In the early 1900's, young teen Bess Crawford lives in India where her father, Colonel Crawford, is in charge of a British regiment. The school-age children of the regiment's soldiers are usually sent to England to be educated, where they live with foster families. When Lieutenant Standish and his wife get word that their youngest daughter died of typhoid in England, Mrs. Standish returns home escorted by the much respected Lieutenant Wade. But when Lt. Wade returns to India he's accused of murdering a family while in England and of killing his parents upon his return to India.
The regiment is shocked, unable to devine a motive for these horrendous crimes. Rather than face the charges Lt. Wade makes a run for it. The military police are unable to capture him and there are reports that Wade died while trying to escape through Afghanistan. This leaves a blot on the honor of the regiment.
Ten years later, during WWI, Bess Crawford is an army nurse. While working at a field clinic in France Bess comes across a dying Indian soldier who tells her that he's seen Lt. Wade. Bess is soon off and running, determined to find Lt. Wade and bring him to justice, thus restoring the honor of her father's regiment.
During her investigations Bess discovers that some foster homes were terrible places, giving her a hint of a possible motive for the murders. The usual characters are on hand in this story, including Beth's parents and her good friend Simon. The book provides an authentic feel for the horrors of combat; the pain and plight of wounded soldiers; and the difficult conditions in field hospitals. The story's resolution seems a little out of left field but believable enough. A good book for fans of historical mysteries.