Hush Little Baby by Jane Isaac – extract

Jane Isaac’s novels include The Other Woman and For Better, For Worse, featuring DC Beth Chamberlain, An Unfamiliar Murder, The Truth Will Out and A Deathly Silence featuring DCI Helen Lavery and Before It’s Too Late, Beneath the Ashes and The Lies Within featuring DI Will Jackman. The latest Chamberlain novel, Hush Little Baby, was published by Aria in ebook on 23 July 2020.

Today I have an extract to share.

‘Who would kill a young child and entomb them in concrete?’ Nick said.

‘Someone that didn’t want the remains to be found,’ Beth said. ‘If the concrete hadn’t been disturbed, it might never have been discovered.’ The action implied planning and the thought that somebody had gone to such meticulous lengths to dispose of a child’s body was gut-wrenching. She switched from one photo to another, her gaze resting on a tarnished bracelet on its wrist.

‘Who owned the land before it was sold?’ she asked.

‘It was part of Moreton’s farm. Pete’s gone straight out to see the farmer this morning.’

Beth nodded approvingly. DC Pete Winston was the youngest officer on the team and what he lacked in experience, he made up for with abundant enthusiasm. He’d ask the right questions.

‘Hunter’s called in a specialist forensic anthropologist/archaeologist to be sure,’ Freeman said, ‘but the concrete isn’t pitted or weathered which we might expect if it had been exposed to the elements. She believes the body could have buried for some time.’

‘So, we’re looking at an historical case,’ Nick said.

‘It’s possible. Hunter reckons it could have been there a number of years.’

Beth stared at the remains. ‘Surely it would be dust and bones by now.’

‘Without further tests it’s difficult to say how long the child’s been there or how it died. Hunter dealt with a case when she worked in the Met – a man’s head found in concrete. It was discovered at the bottom of a reservoir, eight years after he was reported missing, and preserved. The water hadn’t penetrated the concrete. Given the state of the limbs on show and the smell emitting from the body – I’m told rapid decomposition starts as soon as it’s exposed to the air – Hunter thinks this body may have been preserved in a similar way.’

‘Babies and young infants don’t disappear,’ Nick said. ‘Not without a fuss.’

Freeman passed him a knowing look. ‘We’ve only got one outstanding case listed in our area.’ He pointed at the bangle. ‘And this does give me cause for concern.’

He pulled out another photo. ‘We’ve enlarged the bangle to show the detail.’

Beth peered in closer at the tarnished silver, noting a tiny rabbit symbol on the edge.

‘You’re not suggesting it’s Alicia Owen?’ Nick said, incredulous.

Shocked faces looked back at the board. Three-month-old Alicia Owen disappeared from her pram outside a supermarket, fifteen years earlier. She was believed to have been abducted, although no ransom note was ever forthcoming, and she was never found. The story rocked the residents of Northamptonshire to the core and when the days after her disappearance stretched into weeks and months, panicky parents set up a ‘Keep our children safe’ poster campaign urging people to be extra vigilant around infants. Beth had only been sixteen at the time, but she still remembered the black and white photos of Alicia’s discarded pram plastered across the newspapers.

About the Book

Someone stole a baby…

One sunny day in July, someone took three-month-old Alicia Owen from her pram outside a supermarket. Her mother, Marie, was inside. No one saw who took Alicia. And no one could find her.

They silenced her cry…

Fifteen years later, a teenager on a construction site sees a tiny hand in the ground. When the police investigate, they find a baby buried and preserved in concrete. Could it be Alicia?

But the truth will always out.

When Alicia disappeared, the papers accused Marie of detachment and neglect. The Owens never got over the grief of their child’s disappearance and divorced not long after. By reopening the case, DC Beth Chamberlain must reopen old wounds. But the killer may be closer than anyone ever suspected…

About the Author

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire, UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers. You can reach her via her website at http://www.janeisaac.co.uk Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.

Follow Jane:

Facebook: @JaneIsaacAuthor

Twitter: @JaneIsaacAuthor

Website: www.janeisaac.co.uk

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