Gripping Australian Crime: Read an Extract from The Long Shadow by Anne Buist

Gripping Australian Crime: Read an Extract from The Long Shadow by Anne Buist

The baby killer is going to strike again. Soon.

Five women sat looking at me, waiting. I was aware of the shuffles from our children next door, the ticking of a clock that was three hours slow and the hiss of the coffee urn in the kitchenette. And of my hand, holding the note I was supposed to read out, beginning to shake.

It was my first time running a mother–baby therapy group—my first session. My supervisors back in Melbourne would have said: ‘See, Isabel? That’s why you need to interview participants before you take them on.’

Interviews hadn’t been an option. We’d only been in town a week, and Yvonne, the child-health nurse, with the long neck and darting eyes that reminded me of a chicken, hadn’t been available until this morning.

‘I run a group sometimes,’ Yvonne told me when I arrived at the small house that was the town’s child health centre, set in the narrow road behind the main street’s three shops. Her look suggested that it was she who ought to be running this one, not some jumped-up junior psychologist. ‘The GP and I put this lot together for you.’

She’d taken me through the files—three minutes for each of four clients and a quick read of the fifth before we’d been interrupted by the first woman, Sophie, arriving with her son Tom. The Sydney law graduate who had married into the Barclay family—sheep and politics. If she was anxious, as Yvonne had indicated, her smile was masking it well. ‘Is it okay if I call you Issy?’ She didn’t wait for an answer.

Continue reading the extract here

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            Synopsis

            Psychologist Isabel Harris has come to the outback town of Riley because her husband Dean is assessing the hospital—the hub of the community—with a view to closing it down. Isabel, mostly occupied with her toddler, will run a mother–baby therapy group. But on the first day she gets an anonymous note from one of the mothers:The baby killer is going to strike again. Soon.Then a series of small harassments begins.Is it an attempt to warn Dean off? Or could the threat be serious? A child was murdered in Riley once before.As Isabel discovers more about the mothers in her group, she begins to believe the twenty-five-year-old mystery of a baby’s death may be the key to preventing another tragedy.
            Anne Buist
            About the author

            Anne Buist

            Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. She has thirty years’ experience in perinatal psychiatry, and works with the legal system in cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. Her Natalie King: Forensic Psychologist series of thrillers is published by Text.Photo credit Lachlan Woods

            Books by Anne Buist

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