The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.9 MB
On the hottest day of the year, Caroline Harvey is found dead in Suffolk. Her body is left draped over a cot – but the baby she was looking after is missing.
Hundreds of miles away, Siobhan Dillon is on a luxurious family holiday in France when her husband, Callum, is arrested by French police on suspicion of murder.
As Siobhan’s perfect family is torn apart by the media in the nation’s frantic search for the missing baby, she desperately tries to piece together how Callum knew Caroline.
What happened that night? Was Caroline as innocent as she seemed – or was she hiding a secret of her own?
There’s barely any signal in this house. We’re all eating dinner out on the terrace, red-flagged stones underneath our feet. It’s our first night in France, where the air is hot and still and the sound of the crickets is constant and deafening. Behind us, the swimming pool glistens, bright blue because of the little robot hoover Maria drops into it every day. It’s a clever little thing that zooms through the water, up and down like one of those uber-mothers at the local leisure centre back home. But Ipswich seems a world away today; Suffolk has nothing in common with the stifling heat of the French coast. The uber-mothers can’t get to me here.
‘Emma, aren’t you going to eat the rest of that mozzarella?’ Callum asks, and I flick my eyes over to my daughter’s plate, surprised to see it virtually untouched. Her appetite usually outstrips mine – oh for the metabolism of a 16-year-old. But she ignores me; she’s playing with her iPhone, shifting it around on the table, trying to pick up 4G.
‘The signal’s crap here, Emma,’ Maria says, ‘that’s why I installed the landline. Before I bought this place, there was nothing, can you believe it?’ She laughs, spears a piece of tuna onto her fork. I cooked it myself, followed an English recipe to the letter. A thank you for having us gesture, I suppose. I don’t like feeling in debt to her, or to anyone.
‘I know you want WiFi, Ems, I’ll sort it for next summer,’ Maria continues. ‘Mmm. This is delicious, S.’
I feel a flicker of pleasure that she, at least, likes the meal. My sister has high standards, which is why, according to our mother, she’s still alone at forty-six. Nobody’s good enough. I don’t broach the subject with Maria any more. I don’t think she likes it. She’s always made me feel as though I am the boring one, choosing marriage and kids over freedom and fun. Never getting my own way. I’m the mistress of my own life, Siobhan, she always tells me. I haven’t met anyone she’s been dating for years, although I don’t doubt there’s at least someone keeping her sheets warm.
Emma shifts in her seat, barely acknowledging Maria, a strand of hair falling slightly over her face. My daughter is wearing a loose, emerald green dress, the kind of thing I could never pull off any more. She and Maria usually get on so well, but tonight nobody is in my daughter’s good books, it seems.
My husband’s gaze falls on me, and I can almost feel him willing me to step in, to snap at her, to cajole her into coming out of whatever latest strop she is in and eat the food on her plate. In this scenario, i.e. an Emma mood, I’m usually the bad cop. But tonight, I’m not going to be. After all, I’m on holiday. And I’ve already cooked the meal, done my bit.