Friday, July 31, 2015

Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd

Happy Friday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Charles Todd's Unwilling Accomplice.

While on a brief leave in London, Bess is asked to accompany a wounded soldier receiving an award at Buckingham Palace. After the ceremony, Bess and the soldier return to their hotel where they are to be met the following morning by an orderly who will accompany the soldier back to the hospital where he's being treated. 

Everything goes according to plan. The soldier has no family to celebrate his award but tells Bess some of his friends might be visiting that evening. When she checks on him before turning in, he's already asleep. Unfortunately, though, when the orderly arrives the following morning, the soldier is nowhere to be found. Bess first searches nearby hospitals fearing the soldier and his friends may have gone out drinking, but finds no evidence of the missing man and is forced to alert the War Office. Now the recently awarded soldier is considered a deserter and Bess his possible accomplice. If  she's to clear her name with both the War Office and the Sisters she'll have to find out first exactly why and when the soldier began planning his escape. Before she can even start, though, it's discovered that the soldier is the prime suspect in a murder!

Ugh, it's so unfair! The Crimson Field was cancelled after just one season over in the UK and said season has just finished airing over on PBS. The show was developed as part of the "BBC World War I centenary season," which apparently will give us programming (and by us I mean the US via whatever will come through BBC America and PBS) through 2018 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of WWI.

Why do I mention all of this? Well, not only do I quite enjoy the Bess Crawford books, but I went into this latest already craving more WWI stuff. That said, why hasn't the Bess series been considered for this program plan?

It's 1918 by the time this latest takes place and so the war is actually beginning to wind down. Soldiers, like the one she's accompanying here, are receiving awards recognizing their efforts and many are being placed on indefinite leave. (WWI's official end date is November 11, 1918.) It's curious, then, why a wounded soldier who's just been recognized by the king himself would risk so much to escape and murder another man. A man no one is quite sure how the soldier in question ever had a connection to in the first place. Bess has her work cut out for her considering her own good name and career are hanging in the balance as well!

Bess is a definite favorite of mine in terms of both general historical fiction and specifically historical based mysteries. I do love that each installment in this series can basically stand alone. Anyone who hasn't read the previous books would have no trouble at all with Unwilling Accomplice as a starting point. I might sound like a broken record pointing that out so often in series posts but I think it's important to note because so many readers, myself included, might be afraid to start midstream. I'd hate for any potential Bess fans out there to miss out simply because they aren't certain where to start!

Rating: 4/5

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Charles Todd and the Bess Crawford series, you can visit the authors' website here. You can also like them on Facebook. I'll also be taking part in the upcoming tour for the latest Bess Crawford release, A Pattern of Lies, so be sure to check that out here on September 4.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love reading or watching things set in this era, and I'm definitely a Bess Crawford fan. I need to get caught up on this series!

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Unknown said...

I've seen a lot of good reviews for this author's many works (mother / son team). :)
@dino0726 from 
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