A Pattern of Lies
A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd
Review: Bess Crawford, on leave from her duties as a nurse on the front line in France during World War I, is asked by the son of a man accused of covering up his involvement in an explosion that killed many people, to find a witness, who may know the truth of what actually happened, in A Pattern of Lies, the seventh mystery in this series by Charles Todd.
Bess is in England to visit her parents. While waiting for the train, she runs into a former patient, Mark Ashton, who invites her to spend the night at the family estate when it is announced that her train has been delayed until the next day. On the way Mark tells Bess how two years earlier a devastating explosion destroyed his father's gunpowder mill, killing numerous workers in the blast and fire that followed. The military, after ruling out German sabotage, declared the event was an accident. Today, however, accusations against Phillip Ashton have surfaced blaming him for the event and calling him a murderer. The people of the village and the police have become hostile towards him. There was only one known witness to the incident and he is now serving on the front lines in France. Actions come to a head that very evening when Phillip Ashton is arrested and charged with the murder of those who died that fateful day. Being unable to travel on, Bess stays to help comfort Mark's family and do whatever she can to help unravel the lies and learn the truth. Bess feels they need to find the only witness to the explosion and she knows of two gentlemen who can help. One is Sgt. Major Simon Brandon, who originally served with her father, and is now in intelligence; and other is Sgt. Lassiter, an Aussie, a man of many talents in finding soldiers on the battlefield. It is a race to find the witness and get him safely back for the trial, if he will actually agree to testify. He has refused once before. If the explosion and fire were not caused by an accident, someone is guilty. They family knows it is not Phillip Ashton. Someone, somewhere is out there and may kill again to keep their actions a secret.
This historical series is a terrific one, and A Pattern of Lies is a fine example of the entries in it. The characters are richly drawn, most especially Bess Crawford. As the daughter of a man who served his country around the world, she is familiar with, and comfortable around, all types of people. And they seem to instinctively trust her as well. The storyline is straight-forward but intricately thought out, well-developed and nicely paced, and, as the title suggests, it's never quite clear who is telling the truth and who is lying to cover up a misdeed. The journey that Bess takes to determine what actually happened two years ago is a rewarding one. Highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Pattern of Lies.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of A Pattern of Lies for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Bitter Truth
William Morrow (Hardcover), August 2011
ISBN-13: 9780062015709; ISBN-10: 0062015702
No Shred of Evidence
William Morrow (Hardcover), February 2016
ISBN-13: 9780062386182; ISBN-10: 0062386182
Location(s) referenced in A Pattern of Lies: England
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A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd — A Bess Crawford Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 2015
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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