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A stranger on your doorstep with bruises, a stranger you let into your home, and a stranger who became your friend and brought trouble when you arrived at your new friend's home. Could you make friends that quickly and feel comfortable enough to go to their home?
Bess thought it was possible, and when she arrived at Lydia's home she immediately knew there was something strange about Lydia and her entire family. This became even more apparent when a family member was murdered and Bess became one of the suspects in the investigation. How did a well-bred girl get herself into such a mess....being nice definitely didn't pay off in this case.
The case involved Mr. Hughes who drank too much that evening and blurted out a family secret in front of unknowing family and a few town guests. Could that have been the reason Mr. Hughes was murdered. Who would revert to murder to keep something quiet? Everyone in the household was questioned, and being the last one to speak to Mr. Hughes before his death, was incriminating for Bess.
When the police thought they found the murderer, everyone was free to leave. Bess left but not without having to promise Lydia she would find someone for her. Bess hesitated but knew the person in question may be the root of the reason for the murder so she promised to look in France. Bess's nursing career kept her busy, but she managed to "try" to search. This search was the key to many secrets.
The story took place in the early 1900's with scenes from makeshift hospitals in France and the house where the family lived...Vixen Hill. The home, the town, and the family life of that era were well described...the lack of phone communication was frightening...also the "motorcar" that had to be cranked to get it started.
The book was slow at first, but once the murder took place, the interest picked up. The murder and some of the story's characters were somewhat bizarre, but interesting.
I can honestly say the book wasn't bad but it did get too much with the patient care and such. I have never read a Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd, but have read the Inspector Rutledge ones. It won’t disappoint you, but finding out who committed the crime will surprise you and how the police operated in the 1900's will keep your attention.