Monday, May 08, 2023

The Cliff's Edge by Charles Todd

First Lines: Somerset, July 1919. Simon brought in the post, set it on the salver in the hall, and went on through the house and out across the back garden to his cottage just beyond the wood. I'd watched him from the window.
Now that the war is over, Bess Crawford is restless. After four years of working as a nurse on the front lines, she's not used to having time on her hands. This is why she reluctantly agrees to go to Yorkshire to be with one of Cousin Melinda's friends as she recuperates from surgery.
She finds Lady Beatrice to be a force of nature, unused to taking it easy though intelligent enough to follow doctor's orders. When they receive word that the older lady's godson has been gravely injured, Bess is sent to assess the situation.
What Bess finds is an isolated house filled with secrets. One man has died in a tragic fall, and the other-- Lady Beatrice's godson-- is seriously injured. To make matters worse, the police, led by a heavy-handed inspector with a grudge against the rich and titled-- are underfoot and asking a lot of questions.
When another death occurs, the police are ready to make an arrest, and it seems as though Bess is the only one who wants to work through all the secrets to get at the truth, even though her sleuthing is going to have a profound effect on the people she holds most dear.
The Cliff's Edge is another good outing for Bess Crawford, who's finding it difficult to decide what to do now that the war is over. She fears she's made an irreparable mistake with lifelong friend, Simon Brandon, and this is the major reason why she agrees to go to Yorkshire to nurse an older woman through surgery. 

This thirteenth book in the series shows readers how people are (or are not) adjusting to life after World War I. The men who returned are experiencing survivor's guilt, and the injured man Bess is sent to care for has found that his village isn't happy to see him. "When my brother enlisted, half the village went with him. Most of them didn't come home. There's some hard feeling about that.
Bess finds herself in a house filled with people who'd come to celebrate a birthday. Every single one of them seems to have some sort of secret. Every single one of them is economical with the truth. Trying to keep track of them all is like trying to herd cats, but if anyone is up to the task, it's Bess.
I enjoy this series for its "slice of life" feel, its strong mysteries, and the interactions among all the characters. Everything is taken care of by the end of The Cliff's Edge except for the question hanging over the heads of Bess and Simon-- a question that many faithful followers of the series have been wondering about for quite some time. I am very much looking forward to seeing how that progresses in the next book. Bring it on!

The Cliff's Edge by Charles Todd
eISBN: 9780063039964
William Morrow © 2023
eBook, 320 pages
Historical Mystery, #13 Bess Crawford mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. I like Bess' character, Cathy. Also, I think the series really does do a good job of portraying the times and the culture. And any series that lasts through a number of books without falling apart deserves praise, in my opinion.

  2. I really like Bess Crawford...though it's been awhile since I've read any book in this series. Seeing her life after the war would be interesting. Maybe I should just check this one out and not worry about trying to catch up on the other ones I've missed.


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