Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
This is Diane Janes’ second novel, and she is also the author of well researched non-fiction studies on two early twentieth century murders. Her first novel, Pull of the Moon, was well received on its publication in 2010, and Why Don’t You Come for Me?, a psychological crime novel that holds the reader with each twist and turn, is an excellent successor to it.
Jo and her husband Marcus run a tour agency in Cumbria. It is not her first marriage, and she and Marcus have no children of their own. She does have a teenage stepson, though. Sean lives with them, but he and Jo have an uneasy relationship. She tries hard to please, but Sean thinks she is weird, as do many in the small Cumbrian community in which they live. If she is weird, she has reason to be. Jo had a daughter from her first marriage, but Lauren disappeared as a baby, and has not been seen since. Over the years, however, Jo receives a series of photographs of her baby with the words ‘I still have her’ written on them. The ever more frightening conclusion is that Lauren’s abductor is keeping close tabs on Jo.
Is it as straightforward as that, however? Is Jo’s own family background a factor? Is Jo really‘weird’? In a series of twists Jo becomes more and more isolated, driven by longing for her lost daughter whom she is convinced is still alive. Written not only from Jo’s viewpoint, but from those around her, the novel quickly builds in pace and mystery.
Although the ending did not work for me, overall it is a remarkable and memorable story – and I hope many more follow it.