Following World War I, British Army nurse Bess Crawford tries her best to help a soldier from a dangerous killer in A Cruel Deception, the latest thriller from Charles Todd.
Todd—the pseudonym for the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd—released their first Bess Crawford novel, A Duty of the Dead, in 2009. Since then, they’ve released one new Crawford book a year, including, most recently, A Forgotten Place, which came out in 2018 and saw Bess assigned to an amputee clinic on a remote Welsh headland, where she stumbled onto a dangerous secret that left her not only fighting to save others, but also her own life.
This time around, Bess is pondering her future when she’s tasked with an assigned that’ll take her to Paris in search of an officer who’s abandoned his post and is currently suffering from opioid addiction.
See the official plot details below.
In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford attempts to save a troubled former soldier from a mysterious killer in this eleventh book in the beloved Bess Crawford mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.
The Armistice of November 1918 ended the fighting, but the Great War will not be over until a Peace Treaty is drawn up and signed by all parties. Representatives from the Allies are gathering in Paris, and already ominous signs of disagreement have appeared.
Sister Bess Crawford, who has been working with the severely wounded in England in the war’s wake, is asked to carry out a personal mission in Paris for a Matron at the London headquarters of The Queen Alexandra’s.
Bess is facing decisions about her own future, even as she searches for the man she is charged with helping. When she does locate Lawrence Minton, she finds a bitter and disturbed officer who has walked away from his duties at the Peace Conference and is well on his way toward an addiction to opiates. When she confronts him with the dangers of using laudanum, he tells her that he doesn’t care if he lives or dies, as long as he can find oblivion. But what has changed him? What is it that haunts him? He can’t confide in Bess—because the truth is so deeply buried in his mind that he can only relive it in nightmares. The officers who had shared a house with him in Paris profess to know nothing—still, Bess is reluctant to trust them even when they offer her their help. But where to begin on her own?
What is driving this man to a despair so profound it can only end with death? The war? Something that happened in Paris? To prevent a tragedy, she must get at the truth as quickly as possible—which means putting herself between Lieutenant Minton and whatever is destroying him. Or is it whoever?
Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. Among the honors accorded to the Ian Rutledge mysteries are the Barry Award and nominations for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s Dilys Award, the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the U.S., and the John Creasey Award in the UK. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.
A Cruel Deception will land on store shelves on September 7th, and is currently available for pre-order anywhere books are sold.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.