A Question of Honor by Charles Todd

The latest in the Bess Crawford mystery series by Charles Todd begins with a prologue set in India. Bess is just a young girl at the time, living in military quarters with her parents because her father’s regiment is stationed there. One of the young officers, Lieutenant Wade, suddenly goes missing, and the police come to inform Bess’ father that Wade is accused of murdering his own parents in Delhi. Wade is tracked into the harsh mountains of Pakistan until his trail is lost on the side of a mountain. He is never heard from again, and everyone assumes he died. Bess and her parents find it hard to believe he was a murderer, but if it isn’t true, why would the man have deserted his post? Bess’ father was very upset over this incident. Not only did it make his regiment look bad, but he also thought he knew the man well enough to think him incapable of such an act.
Now a nurse stationed in France during WWI, Bess is informed by an Indian officer that Wade was seen there, fighting for England under a different name. Bess is unsure of what the man saw until she herself catches a glimpse of him. Meanwhile in England, people associated with Wade’s childhood are turning up dead. Could he be crossing the channel and exacting revenge in between battles? Or, was there another killer all along? Bess and her father are determined to find him and find out the truth of what happened all those years ago.
The unusual nature of this mystery really kept me guessing. It may seem unlikely that a soldier would come back to fight in WWI under another name, but I don’t think it’s necessarily unbelievable. Many lifelong soldiers feel they have no other training to build a different kind of life, and it would have been much easier to assume another identity before the age of computers. The chaotic nature of the front in WWI makes it the perfect scene for a mysterious reappearance. I would recommend this book (and the entire Bess Crawford series) to fans of historical mysteries.

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