A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Once again Sister Bess Crawford, WWI nurse, investigates a mystery. This time, she's helping an army officer prove his father's innocence in a horrific gunpowder factory explosion. The Ashtons live in a small village near the coast in Kent, and Philip Ashton, mill owner, is arrested on suspicion of causing the explosion two years in the past which killed and injured a great many villagers. The town, including the police, is convinced that he is responsible, and his whole family is shunned and subjected to harassment. Bess is equally convinced that he is innocent and she uses her status as a nursing sister at the front, and her Army contacts via her father, to help figure out what really happened.
While I enjoy this series, I am finding Bess to be a flattish character. She has a strong sense of justice, a determined outlook, and an inquisitive nature. The series starts at the beginning of the war, and by now, the Armistice approaching. The world has changed, but Bess hasn't. Although the story is told from her perspective, there's no sense of what she's really thinking or feeling, at any time. She has no personal relationships beyond her family ties, and no sense of personal conflict that make characters interesting. I will continue to read this series, but would like to see some change in Bess.
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