Publishing year: 2011
The book starts in 1987 with Rosie, a nine-year-old girl, who jumps ahead of her five-year-old sister, Joanna, as she wants to buy sweets.
When she goes into the sweet shop, she waits for her little sister but Joanna is never seen again. Her mother is alerted, then the police, and then her father. They don’t find a clue, and years pass. Her mother marries again, her father is now an alcoholic, and life continues for Rosie, but things won’t be the same without Joanna. Rosie blames herself, and that sense of guilt seems to be with her all the time.
After this introduction, I think there is a jump in time even though there is no reference to the year. We are introduced to Frieda Klein, who is a psychiatrist. Frieda works at home and also in a clinic called the Warehouse, run by Dr. Reuben McGill. There is some concern now for Dr. McGill as he is letting the clinic go. Things go to a head when a patient Alan threatens to place a complaint against the doctor as he didn’t hear a word Alan was saying during a session. Frieda is asked to take over and treat this patient and Alan agrees. Alan is a strange man who claims to have had some odd feelings when he was in his twenties. I wonder if this man is the one who abducted Joanna. There are chunks in cursive in the book of somebody’s thoughts about little girls and boys. Are these Alan’s thoughts?
Frieda is the main character of a series of books of which this one is number one. Frieda is quite a strange woman in my opinion. She’s quite cold. She has some kind of relationship with a man called Sandy, and as for her family, we know she has a sister called Olivia and a niece Chloë. When she visits Chloe, there is a reference to Frieda hating talking about her family, and I wonder what secrets or mysteries Frieda hides. Some of the parts are quite enigmatic as we get just vague impressions of what is happening.