The Accusation by Wendy James
English | 2019 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB |1.8 Mb
The Accusation : A bizarre abduction. A body of damning evidence. A world of betrayal.
Eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is found shivering and barely conscious on a country road, clad only in ill-fitting pyjamas. Her story of kidnap and escape quickly enthrals the nation: a middle-aged woman with a crazy old mother has held Ellie in a basement, chained her to a bed and given her drinks from an old baby’s sippy cup. But who was this woman and what did she want with Ellie? And what other secrets might she hide?
When the accusation is levelled at local teacher Suzannah Wells, no one seems more bewildered than Suzannah herself … to start with. The preposterous charge becomes manifestly more real as she loses her job and her friends. And the evidence is strong: a dementia-affected mother, a house with a basement, a sippy cup that belonged to her long-dead daughter. And Ellie Canning’s DNA everywhere. As stories about Susannah’s past emerge, even those closest to her begin to doubt she’s innocent.
And Ellie? The media can’t get enough of her. She’s a girl-power icon, a social-media star. But is she telling the truth?
A powerful exploration of the fragility of trust, and the power of suggestion, from the author of The Golden Child and The Mistake.
“His companion stamped her feet. Her nose and cheeks were pink. ‘It’s a bit on the chilly side out here, ma’am. Do you think we might come in? It won’t take long. Just some routine inquiries.’
‘Routine inquiries, my arse. The last time a pig told me—’
‘Of course. Please come through.’
The officers paused in the entrance as Mary flounced off down the dark hallway, muttering. From behind, her silvery hair caught up in a loose topknot, long dressing gown trailing elegantly along the carpet, she looked like a Grande Dame in some Edwardian costume drama.
‘Alzheimer’s?’ the female officer whispered, her eyes all empathy, understanding.
‘Actually, it’s—’ I began to explain, then changed my mind, shrugged. ‘Yes. It’s something like that.’
In the kitchen the two officers introduced themselves as Detective Inspector Stratford and Senior Constable Moorhouse, then stood awkwardly until I offered them a seat and a cup of tea. They declined the tea, but sat down. Constable Moorhouse took off her hat and eased out of her leather jacket. Her shirt gaped where a button was missing, and lacy white nylon underwear peeked through. Mary perched up on the kitchen bench, and although the true condition of her ancient polar-fleece dressing gown was now revealed in all its stained and threadbare glory, she still maintained an air of haughty disdain. The officers watched her warily.
‘Will this take long?’ I hovered, uncertain. ‘I should probably ring work first. I’m already running late.’
‘You’re the drama teacher, aren’t you?’ Constable Moorhouse asked. ‘At the high school?’
‘I am. And I have a Year Eight class first up – they’ll need to arrange a replacement.’
‘Year Eight, eh? That’d be my daughter’s year. I don’t envy you working with that lot.’ She grinned, began to say something, but was interrupted by her boss.
‘Probably best if you let them know – we’ll be as quick as we can, but you’re definitely going to be late”