cover image Mother Love

Mother Love

Maureen Carter. Severn/Crème de la Crime, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-008-9

Birmingham Det. Insp. Sarah Quinn, introduced in 2011’s A Question of Despair, returns to tackle the abductor of teacher Olivia Kent in a muddled case. A taunting note delivered to Det. Chief Supt. Fred Baker suggesting its anonymous author has Kent at his mercy prompts a cursory investigation that determines Kent is indeed missing and has been for five days. The incomplete and contradictory portrait of Kent that emerges—from interviews with her mother, Elizabeth; her best friend, reporter Caroline King; and a fellow teacher, Jill Paige—complicates Quinn’s job. King and Quinn have a history that makes conflict inevitable, but circumstances force the two to cooperate. The interplay between Quinn and Baker and with her subordinates is well done, but Carter introduces too many unexpected variables and leaves too much unexplained to make for a satisfying whole. (Feb.)