The Maharani's Pearls: A Bess Crawford Story

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Living with her family in India, young Bess Crawford's curiosity about this exotic country sometimes leads her into trouble.

One day she slips away from the cantonment to visit the famous seer in a nearby village. Before this woman can finish telling her fortune, Bess is summoned back for an afternoon tea with the Maharani, a close friend of her parents'. The seer's last words are a warning about forthcoming danger that Bess takes as the usual patter. But this visit by the Maharani has ominous overtones that mark it as more than a social call. Her husband has political enemies, and she has come to ask Bess's father, Major Crawford, for help.

As the Maharani is leaving, Bess notices that there is something amiss with the royal entourage. Major Crawford must set out after them—but will he be in time?

And what will happen to Bess, and the household left behind, when a vicious assassin circles back to take hostages?

Here is an extraordinary glimpse into the childhood of the Bess Crawford we know from her service in the Great War.

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About the author

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Jul 1, 2014
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Pages
96
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ISBN
9780062369239
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Traditional
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Though the Great War has ended, Bess Crawford finds herself caught in deadly circumstances on a remote Welsh headland in this tenth entry from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author.

The fighting has ended, the Armistice signed, but the war has left wounds that are still agonizingly raw. Battlefield Nurse Bess Crawford has been assigned to a clinic for amputees, and the Welsh patients worry her. She does her best to help them, but it’s clear that they have nothing to go home to, in a valley where only the fit can work in the coal pits. When they are released, she fears that peace will do what war couldn’t—take their lives.

Their officer, Captain Williams, writes to describe their despair, and his own at trying to save his men. Bess feels compelled to look into their situation, but the Army and the clinic can do nothing. Requesting leave, she quietly travels to Wales, and that bleak coal mining village, but she is too late.

Captain Williams’ sister tells Bess he has left the valley. Bess is afraid he intends to kill himself. She follows him to an isolated, storm-battered peninsula—a harsh and forgotten place where secrets and death go hand in hand. Deserted by her frightened driver, Bess is stranded among strangers suspicious of outsiders. She quickly discovers these villagers are hiding something, and she’s learned too much to be allowed to leave. What’s more, no one in England knows where she is.

Why is there no Constable out here? And who is the mysterious Ellen? Captain Williams and his brother’s widow are her only allies, and Bess must take care not to put them at risk as she tries to find answers. But there is a murderer here who is driven to kill again and again. And the next person in his sights is Simon Brandon, searching for Bess and unaware of his danger. . . .

In his latest novel, bestselling author Charles Todd brings his classic mystery series to a new level of intensity and intrigue. The year is 1919, and Ian Rutledge is a fragile yet courageous former soldier searching for his place in a postwar world. Now a Scotland Yard investigator, Rutledge is called upon to probe a small-town murder — and discovers that it may be connected to one of the greatest disasters of all time....

Watchers of Time

In Osterley, a marshy Norfolk backwater, a man lies dying on a rainy autumn night. While natural causes will surely claim Herbert Baker’s life in a matter of hours, his last request baffles his family and friends.

Baker, a devout Anglican, inexplicably demands to see the town’s Catholic priest for a last confession. The old man dies without knowing that the very priest who gave him comfort will follow him to the grave just a few weeks later — the victim of an appalling murder.

The local police are convinced the evidence points to an interrupted robbery, and have named a suspect, Matthew Walsh. But the dead priest’s bishop insists that Scotland Yard oversee the investigation. A simple task for Rutledge, a man not yet well enough to return to full duty.

The Inspector draws on years of experience and a war-honed intuition as he finds himself uncovering secrets that the local authorities would prefer not to see explored. Surely, they reason, it is better to charge an outsider — Matthew Walsh — with murder than to learn that someone in this tightly knit community would commit such a horrendous crime. And yet there are those, Rutledge soon discovers, who held grudges against the priest that had little to do with God or the Church.

No one in Osterley is aware that Rutledge hears voices — or, rather, one haunting voice: that of a soldier he was forced to execute during the War. It is with the voice of Hamish MacLeod, by turns second-guessing and taunting him, that Rutledge begins a journey toward the devastating truth that will unlock the secrets of Osterley and pare away its layers of deception.

And in piecing together a different story, Rutledge encounters a chain of events that stretches from these brooding marshes to one of the greatest sea disasters in history — the sinking of the Titanic. Who is the mysterious woman who may have boarded that ship ... and who is the secretive woman who survived it? Rutledge comes to believe that he alone can stop a killer from striking again.

Deftly capturing the anguish of a man haunted by his tragic past, Watchers of Time delves beneath a cast of unforgettable characters to examine a mystery even greater than murder: the mystery of what is right and what is wrong after the world has committed the sin of war.


From the Hardcover edition.
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