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Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Shattered Tree

"He crawled as far as the shattered tree and lay there, faint from the effort. But he knew he had to keep moving. When he stopped, when the sweat dried on his skin, he'd begin to shiver again, wracking his body until his teeth chattered. There wasn't enough left of his uniform to keep his warm, and his captors, God help them, had taken his boots. Good English leather. He'd stolen them himself from a corpse.

He grimaced, afraid to look at his torn feet. He'd lost too much blood from other wounds. The one in his leg had mercifully stopped bleeding, and the cut in his hairline had clotted over, but the damage had been done. He was light-headed from lack of food, finding it hard to concentrate. A crow couldn't find enough to eat in this countryside after four years of war. He'd be dead soon if he didn't reach his own lines."

Welcome to the latest Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd, the Shattered Tree. It all takes place in France in October of 1918, where a lone man is discovered wounded. He is taken to a local hospital where nurse Bess Crawford tends to his wounds before he is taken elsewhere to recover. But since he can't tell anyone who he is or where he is from, he remains a mystery patient. Until one night he is attacked by another patient and in his stress, he utters protests in German. Bess is concerned that this man might be a German spy, but why is he wearing a French soldier's uniform and missing all identification? As she is sent to attend a man along with a doctor in a trench, she is caught in the crossfire of a sniper's round and finds herself a patient. She begins to follow the mystery man to the very same location she is being sent to recover, only know she has a possible name he is going by Phillipe Moreau, which is French, but why does he seem so fluent in German?

That is the best part of any Bess Crawford mystery is the slow unraveling of clues as she uses her recovery time in Paris, to figure out who this man is. Why is he running? What is he hiding? As she gets closer to the truth, those around her wind up their own victims of being stabbed. How can it be the wounded man who clearly is unable to walk much less attempt murder of anyone including an attempt on her own life again. She must figure it out before she is sent back to the aid station in France again or before more people wind up wounded or even murdered. Will she be next?

I received The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. This is such an extraordinary series and even though they are ongoing, you don't need to read them in order to appreciate the mystery aspects of the novel. It's like a Sherlock Holmes book, each mystery is unique and original and always involves nurse Bess Crawford, like a historical Nancy Drew of sorts! This is one of my favorites of the novels I've had the pleasure to read and review. I give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next one, Casualty of War coming soon. At the conclusion of this one, readers will find discussion guide questions, an interview with the author about this novel and more about the Bess Crawford series. This is the 8th novel in the Bess Crawford series.

For more information about The Shattered Tree, Charles Todd or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Charles Todd on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Shattered Tree, please visit William Morrow's website.

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