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An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

An Impartial Witness - Charles Todd

An Impartial Witness is a sequel to A duty to the Dead and I was eager to read this book since this series has become a favorite of mine.


It's the early summer of 1917 and Bess Crawford is returning home from the trenches of France with a convoy of wounded men. One of the patients is Lt. Meriwether Evanson, a pilot who has been burned beyond recognition and he clings to life many thanks to his wife Marjorie whose picture he has pinned to his tunic. But Bess notices a woman on a London train station that is bidding farewell to an officer and she recognize the women. It's the pilots, wife. But the man isn't her husband. She then discovers back on duty in France that the woman has been murdered and Scotland Yard is asking for information from anyone that saw her that day.


Bess informs the police about what she knows, but it's not enough information since she can describe the man the woman was with, but she doesn't know who he is and soon she starts her own inquiry to learn who killed Marjorie. But it's a frustrating case, and it seems that the killer may be getting away with murder and send an innocent man to the gallows.

I felt that this book was not as engrossing to read as the first book, still very good, but there were moments in the book when I felt that the pacing was a bit slow and I wanted the story to progress a little bit faster. Not that the story was bad, I mean there were several people in the book that could have been the murderer and it wasn't like I guessed right away who it was. I found the story picked up speed towards the end when a man that Bess had befriended was accused of murder and she had to fight to clear his name. Then, the story got more intense and I loved the ending.


I like Bess Crawford very much, she is a well-written character and I like the fact that even though everyone in the book seem to think that she has more than friendly feelings towards the accused man she is trying to save is she just his friend. Not that I wouldn't mind her finding some happiness (I have read A Pattern of Lie, the perfect man is out there for her she just has to see it), but she isn't a woman that is easily swept off her feet. And, that is something I like.


Thankfully the book had a strong beginning and ending and, despite me feeling that the story dragged here and there in the middle was it a good book and I wasn't sure in the end it would end happily.