Publishing year: 2011
This novel is a thriller.
The main character is Lucy Black, a detective in Northern Ireland. A milkman discovers a little girl in the middle of a snow storm, and calls the police. Lucy is sent. At the moment, the police are busy with the case of a missing teenager Kate McLaughlin, the girl of a very rich local businessman, who disappeared after going to the cinema with her friends. When Lucy reaches the place where the girl was spotted, she finds her, sheltering under a tree, and she realizes that this is not Kate but a very young girl. The little girl is clad in pyjamas and doesn’t speak to Lucy. She is even reluctant to go to Lucy, but in the end the policewoman manages to get her. The pyjamas the girl is wearing has the name Alice printed on it, so Lucy thinks the little girl’s name is Alice. In the hospital, Alice, as Lucy calls her, is shouting because as a doctor explains, she’s suffering from extreme hypothermia, so the girl is finally sedated.
It seems that in this book the two cases of the girls are going to be the main plot points. Lucy is now assigned to help in the case of Kate McLaughlin and also she is asked to try to find out about the little girl’s identity. So far nobody has claimed her, and when she tries to call the schools, she can’t find out much since, due to the snow storm, many students aren’t at school, and without a photo or a name to get by, it is difficult for Lucy to discover if there is a girl missing.
Lucy has also some personal problems. She moved to this city/town recently to look after her dad. He seems to have alzheimer or some kind of dementia. He often doesn’t recognize Lucy and keeps confusing her with his wife. I though that Alice’s mother was dead, but we get a surprise when Lucy unsuccessfully tries to talk to Assistant Chief Constable Wilson in Belfast, and then we learn that ACC Wilson is her mother. So I can guess that her parents are divorced, and therefore there’s an interesting story here. Did her mother leave her dad for someone else? Or was it the other way round? Or was life with Lucy’s father unbearable and that was why the woman left?