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by Katherine Farrer
Rue Morgue Press, October 2004
190 pages
ISBN: 0915230720

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Inspector Richard Ringwood is attempting to spend some time with his fiancee Claire Liddicote. She lives in Oxford and is spending some extra time studying even though she has already obtained her degree. This idyllic vacation is interrupted by a request from the local police. Perdita Link is the daughter of John Link a professor at Oxford. She is a four-month-old baby and has been stolen from her pram. As Ringwood went to school with John Link, he feels an obligation to assist in the investigation.

Now the Links are raising their daughter in a manner that seems rather neglectful to the modern reader. The Links do not want any unhealthy influence placed on their daughter. Therefore, they are not coddling her, or spending much time with her. Perdita is not held except at certain times of the day and is otherwise ignored. They leave her to entertain herself out of their sight. This type of behavior makes it very easy for the child to be taken from her pram, which was in the front yard with no caretaker in evidence.

While Richard Ringwood and Claire Liddicote disagree with this form of parenting, they are both concerned with finding the missing child. There are many strange tangents that distract and confuse them. In fact, they have to track down a gypsy band, some foreigners, and a missing nanny as well as have several side adventures. One can only hope that the child will be found quickly and quietly.

THE MISSING LINK is an unusual book. Mysteries that were written in the 1950s have a very different feel from a contemporary mystery. One of the biggest differences is that older books typically are shorter and have a lot of action condensed into a fast moving book. While this characteristic is true of THE MISSING LINK, the characters and behaviors were strange. At times, it felt as though Farrer included elements or characters simply to amuse rather than their assistance with the plot. While the gypsies were entertaining, nothing they said was important to the general plot.

THE MISSING LINK is the first book in the Richard Ringwood trilogy.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, January 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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