable. Instead, she seeks to find out the truth behind the attacks and to see if he has relatives in England that might help.
The visit to Travers’ relatives is a strange affair and Bess Crawford finds herself in the middle of a dangerous search. With Simon’s help, their unflagging determination and well coordinated teamwork, Bess and Simon save a good man from a bad fate.
About the Authors:
Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree that means he can boil more than water. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.