Dear Amy – Helen Callaghan


Published on 16th June 2016 by Michael Joseph and available here


In her guise as ‘Dear Amy’, agony aunt for a local newspaper, Margot Lewis has dealt with all sorts of letters – but never one like this…

Dear Amy,

I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man.
I don’t know where I am.

Please help me,
Bethan Avery

This must be a cruel hoax. Because Bethan Avery has been missing for nearly two decades.

But as the present-day search intensifies for another missing schoolgirl, Margot is unnerved enough to take the letter to the police, hoping they will dismiss it as a sick joke.

Instead, they let Margot in on a little secret. One that confirms her darkest fears and tangles her up in the search for the sender, which could save one young girl’s life and cost Margot her own…

My thoughts

Oh I LOVED this! It is a dark missing child story, that is clever and a little bit different!

Margot is a teacher, with a part time hobby as an agony aunt ‘Dear Amy’ for a newspaper. One day, she gets a mysterious letter from a Bethan Avery asking for help. The only thing is the girl went missing in the 1990s and no one has heard of her since. Margot is convinced that the letter is genuine. Local teenager Katie Brown goes missing, in the present day. We follow Margot, as she searches for answers and for the two missing girls. How are the two kidnapped missing teenagers, Bethan Avery and Katie Brown connected?

I raced through this, utterly entranced by Margot. We find out a great deal about Margot, at the beginning. She is caring, yet has been through a great deal with anxiety and a past breakdown. She is divorcing her husband. We see her getting her teeth into the Bethan Avery case and being concerned for the fate of her student Katie Brown. The strength of this is that we start to understand Margot and what makes her tick. As she gets deeper into the mystery aided by Martin, a Criminologist investigating the historical Bethan Avery case, we start to see what is going on. The past unravels and the twist makes absolute perfect sense. Helen Callaghan cleverly only hints at the horrors suffered by Bethan and Katie.

This is a story of trauma, of kidnapping and of survival. It is one of hope. No one could leave the book, without some kind of sense about the nightmare Bethan Avery has been party to. Worth a read, if you want a psychological story with depth. Recommended.


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Dear Amy – Helen Callaghan

  1. crimeworm says:

    I looked at this the other day and was swithering over reading it…I think I should just wait until Cleo or you read a book and then I’ll know if I’ll like it or not, as our tastes chime so much! I think I’ll read this, but when, I don’t know, given I’m doing 20 Books Of Summer, then I’ve promised to promote a few for Bloody Scotland! It’s a fabulous lineup, I wish you were coming! Plus this year they’re just giving press passes to get you into anything, but it’ll mean some tough decisions, as will who to interview, but I’m crap at that! I get starstruck and can never think of questions! Anyway, when do you start work?

  2. Pingback: Everything is Lies – Helen Callaghan #EverythingIsLies | #northern #crime

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