In the first chapter of Goldâ€™s ebullient, complex, over-the-top Charlie Chaplin novel, Chaplin dies in a rowboat accident off the stormy, rocky northern California coast in 1916. At the same moment he also causes a riot in a small town in East Texas and is spotted engaging in various acts of mayhem around the country.
A DUTY TO THE DEAD, by the mother-and son writing team known as Charles Todd, opens in 1916 on a hospital ship, Britannic, that is sailing off the coast of Greece. Elizabeth Crawford is a nurse stationed on the ship, who has worked tirelessly tending to the British casualties of World War I. Against her better judgment, she develops strong feelings for an injured soldier named Arthur Graham. On his deathbed, Arthur begs Bess to deliver an important message to his brother in Kent. After putting off the task for a while, Bess finally finds the time to visit Arthur’s relatives.