Book Review: A Duty to the Dead

I did so much reading this summer, I’m going to post reviews more regularly this fall, starting with A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd.

Duty to the Dead coverA Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 1)
by Charles Todd
William Morrow, 2009

Bess Crawford is the onlyl daughter of a British Army officer, so she felt it her duty to volunteer to be a nurse during World War I. The book starts with Bess on the deck of the steamship Britannic just before it hits a mine and starts to sink. The initial explosion knocks Bess off her deck chair and she breaks her arm. The break and cut are bad enough that she is sent home to England to recover. While there, she decides to follow up on a request made of her by Arthur Graham, a dying officer. He asked her to deliver a message to his brother: Tell Jonathan that I lied. I did it for Mother’s sake. But it has to be set right.”

Back home, Bess contacts Jonathan who invites her to visit the Graham home. She delivers the message, but still doesn’t understand what it means. She knows it hs something to do with Arthur’s brothers–Jonathan, Timothy and their half-brother, Peregrine, who has been locked up in an asylum for years. Her stay becomes extended when Peregrine, arrives from the asylum with a bad case of pneumonia, and Bess seems to be ther only one who wants him to live. She is nothing if not a dedicated nurse.

This is a pretty good mystery, and the sense of time and place is excellent. The war casts a shadow over everyone. Bess knows she will be sent back as soon as she is healed, as does Jonathan who is home recuperating from his war wounds. And his brother Timothy is shamed by the fact that he is unfit to serve due to a club foot. Bess uses her nursing skills on more than one occasion. There are seven books in this series, and I’ll probably read more.

What have you been reading lately?

Crepes Suzette: A Cozy Mystery by @JanetLynn4 #4FunFacts

Today author Janet Elizabeth Lynn is here with Four Fun Facts about her cozy mystery, Crepes Suzette.

4 Fun Facts

Fact 1
I love to eat but hate to cook! So my favorite desserts/foods must be made by others. However, I am proud to announce I have mastered the art of making Crepes Suzette. A wonderful, simple dessert.

Fact 2
Though I’m not adopted, I’ve had wonderful friends and college roommates who were. Many found their biological mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and managed to have lasting relations with them. This is what prompted this story.

Fact 3
At one time I was an Entertainment Editor for a newspaper in Southern California. Many of the quirky characters, i.e., Boss man, Loony Bin, Nate the Snake are based on real people I worked with. They had regular names but…their nicknames were in my head and diary.

Fact 4
The picture of Wrigley Rose, the heroine, on the cover was inspired by my image of me in the after life!!

Crepe SuzetteSummary

Wrigley Rose, 25, editor of the Uptown Bulletin, decides to take life more seriously and makes positive life affirmations. With the encouragement of her two best girlfriends, she ventures in search of her biological parents and a husband to begin a family of her own. She discovers that her positive life affirmations work. She finds three great, but different guys to possibly settle down with, plus, she finds a lead in her search for her birth parents.

The community has always loved her witty and humorous column. But suddenly, a slander lawsuit is slapped on her and the paper. When the three guys she thought she couldn’t live without and her job become tenuous, her life takes drastic turns she never could have imagined. Especially when she discovers mysterious information about her family. Wrigley is thrown into uncharted waters and life threatening danger.

Watch the video trailer:



I walked into Boss man’s office for our Monday morning stand-up meeting at the Uptown Bulletin. As usual, we were waiting for Ed our copy guy. My co-worker Nate the Snake was making nice with Boss Man, and Boss man’s secretary, Lucy but I call her Looney Bin. This week she’s in an outlandish, peacock blue, pressed on lamée outfit.

First up on the agenda was the Gay Pride Parade. “I think Wrigley should go.” Nate the snake whined. “She’s in charge of the Entertainment section, not me.”

I countered with my schedule, “I have to be at the Art Festival which brought in thousands of dollars last week. They’re giving the paper an award and they’re expecting me. I’m already scheduled with two other events that Saturday.”

“I’m not going. It’s your event. You figure it out.” Nate the Snake smiled, showing his tombstone teeth.

“I can’t,” I wanted to yell but kept the lid on it.

“I’m not going and you can’t make me,” he folded his arms, extending his chin like a child in a tantrum.

I watched his lips, fully expecting him to stick out his tongue.

“He doesn’t want to go Wrigs,” Boss Man looked over his shoulder at me and blew out a smoke ring. “Make it work.”

“I can’t make it work. I can’t be in two places at once!” I think I was close to shouting.

“Okay then send Lucy.” Nate the Snake suggested.

“I’d love to!” spilled out of Looney Bin.

“She can’t do it!” I can just see Lucy walking down the sidewalk in her lamée with a crowd of gay men following her while bidding on her outfit.

Everyone looked at me, the room went dead silent. I shouldn’t have said that. Think Wrigley, say something nice. “It’s dangerous. She doesn’t know the ins and outs of covering an event like this.”

“Okay, I’ll pick you up and I’ll take you. You review it.” Boss Man volunteered.

Silence again. I put my hand on Looney Bin’s shoulder, “I’ll give you an outline to follow.” I had to sound like I wanted to help.

“Don’t touch me,” Looney Bin crouched to the other side of her chair.

“Okay. Now the next thing on the agenda,” he looked at me.

“So, why do I need a babysitter?” I protested. “I’ve been the editor of the Entertainment Section for four years. This never came up before.”

I told myself to calm down, and stay focused. I can’t let it get to me. I’m a big girl, I know how to take care of myself. I tried to listen to Boss Man but I couldn’t get last night’s assignment at the Bohemian Folk Music event out of my head. It gave me such a headache that I left early. It’s still echoing in my head!

I titled my review, “One hundred and one ways to bang on things.” Boss Man is going to have a fit when he edits it. Knowing him, he’ll sit back in his chair, blow smoke rings and stare me down. The number of smoke rings determined how mad he is.

I deliberately drank coffee this morning so I could focus for a long period of time. Nate the Snake was talking to Looney Bin. Her peacock blue four inch nails and hair bands sparkled from the sky light. I saw Boss Man’s mouth move, but for some reason I couldn’t process it. Focus, Wrigley, focus. There went my stomach again.

“So, if I’m doing a good job,” I inquired, “why do I need a babysitter?” I really felt indignant about this.

“Escort, Wrigley. Escort.” Nate the Snake interrupted. “And just think, he may be some gorgeous guy to escort you around!”

“Look,” Boss Man stared me down with those bushy eyebrows of his. “The attorneys said I’m liable…the paper is liable should something happen to you on an assignment. So we’re sending an escort with you. Deal with it Wrigs.”

I hate it when he calls me Wrigs.

I was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until I was 12 years old. My family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of Southern California.

I’ve always wanted to write so made it a quest to write a novel. Ten years later, with much blood and sweat, my first murder mystery novel was published in 2011.

I have traveled to the far reached of the planet for work and for pleasure, collecting wonderful memories, newfound friends and a large basket of shampoo and conditioner samples from hotels.

Important places to find me:

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e-mail: [email protected]

Thanks for visiting today, Janet. Crepes Suzette sounds like a fun read, and I really love the cover. I’m not much of a cook, either, so I’m impressed that you learned how to make Crepes Suzette. I’d give it a try, but my husband wouldn’t let me light it on fire. He won’t let me play with matches.

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Linda / Lyndi