Although she’s well-known in Germany, this book marks Link’s first real entry into the American market.
When plain, uninteresting Gwen Beckett becomes engaged to a handsome and accomplished man with little means, an old family friend, Fiona Barnes, smells a rat. Worse, the elderly Fiona isn’t shy about saying what she thinks, and by doing so, she opens a floodgate of startling developments that take place both in wartime London and on the Beckett farm located in the Yorkshire countryside. First, there’s the terrible murder of a young university student who is killed by an unknown assailant following a baby-sitting job. Then, following Gwen’s engagement party, things become even more dangerous, as the killer, or a copycat, strikes again. DI Valerie Almond is brought in to solve the crime, and she races to catch the murderer or murderers before he or she strikes once more. The back story of what happened to the other child in the title—a little boy whose family died in the London air raids and ended up mistakenly accompanying Fiona to the Beckett farm during World War II—is compelling and offers a fascinating look at English rural life during the war. Fiona, painted as an unlikable and selfish woman, tells the story of the other child, Brian, and her feelings about him through a series of long email letters that Gwen finds. Rich with interesting characters and a plot that only becomes a little repetitive at the end, this is a solid tale that will keep readers guessing at the identity of the killer or killers. But some readers may be put off by the way Link’s characters always choose to do the wrong thing. And for those who prefer an interesting, well-developed police investigator, Almond is a disappointment—dull, one-dimensional and not very competent.
A compelling story, but the cop on the case isn’t likely to garner fans with her approach to crime solving.