An Impartial Witness

An Impartial Witness

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
10
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A murder leads World War I nurse Bess Crawford into the clutches of a wily killer.
Publisher: [New York] : William Morrow, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061791789
0061791784
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY TODD 2010
Characteristics: 344 p. ; 24 cm

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c
captbligh
Aug 09, 2017

2nd in the series, a well written goof read. One potential problem: both books use the same story board. Bess takes an interest, perseveres, gets in trouble, satisfactory solution.

w
WhidbeyIslander
Aug 09, 2017

A satisfying mystery with the same interesting writing style as the Sgt. Rutledge books (without the annoying Hamish). Bess seems so sensible and surrounded by other sensible people that it's not frustrating as she gets deeper and deeper into the mystery. Set mostly in England, there are times we follow her back to France where she is ministering to Allied soldiers at the Front.

l
Lilybop1
Nov 02, 2016

Thoroughly enjoyed this story and definitely will read more by this author.

d
DorisWaggoner
Jan 03, 2016

Great second in this series. Not just a good mystery, but a good use of the WW I setting, both when nursing sister Bess Crawford is on the front in France, and home on leave in England. The US author team has done their research well. The plot gets a bit convoluted, as the families involved are intricately related. Bess's profession as a nurse is a good one for her compassionate interest in detection, and her powers of observation allow her to solve crimes. The books can be read on their own, but are more fun in order.

As an aside, I've checked whether petrol was rationed during WW I in England; it was not, though food was. After the War, England and France divided up the Middle East between themselves to make sure of their continuing supplies of oil. There was talk, by 1918, of converting to coal-gas for cars to save the petrol for military use, but the conversion process itself was too expensive so it wasn't done. In WW II, gas was indeed rationed. Food was rationed in both wars. Bess and Simon might be charged with silliness for driving all over England, but not with wasting petrol. And England's a much smaller country than the US, so we're comparing apples to oranges.

u
unexpressed
Dec 02, 2015

A librarian recommended this series to me and I am so glad she did. Can't wait to read the next one.

z
zaire189
Dec 13, 2013

A great follow up to A Duty to the Dead

BPLNextBestAdults Jul 13, 2011

If you love to read historical mysteries then you might want to try An Impartial witness by Charles Todd.
Todd has two series of mysteries: The Ian Rutledge mysteries and the two Bess Crawford mysteries. The Impartial witness is the second in the Bess Crawford series.
Todd and his mother are the writers for these excellent series.
The tale begins in the early summer of 1917 and Bess Crawford a spunky nursing sister is returning to England with a convoy of wounded soldiers from the French front. One of the patients that she recently cared for was a badly burned pilot who had the picture of his beloved wife near his cot. While Bess was at the Waterloo train station she saw a tearful woman with an officer from the Wiltshire Regiment. He was very cold toward the woman and got on the train to leave for the front. Bess recognizes the face of the woman as the wife of the wounded pilot. She tries to follow the woman through the crowded train station but loses her trail. Two weeks later Bess is back in France and by chance gets a package from home that is wrapped with an old newspaper. One of the stories is about the murder of a woman. This woman, Marjorie Evanson was the wife of the pilot that Bess treated. Scotland Yard is asking anyone to contact them if they saw
Mrs. Marjorie Evanson on the day she was murdered. The rest of this mystery deals with this murder and Bess spends her leaves from the front to try and find the murderer.
An excellent read, with period details about London and the outlying areas. There are lots of twists and turns in this fast-paced plot. Readers will enjoy the outgoing character of this female sleuth.

s
sophia08
Jul 04, 2011

An Impartial Witness is a good story but it is not so well written and plotted as the Ian Rutledge series. i was put off by the repetitiveness of the action and the two-dimensional quality of the characters. The Heroine, Bess, and her trusted Protector, Simon, are usually dashing about the countryside in forays for information. This in itself is odd because during WWI petrol must have been scarce. Bess is alternatively courageous and helpless, and Simon is always there to accompany her or arrive at the just the right moment to rescue and comfort her.. Many of the characters are caricatures who have little actual relationship to one another, and the relationship Bess has with her family seems incidental rather than real.
The Ian Rutledge books are very beautifully written. The language itself is a pleasure to read. Yes, the ghost remarks in his head could be tiresome but were mostly helpful in the later books.
This book does rate three stars for being a good story and worth a read.

p
Palomino
Feb 09, 2011

A new author for me. I'll look for more.

2
21288001362991
Jan 14, 2011

Charles Todd is an outstanding find ... a new mystery writer that has captured my attention. I hope that this dynamic writing team continues for many years.

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