Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters - but none like the one she's just received: 'Dear Amy, I don't know where I am. I've been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I'm afraid he'll kill me. Please help me soon, Bethan Avery.'
Bethan Avery has been missing for nearly two decades. This is surely some cruel hoax. But as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything....
©2016 Helen Callaghan (P)2016 Penguin Books Ltd
I'm not generally into the crime/thrillers/mystery genre, but a friend recommended this book so I decided to check it out. When I did, the summary sounded interesting and the audible sample drew me in immediately, so I bought it. I'm very glad I did!
The story was compelling and the writing was brilliant - had a fresh quality to it and was so evocative; the author is obviously very observant. One of the reasons I tend not to read in this genre is that I feel there are pitfalls that tend to come up again and again that wreck the plausibility of a lot of stories - things like the characters doing stupid things in order to advance the plot - I was very happy when listening to this to find whenever I worried this would happen, it didn't!
On the narration front, I was also super impressed. All three of the narrators were superb and I will be looking to see what else they've done. I listen to a lot of books and am really picky about narrators so I'm amazed to have found one book with three that I found faultless (this is pretty much unheard of in my world ;)
All in all, definitely recommend this book if you're into this genre at all and also if you're not but are willing to give it a go.
I am afraid i have to agree with the reviewer on here that struggled with this book.
It started well and the premise is good but it began to get so far fetched and confusing towards the end of the first narrators chapters that i started to switch off.
I sadly havent finished it and to be honest returned it.
I found Helen Baxendale an excellent narrator, she is easy to listen to which is more than I can say for the books content. The author would have been better off simplifying some of the paths she went down.
Not for me and I was looking forward to listening- quite dissapointed as on the surface was my cup of tea.
Writer and audiobook reviewer.
Helen Callaghan had a good idea for her novel: Margot, a classics teacher who writes an agony aunt column as Dear Amy, starts to receive letters pleading for rescue from Bethan Avery, a girl who had many years before been abducted and had been presumed dead. Coincidentally one of Margot's pupils Katie has disappeared after flouncing off after a family argument and it is thought she too has been kidnapped. This is an intriguing and promising start and for about a third of the download it works well.
Margot is taken over by a criminologist and makes a television appearance in an attempt to re-open the case and find Bethan Avery. It all takes place in Cambridge and the Fens and the sense of place is vivid and effective. Margot is in the middle of an acrimonious divorce and her conflict of emotions is sympathetically and realistically conveyed. But as the plot develops, the story takes a fatal nose dive!
I can't detail the absurd complexities which make up the twists and turns of this outrageously implausible plot without spoiling it for anyone who wants to listen to the story. As each unbelievable strand of plot plays out, it is not credible at any level and completely ruins the story. I listened to the very end to make sure that it did not somehow improve, but the implausibilities multiplied and scenarios became more and more preposterous.
This is a pity because Helen Callaghan is a good writer and she can create a variety of atmospheres, characters and dialogue, and the narrators did their very best. But a psychological thriller - if this is what this is - must make listeners believe in the characters otherwise all is lost - as unfortunately it is here.
Amongst the top 10
Quite a few others. Books need to keep me guessing and not be predictable.
Absolutely splendid from Helen Baxendale. Faultless delivery. She picked up every nuance of the storyline and didn't miss a beat. Rare in an audio book reader unless the reader is the actual writer.
Indeed. I was so sad for Amy.
I defiinately look for this author again and for books read by Helen Baxendale.
This book was great, I was starting to move away from thrillers/crimes but this book has renewed my love for them
I loved the first half of this audio book & was gripped, but found it just went a bit off track & long winded for a while, as if the author was just writing for the sake of filling pages. Still worth a read I guess.
A great, story- really gripping with a fantastic twist. I couldn't 'put it down'. I'm really glad I stumbled upon this one! This is also one of the best performed audiobooks I have listened to.
I have very much enjoyed this book. The story was riveting and it was well read by Helen Baxendale. I will look for more books by this writer.
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