A runaway wife finds her new life threatened when the murder of a schoolgirl brings the police to her doorstep.
Jennifer Reynolds goes from the frying pan straight into the fire. She leaves her stern, unloving parents for Alan, an antiques dealer whose trinket-filled living quarters seem at first a refuge from her parents’ obsessively clean house. But Alan treats Jennifer like a backward child, missing no chance to belittle her. So one day, simple Jennifer simply takes off. A series of dead-end jobs under a string of temporary identities keeps body and soul together until the death of an old school acquaintance, Susan McCarthy, gives Jennifer the chance at something more permanent. Since Susan died in France, no death certificate has been recorded in England. Armed with enough vital statistics to apply for a birth certificate, Jennifer becomes Susan. By the time she reaches Lasthwaite, a resurrected Susan McCarthy has a car, bank accounts and enough work history to apply for a real job as manager of Lasthwaite Health Centre. She also finds real romance with kind, solid Rob Dugdale, a teacher at a local secondary school. Susan is hesitant about accepting Rob’s proposal—after all, as Jennifer, she already has a husband. But she longs for a real home and family. She’s already on edge when a local television station airs Disappeared!, which tells the story of three unsolved missing persons cases, including Jennifer’s. But the murder of Rob’s student Julie Peacock threatens to push her over the edge—especially when the police learn that Rob was the last person to see Julie alive.
Janes (Why Didn’t You Come for Me?, 2011) sets up a clever puzzle only to trash it with a solution as improbable as it is long-winded.