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by Wendy Hornsby
Perseverance Press, April 2019
241 pages
ISBN: 1564746070

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Documentary filmmaker Maggie MacGowen gets involved in the disappearance of a young girl before starting her new job working at a French television network with her colleague Guido Patrini.

Now living in France with her husband-to-be, Jean-Paul Bernard, Maggie MacCowen is embarking on a new life the 12th volume in this mystery series. Settling in before starting her new job, Maggie is drawn into an investigation of what happened to two young people who disappeared after leaving a school event on Friday night. According to her parents, the girl, Ophelia, did not come home so the police get involved. On Monday, while the boy Ahmed misses school he shows up for a tutoring session with Dr. Ari Massarani, a Syrian refugee, who lives in a small guest house at the back of Jean-Paul's property.

Unfortunately, the underlying racial animosity in this suburb toward refugees results in bullying at the high school where Ophelia protects Ahmed from being hurt. The two become good friends, but Ophelia tells everyone that Ahmed is her boyfriend. That Friday night Ophelia asks Ahmed to walk her to the train station parking lot where he leaves her to get to his weekend job out of town. Due to Ahmed's refugee status, he is immediately a suspect in Ophelia's disappearance.

Maggie reports to her new job the day following Ahmed's re-appearance and discovers the station has access to CCTV footage that validates Ahmed's claim he left Ophelia at the train station. But when Ahmed returns to school he is severely beaten. The school follows up with a student assembly in which the police explain the legal consequences of harassment (aka bullying).

Wendy Hornsby's ability to wrap an entertaining mystery around the complex issues of xenophobia and sexual abuse is impressive. Just as interesting is the way Maggie and Guido adapt to working with new people in a culturally different environment. Hornsby crafts a compelling story and makes dealing with topical issues integral to this mystery.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton’s, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, May 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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