I loved Fiona Barton’s first book, The Widow. I wondered if her second book, The Child, would be as good.
Reporter Kate Waters is back in this tense, psychological mystery. Her curiosity is piqued when a baby’s body is discovered during the excavation of a building in London. While the headlines of all the papers are centered on the upcoming Olympics, the story of the gruesome discovery is relegated to a paragraph in “News in Brief”. However, something about the story sticks with Kate and soon she is embroiled in learning more about the investigation. This leads her on a winding path and a decades-old mystery.
Years earlier a baby was kidnapped from the maternity ward of a London hospital. Alice, the newborn daughter of Angela and Nick Irving was never seen again and suddenly the possibility that the skeleton might be that of “Baby Alice”.
Meanwhile, in another part of England, a young woman named Emma reads the article and is thrown into a panic. Obviously suffering from some type of anxiety disorder, her husband Paul cares for her. She has a shaky relationship with her mother Jude. Mother and daughter used to live in the building where the skeleton was found.
As the story progresses, the mystery deepens. Are the remains those of Alice? What does Emma have to do with it? Once again Barton weaves a tale that is so engrossing, I couldn’t set the book aside. Her ability to create complex characters that leap to life is skilled. Her forte is the development of plots that twist and turn, capturing the reader like a spider with a very sticky web.
“The Child” is as good as book number one. The climax is breathtaking. I admit I figured it out before the solution was presented, but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. If you liked The Widow, you will love The Child. I have already pre-ordered The Suspect and look forward to the next tale from one of my new favorite authors. Well done, Fiona Barton!
“As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers human remains, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who has been found at the building site?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A child was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…”