The Shattered Tree: A Bess Crawford Mystery

Written by Charles Todd
Review by Susan McDuffie

WWI nurse Bess Crawford treats a wounded soldier on the front lines. She assumes he is French although, surprised and under stress, her patient astonishes Bess by speaking fluent German. Her supervisor reassures Bess; the man most likely is Alsatian. When Bess herself is wounded and sent to convalesce in Rouen and Paris, she remains concerned that the mysterious man could be a German spy.  A glimpse of him in a Paris taxi increases her resolve to investigate. Aided by her old friend American Captain Barkley, as well as a new acquaintance, the nun Marie-Luc, Bess searches for the mysterious soldier.  However Bess’s inquiries endanger all three of them, bringing to light old misdeeds and murders long thought to be resolved.

Another Charles Todd book is always a luscious treat, and I devoured The Shattered Tree in one sitting.  France during the Great War comes to life as Bess’s search takes her throughout Paris and into nearby villages. The intrepid Bess certainly does not know the meaning of rest and recuperation, but I am thankful, along with all of her fans, that she survives her war wound. Hopefully a fully recovered Bess will be continuing her inquiries in the future. Highly recommended.