Product Description A horrific explosion at a gunpowder mill sends Bess Crawford to war-torn France to keep a deadly pattern of lies from leading to more deaths, in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice. An explosion and fire at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent has killed over a hundred men. Itâs called an appalling tragedyâuntil suspicion and rumor raise the specter of murder. While visiting the Ashton family, Bess Crawford finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesnât stop with Philip Ashtonâs arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege. The only known witness to the tragedy is now at the Front in France. Bess is asked to find him. When she does, he refuses to tell her anything that will help the Ashtons. Realizing that he believes the tissue of lies that has nearly destroyed a family, Bess must convince him to tell her what really happened that terrible Sunday morning. But now someone else is also searching for this man. To end the vicious persecution of the Ashtons, Bess must risk her own life to protect her reluctant witness from a clever killer intent on preventing either of them from ever reaching England. Review âAs always, the Todds deftly juggle clues and red herrings, leading Bess and readers on a brisk chase. . . . Their intimate knowledge of rural England and the Great War period inject Bessâ first-person account with a hefty dose of verisimilitude.â (Wilmington Star News) âThe seventh book in an excellent series featuring Bess Crawford.â (Contra Costa Times) âBessâ seventh case. . . does its strong, determined heroine credit.â ( Kirkus Reviews) From the Back Cover Bess Crawford must keep a deadly pattern of lies from destroying an innocent family in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice In 1916, at the height of the war, an explosion and fire at an armament factory in Kent killed more than a hundred men. With Ashton Powder Mill situated so close to the coastâwithin reach of German saboteursâthe Army investigated, eventually ruling the event an appalling tragedy. Now, two years later, suspicion, gossip, and rumor have raised the specter of murderâand fingers point to the owner, Philip Ashton, whose son is battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's friend and former patient. While visiting the Ashtons, Bess finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn't stop with Philip Ashton's arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege. The police are hostileâthe Inspector's brother died in the mill explosionâand refuse to consult either the Army or Scotland Yard. Why, after two years, has the village turned against Ashton? In France, Bess searches for the only known witness to the explosion, now serving at the Front, and tries to convince him to give evidence about that terrible Sunday morning, only to find herself and the witness hunted by someone intent on preventing anyone from discovering whatâor whoâis behind this web of vicious lies. Uncertain whom to trust, she can rely only on her own wits and courage, but how can she stop a killer whose face she has never seen? Philip Ashton is urged to throw himself on the mercy of the courtâwhere he will surely find none. Time is running out. And Bess, at the point of a gun, has only one choice left: to risk her life to save the Ashtons. About the Author Charles Todd is theÂ New York TimesÂ bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.