Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.
A Duty to the Dead (William Morrow, 2009), by a mother/son writing team that goes by Charles Todd, is the first in a relatively new mystery series set during World War I and featuring a battlefield nurse, Bess Crawford. The authors provide an absorbing glimpse into a time that was both more gentile and mannerly than our own, as well as inexorably shaped by battlefield casualties and impairments caused by a numbingly grotesque war. After narrowly escaping her own death on a sinking hospital ship, Bess resolves to deliver a dying man’s cryptic message to his family. She soon becomes engrossed in determining just what the message really meant and what dark secrets the family has been hiding.