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April 29, 2012


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Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm

Ack! Once again I didn't finish the book in time to write a post about it.

But, I really enjoyed the book. Maybe next month I'll be more timely...

Book Club Girl

Jessica - you don't have to post right away - any time in the next month is ok by me!! So glad you enjoyed the book - I can't wait to read A Bitter Truth now....


1) Again, these two families were seriously messed up, although perhaps not to the degree of the Grahams. Victoria Garrison was about as close to a sociopath as you can get, and Jack Melton was despicable. And the dysfunction of the people Bess is dealing with is thrown into even harsher relief when she goes home. Her family might be a bit unconventional, but they love and respect one another and have a deep sense of right and wrong.

2) I think Simon's intentions stemmed from the respect he has for both Bess and Colonel Crawford. I think he saw the escalating danger of the case and kept very close to Bess so that he could keep her safe. And I think there might be a romantic undertone to all of it--my mother actually brought it up when she read the book a couple of weeks ago, and I disagreed because I didn't remember feeling that way when I read this the first time, but it was definitely there this time around.

3) I think it does, even though Bess does make an effort to avoid dangerous situations and/or be extremely aware when she is in one.

4) I don't think there is such a thing. It's like Bess said: despite the fact that she might have been impartial at the beginning, she became too involved in the end. And I think that's what the authors might have meant by the title, too.

5) This is another repeat read for me, and I started remembering things a bit earlier than with A Duty to the Dead, so I expected everything that occurred except for Selina Melton's confrontation with Bess in the train station. I wasn't surprised by the confrontation itself, because the reaction was fairly typical of Selina, but it was still difficult to read, and if I were Bess, I would have been shaken up too.

6) Ha! I love "shanks mare." Again, nothing really jumped out, although I love that Simon swears in Urdu when he's around Bess.


1. Even though the Garrisons and Meltons appeared to have more money and status than Bess' family, they don't come close to the Crawfords' sense of honor.

2. I think Simon's intentions were from his duty to Bess' father in the beginning but there seemed to me to be a change in this book. I think it was the scene where they share a whiskey at Simon's cottage. He seems to care about Bess more than just in an older brother way. At least, I hope so!

3. In this case, yes. I think Simon was truly concerned that Bess was getting in over her head. She didn't think any harm could come to her until it almost did.

4. I don't think there can be an impartial witness. We all bring our own experience to whatever we witness in life. Maybe a true detective can be but, even then, I'm not sure. I guess the authors point is that even though we think we know what we've seen, we may not.

5. There was a bit of a confrontation between Serena and Bess. But I loved what Bess' father said to her afterward "Murder is never kind. To the victim, to the survivors.Not even to the murderer him- or herself."

6. "Shank's mare" was new to me but I was able to figure out it's meaning in the context of the paragraph.

I really liked this book and look forward to the next.

My blog post:

Jen - Devourer of Books

1) These are some messed up families! Such a contrast with Bess's unconventional but loving family. I get frustrated with these people who are still living in relative luxury in the midst of war who act so stupidly.

2) I have to believe that SOME of how Simon acts has to do with affection towards Bess. Obviously it all started with his duty to her father, but if that was all it was, wouldn't he be more concerned with only keeping her safe and less so with helping her find the resolution she seeks?

3) Yes and no, there are clearly some who are still living who have been affected by these events, and Bess's actions can help bring them peace to some extent.

4) Hmm, I'm not sure, I think the only truly impartial witnesses wouldn't want to do anything about what he or she had witnessed.

5) Like Farin I felt really bad for Bess with Serena's confrontation, but it didn't surprise me. There was actually a point where I thought Serena might be the one who had actually killed everyone.


Ha, Selina. I'm tired. Thanks Jen.

Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

1. I was astonished by all the jealousy and coldness in the Garrison and Melton families. Such a contrast to Bess' family, and to so many wives/families who just want their soldiers to make it home safely. (I'm a bit ahead so I will say - it seems family jealousies are often at the heart of Bess' mystery cases.)

2. I love Simon as a character and I do believe he cares for Bess - now I'm wondering how long it will take her to realize it, and/or for him to admit to it.

4. I don't know if there is any such thing as an impartial witness - surely most, if not all, witnesses have emotional reactions to what they see and hear.

Looking forward to the next discussion!


I'll be back soon with my thoughts on your questions, but I don't know if "shanks mare" is just Irish. I think it's British as a whole. My Welsh mother used to say it. Well, she said "shanks pony." I found it very annoying, as she used to say it when I was a teen and wanted to borrow the car and would demand, reasonably, how on earth I was supposed to get to my friend's house? ;)
Also, my son is going to read this! I'd left this tab open and he read about it and thought it looked good. I'm very excited, because it's my goal that we follow in Charles Todd's footsteps and work together once he's an adult ;) This can only be a positive step.


I finally answered the questions! yay. Here are my thoughts:

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