cover image The Lindbergh Nanny

The Lindbergh Nanny

Mariah Fredericks. Minotaur, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-82740-1

Betty Gow, a 26-year-old Scottish immigrant and Lindbergh family nanny, narrates this poignant crime novel from Fredericks (the Jane Prescott series), which fictionalizes the 1932 kidnapping of 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh Jr. from the family’s New Jersey home. Though many idolize Betty’s employer, aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, she’s unimpressed by the odd, arrogant man. Still, she likes his wife, heiress Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and adores the couple’s son, Charlie. When Charlie disappears from his nursery after Betty leaves a window open, she hopes Mr. Lindbergh is pranking her; he has, after all, jokingly hidden the baby before. A ransom note confirms otherwise, however, making Betty a person of interest. Desperate to recover Charlie and exonerate herself, Betty begins scrutinizing everyone she knows, from the staff at the Morrow estate to her new boyfriend. The pacing is uneven, with an overlong setup and a rushed denouement, but Fredericks creates suspense for even those familiar with the case by suggesting the real-life culprit had accomplices, thus rendering everyone a suspect. Betty’s distress and distrust are palpable, heightening anxiety. Historical mystery fans and true crime aficionados will be well pleased. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Nov.)