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June 25, 2012


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1) I think (and hope) that Bess and Simon and her parents could take the series forward after WWI. I'd certainly read it!

2) They cared about each other - and they noticed that (if I remember correctly)

3) I didn't see it coming when the murderer was revealed. Not at all.

4) I appreciated the position she was in and that she didn't see it as a black and white issue. She knew what needed to be done and did it.

5) Yes, that he could witness Bess working was a gratifying scene. Showed what she was made of.

6) drat. since I listened I didn't make note of any new words.

I listened to the audiobook and was emotionally drawn in by the descriptions of the gas attacks and other war scenes - much more than the previous books. Please pass along my question to the authors: Will there be more Bess Crawford books? I'll try to listen in. Thanks so much for the Readalong. So glad I got to know Bess and company. My review posted today.

jenn aka the picky girl

My review is up today:

This wasn’t my favorite Bess novel, but like you, I enjoy that the novels get darker as the war goes on. It's a natural progression.

1) This novel just felt all too convenient for me. Yes, I understand it’s a small world, but everyone knew everyone else in this novel, and at times, it felt forced. I don’t mind the Colonel and Mrs. Crawford being involved, but I wish it had been more organic.

2) Because of the telling, we don’t see much of Bess being sick firsthand. We only see the aftermath – and very briefly at that. I did love how well Simon took care of her, but I will say that, at this point in the series, I feel he should either be much more open with her or less caring. You can tell he has feelings for her, but he’s so darn reserved that it’s frustrating. If he doesn’t have feelings for her (other than familial), then it’s just sort of odd.

As for Simon’s wounds, I was really concerned. I thought for sure he was a goner, and again, I was surprised that there isn’t more internalization from Bess as to why she feels the need to attend to his bedside. There’s just a real lack of awareness in both of them that doesn’t feel truthful to me.

3) This ending was a disappointment for me. So much of the novel was spent on developing one main suspect, and then so suddenly, the killer is someone completely different. To be honest, I felt cheated, like I had missed something.

Additionally, I see that the story of the divorced woman bothered several others as well. It was mentioned too often for it not to have been significant, but nothing ever really seemed to tie it in. His motives as well seemed very convenient, especially considering that Bess’s father was included.

4) I think, as you mentioned, that the war is taking its toll on everyone. Bess sees it. She was able to meet the man’s father and see his broken brother. She sees the women left at home with young children and no husband/father coming home to them. Bess is like a traditional PI in that she has her own moral code. What is and isn’t right based on her own standards. And that’s important to her. I like that. Desertion is a complex situation, and I can’t help but think I’d be tempted to help the man as well.

5) I think it’s been evident from the start that Crawford is pleased with and proud of his daughter. In fact, this book was the first that you really see his struggle with allowing her to be in harm’s way, after she is so ill. I think seeing her in action just solidified his pride and made him confident that she’s capable of caring for herself and others.

6) I honestly never remember any of the words that may or may not have been new to me. I should note them, but I had a hard copy of this book and didn’t do so.

I so hope there's another book. Even though this wasn't my favorite, I still love Bess and following her.


1) I loved that the whole family was involved in this investigation. We've seen what Simon is made of, and it was really great to see the Colonel and his wife in action. I particularly loved watching Bess's mother navigate sticky situations, like with Sabrina in Cornwall.

2) I agree with Mary that the vulnerability of both of them in illness kind of brought home how much they value one another. Also, the illness was an interesting obstacle in the investigation.

3) I didn't see the murderer coming at all. I don't think we actually heard his name until Bess's showdown with him. I had a little trouble with that, actually, because it felt like he came out of left field. The motive was interesting, though, because it involved the Crawford family directly, and that's a first for these books.

4) I thought that was a really interesting character development. When we first met her, I doubt she would have let him go, but I think it's becoming clearer to her now that duty isn't so black and white.

5) I loved that scene! I think it put his mind at rest over what she gets up to in France.

6) No new words. Fun fact: Billy from the Maisie Dobbs series was a sapper in WWI!

Thank you so much for hosting this. It was great to re-read the entire series back to back, and I'm really sad that I'm done with the series for now. When is Book 5 coming?


Putting together my answers now....! :-)


I Love the hint of romance without it dominating.This was my first bess crawford novel and now i have the rest.I like the fact she is so unusual for that time a strong independent woman who still remains close to family,


Here is my full review and answers to the discussion questions. Like you, Ms. Picky Girl, this wasn't my favourite either but yes, all those points about the progression of the war were great as well.

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