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Extended Audio Sample A Bitter Truth: A Bess Crawford Mystery, by Charles Todd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,295 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Todd Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Bess Crawford Mysteries Release Date:
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Trying to help a woman in distress, World War I nurse and accidental sleuth Bess Crawford learns that no good deed goes unpunished

When battlefield nurse Bess Crawford returns from France for a well-earned Christmas leave, she finds a bruised and shivering woman huddled in the doorway of her London residence. The woman has nowhere to turn, and propelled by a firm sense of duty, Bess takes her in.

Once inside Bess’s flat, the woman reveals that a quarrel with her husband erupted into violence, yet she wants to return home—if Bess will go with her to Sussex. Realizing that the woman is suffering from a concussion, Bess gives up a few precious days of leave to travel with her. But she soon discovers that this is a good deed with unforeseeable consequences.

What Bess finds at Vixen Hill is a house of mourning. The woman’s family has gathered for a memorial service for the elder son, who died of war wounds. Her husband, home on compassionate leave, is tense, tormented by jealousy and his own guilty conscience.

Then, when a troubled houseguest is found dead, Bess herself becomes a prime suspect in the case. This murder will lead her to a dangerous quest in war-torn France, an unexpected ally, and a startling revelation that puts her in jeopardy before a vicious killer can be exposed.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Makes fine work of the brooding atmosphere.” 

    New York Times Book Review 

  • “Highly recommended—well-rounded, believable characters, a multi-layered plot solidly based on human nature, all authentically set in the England of 1917, make A Bitter Truth an outstanding and riveting read.” 

    Stephanie Laurens, New York Times bestselling author 

  • “Charles Todd has developed believable characters that carry along this story with lightning speed from the first page to the last.” 

    New York Journal of Books 

  • “When a murder occurs, the local police suspect Bess is involved. The Todds (a mother-son writing team) plausibly insert their heroine yet again into a criminal investigation, besides providing their usual depth of characterization.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Bess is a very strong series lead, the historical setting is as well developed here as it is in the Rutledge books, and the mysteries are just as elegantly constructed. Readers who have yet to sample the Crawford series should be strongly encouraged to do so.” 


  • “A thoughtful mystery with an excellent plot, well-drawn characters and wonderful atmosphere.” 

    Associated Press 

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by RuthG | 2/14/2014

    " The Charles Todd team has written another absorbing Bess Crawford story. The small village, manor house, and brooding countryside are very atmospheric and unsettling. There is no shortage of possible killers, and Bess struggles to sort out the various motives and opportunities. The weather and the conditions of the roads are so important as to almost be characters in themselves. The Aussie sergeant is a fun character in the story and I hope he returns in future Bess adventures. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Susan | 2/7/2014

    " If you like the Maisie Dobbs series then you'd like this series also. Unfortunately, if you read both at the same time, you get the young women confused because they are so close in character and circumstance. Bess, in this series, has no great powers of deduction like Maisie, but her nursing profession seems to get her included in a lot of unfortunate events. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mary Routzahn | 2/4/2014

    " I surrendered on page 257. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Chapple | 1/31/2014

    " I think I picked this up expecting Maisie Dobbs. Nursing Sister Bess Crawford is no less intrepid, especially when she finds a bruised and shivering woman on her doorstep when she comes home from France for Christmas leave. As Bess gets more and more involved with Lydia there are murders, lots of theorizing and quite a bit of motoring about. (I kept wondering about gasoline rationing, but evidently that was a WWII phenomena, not WWI). I found the plot more annoying than compelling though to be fair I was engaged enough to finish the final third in one go. Pleasant enough. "

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