In Helen Callaghan’s chilling, tightly-spun debut novel of psychological suspense, a teenage girl’s abduction stirs dark memories of a twenty-year-old cold case...
Margot Lewis is a teacher at an exclusive high school in the English university town of Cambridge. In her spare time, she writes an advice column, “Dear Amy”, for the local newspaper.
When one of Margot’s students, fifteen-year-old Katie, disappears, the school and the town fear the worst. And then Margot gets a “Dear Amy” letter unlike any of the ones she’s received before. It’s a desperate plea for rescue from a girl who says she is being held captive and in terrible danger—a girl called Bethan Avery, who was abducted from the local area twenty years ago…and never found.
The letter matches a sample of Bethan’s handwriting that the police have kept on file since she vanished, and this shocking development in an infamous cold case catches the attention of criminologist Martin Forrester, who has been trying to find out what happened to her all those years ago. Spurred on by her concern for both Katie and the mysterious Bethan, Margot sets out—with Martin’s help—to discover if the two cases are connected.
But then Margot herself becomes a target...
Margot Lewis, the prickly heroine of Callaghan's solid debut, teaches at prestigious St. Hilda's Academy in Cambridge, England. In her spare time, she writes the "Dear Amy" advice column for a local newspaper in her spare time. Meanwhile, Margot is about to get divorced from her handsome, philandering husband, Eddy, who knows more about her checkered history than she'd like. When she receives a letter purporting to be from Bethan Avery, a girl who disappeared as a teenager in 1998, Margot is unnerved, but becomes more so as more letters arrive, especially since they remind her of the recent disappearance of a St. Hilda's student, 15-year-old Katie Browne, whom police are treating as a runaway, despite Margot's suspicions. Margot teams with a Cambridge University criminologist, Martin Forrester, the head of the Multi-Disciplinary Historical Analysis Team, to analyze the letters, which appear to be written by Bethan. While the reader might guess the links between the current-day abduction and the earlier crime, Callaghan keeps the suspense high throughout.
This was a well done thriller with a nice twist.