A Cruel Deception

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

I have loved all of the Bess Crawford books, and this one is no exception! This one takes place mostly in Paris, in 1919. It was beautifully written, and because this one is part of a series, reading it felt almost like catching up with old friends. I will definitely be recommending it to friends and to our library patrons. Thanks for the advance copy!!
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I'm always happy at the release of another Charles Todd novel, and the latest in the Bess Crawford series was no exception. While A Cruel Deception seemed to me to be not as fast paced as some earlier titles in the series, it was still a quick, enjoyable read. Bess returns to France in search of a hospital Matron's son, who has walked away from  his duties at the Peace Conference. I do find that I am a bit impatient with Bess's lack of concern for the possible repercussions when she sets out on her own, but I do enjoy her as a character. Like, I'm sure, many other readers, I wonder where the series will go now that the war is officially over. I really missed Simon this time, as well! 
Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for the opportunity to read A Cruel Deception in return for an honest review.
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While an improvement on the last episode of the Bess Crawford saga, I don’t think this is the strongest of the series. She makes some cognitive leaps that don’t make much sense - a clearly disturbed soldier has night terrors and keeps begging someone for forgiveness, so she assumes he killed someone, rather than thinking his sense of guilt can come from any other source? 

I’m pleased there may finally be some movement in the Simon Brandon area, though. Looking forward to that part of the story.
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World War One is over but nurse Bess Crawford is still working with the wounded and wondering about her future.  A request from the head of the nursing service to check on the well-being of her son sends Bess on assignment to Paris.  When she finds him mysteriously gone from his lodgings, the search takes her first to rural France and then to the poorest sections of Paris.  She is helped along the way by a soldier she met on the front lines, but her father's aide Simon, who is often by her side to help her solve these mysteries, has disappeared.  By the end of the book, in addition to finding the missing soldier, Bess finally understands her own heart
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Another engrossing addition to the Bess Crawford historical mysteries, this novel is set in 1918 just after the Armistice has ended World War I, making Bess's role as a battlefield nurse obsolete. Devoted to caring for wounded veterans, Bess is only too aware that with the peace Britain now has a surplus of military nurses. Her career worries are interrupted when her supervisor taps her for a confidential mission to Paris, where Bess must search for a missing soldier who may be suffering from drug addiction and mental disturbance. Danger and mayhem follow in a layered, twisting plot sure to enthrall regular series readers, though this entry offers equal satisfaction as a standalone title. Note: The publisher suppled an advance reading copy via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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The greatest strength of the Bess Crawford books is the meticulous adherence to the details and the spirit of time and place.  I enjoyed following along as Bess searched for an answer to the miasma surrounding her Matron's son. I did want more of Bess and her own personal story. Looking forward to the next installment.
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This book was entertaining and suspenseful, and if it was a standalone, I would recommend it. As an entry in the Bess Crawford series, though, it lacked some of the key characters that have made this series so fun to read, and a lot of the obvious historical markers that make the series distinctive. While I strongly recommend the series, this episode was somewhat disappointing.
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Set in the months following the Great War during the Paris Peace Conference, the 11th Bess Crawford mystery finds Bess wondering whether or not she will be allowed to continue active nursing with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, when she’s called to Matron's office. She is summoned to London by no lesser a personage than the Chief of Nursing and sent to Paris to track down Matron's son. When she locates him, not in Paris for the negotiations as he should be, she begins to believe that the lieutenant may be in more trouble than his mother feared. 
This story is another solid effort in a good historical series. Bess is as intrepid in her pursuit of the truth as always, and the story kept me guessing. In fact the ultimate whodunnit, though plausible was so unexpected it almost seemed a bit of a deus ex machina. The mother/son writing duo who are Charles Todd are experts on the time period and provide enough detail to evoke the trauma and pathos of the war. Bess is a smart, likable, young woman with a passion for her work. Her devotion to nursing has kept her free from romantic entanglements, and that’s still the case at the end of the war. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her as the world around her finds it’s new normal and Bess is forced to move on from the war too.
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Anxious not to leave nursing as World War 1 ends, Bess Crawford earns an assignment to France to find the matron’s missing son. With her faithful guardian Simon, a close family friend who has watched over Bess since childhood, also missing, Bess braves Paris and St. Ives on her own. She battles hunger with the French and PTSD once she locates the veteran. In their 11th entry in this series, mother-son authors Charles Todd recreate the bravery and horror of the war.
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This excellent series continues with nursing sister Bess Crawford in 1918, just after the Armistice, determining what path she should follow after years of war service.  Her London hospital matron steps in with a personal request of Bess - find and help her soldier son, apparently missing from his work with the peace talks in Paris.  This is another beautifully rendered story about the lingering effects of war, both physical and mental, and the conflict of social change that inevitably occurs, Aside from the trouble at hand - finding and restoring the missing, troubled young soldier, suffering from PTSD and addiction - fans will also discover tantalizing bits of Bess's personal dilemmas and relationships.  One of the best WWI series.
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We always buy Charles Todd for our mystery lovers. They write the perfect historical mystery. Their Bess Crawford series is a particular favorite.
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This series has taken the reader through the unspeakable horrors of World War I through the eyes of Sister (nurse) Bess Crawford. Each entry, while focusing on a murder or murders to be solved, gains its inspiration from actual events inspired by that war and its effects on every strata of European society, resulting mysteries that are not only entertaining but appeal to the heart and the mind of the reader.

A Cruel Deception is no exception. We find Bess at loose ends as peace talks are in full swing and she ponders whether to stay in nursing or look at other career paths. She is unexpectedly asked by Matron to look for her missing son in France. Bess locates Matron's son, who is addicted to laudanum and suffering from symptoms of what today would be termed PTSD. More importantly, she has reason to believe Lawrence Minton may be guilty of murder--but whose and why?

This is a finely layered mystery that builds on itself to a rousing climax. While the mystery of Lawrence Minton is solved by book's end, the mystery of Bess's future is still wide open: Where will her career take her? What about her relationship with Simon? Surely enough fodder for many more entries into this fine series.

Full Disclosure--NetGalley and the publisher provided me with a digital ARC of this book. This is my honest review.
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An absorbing addition to the Bess Crawford series — this episode takes place in Paris, just after the end of WWI.  Bess is sent on a private mission to track down the missing son of a Nursing Matron and has to unravel a complicated history whilst fending off surprise attacks on both herself and the subject.  Always well-versed in historical detail, I particularly enjoy the nursing overlay present in the Crawford series.  While slow-paced, it was never boring and I found I couldn’t put it down.
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