‘A Question of Honor’ by Charles Todd is the fifth book in the Bess Crawford Mystery series, which features World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford. I rarely read historical mysteries or war stories, but I’m totally hooked on this series.
In ‘A Question of Honor’ Bess works to solve an old mystery from her childhood which was spent in India with her parents. Her father was a colonel in the Northwest Frontier in 1908 when one of his officers, Lt. Wade was accused of killing five people in England and India. Before he can be questioned, Lt. Wade escapes through the dangerous Khyber Pass to Afghanistan and is presumed dead.
A decade later when Bess is serving as a nurse in the front lines of France during WWI, she hears from a dying Indian sergeant that Lt. Wade is still alive.
Bess has two goals: determine if Lt. Wade is still alive and if he actually committed the murders.
Along the way, we see the horrors of war and the work that nurses did on the battlefield.
The book illustrates the effect on families and children during colonization and war. One of the people Bess interviews is Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was born in Bombay, India in 1865 and as a five year old along with his sister was sent back to England to live with a couple who boarded children of British nationals who were serving in India.
Bess finds that she was fortunate that she stayed in India with her family. Her travels throughout England to discover the truth uncovers the plight of many children.
It is difficult finding new ways to praise these books. The strengths are basically the same, amazing descriptive writing, strong interesting characters and an intriguing plot. Along with that I learn about the history of this period from an English perspective in an entertaining way.
Charles Todd is actually a mother and son writing team. They have another series featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of World War I who is now back home and working again with Scotland Yard. This series has 15 books. They also have two stand-alone novels. See their interview at Voices in Mystery in the left margin.
Both series take place during the same time frame as the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey.” If you like that series, you may like these books too.
Five stars out of five.
Please let me know about the Mysteries and Authors you enjoy. Like my Facebook Page Hot Mysteries. Post your comments here, or contact me at MysteryReview@yahoo.com to receive e-mail updates (spam free) whenever I post a new article!
In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge. I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review. All they expect is an honest review of the work.