The Winter Foundlings (click on book or see below for description)
By Kate Rhodes
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was a hang-on-to-the-very-end true mystery if I’ve ever read one. I guess it is the third book in the Alice Quentin series, but I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything not having read the first two. I’m not a series fan, but I can definitely see the draw after (unknowingly) reading a few this year! And I’ll be on the look out for more from Ms. Rhodes.
Alice Quentin is a psychologist and in this book she has signed on for a six-month stint at a high-security hospital (Northwood) housing some of the most dangerous criminals in London. Hoping for some downtime to focus on some research, Alice is soon drawn into a new case. This one involving the abduction and later killing of young girls. Conveniently her new position also helps in the current case, as it seems this latest killer may be continuing (or copying) the killing spree of a high-profile inmate at Northwood, Louis Kinsella. Alice is back and forth between Northwood and London throughout the book working both angles of the case.
The build-up of the book is really well done, but I felt like the ending was really rushed. Like getting to 96% of the book and still not having answers! It was all wrapped up and definitely a surprise, I just found myself wanting more information in the end. But in true mystery sense, I was racking my brain trying to figure out who the killer was throughout the whole story.
And fun fact, The Foundling Museum, referenced throughout the book, and the motivation for the killer (not a spoiler – it’s in the title!) is a real place in London, initially a hospital or home for abandoned children. And now the museum, which Alice visits in the book, pays tribute and holds some items from those children. Fortunately, it does not appear that this rest of the story holds any truth!
The Foundling Hospital Collection spans four centuries and contains paintings, sculpture, prints, manuscripts, furniture, clocks, photographs and ephemera. Some of the most poignant items in the Collection are the foundling tokens. These were pinned by mothers to their baby’s clothes and upon entry, the Hospital would attach them to the child’s record of admission. As foundling babies were given new names, these tokens helped ensure correct identification, should a parent ever return to claim their child. The children were not allowed to keep their tokens, which were frequently everyday objects, such as a coin or button. The Hospital gradually evolved a more sophisticated administrative system, whereby mothers were issued with receipts. So the practice of leaving tokens died out at the beginning of the nineteenth century. (from Foundling Museum website)
I really liked Alice as a character and really experienced the case right along side her. Scared for her at times, but with the utmost respect. There was just the right amount of personal life thrown in with the case that rounded this book out really well.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to preview. Great book, check it out!
Psychologist Alice Quentin has been looking forward to a break from her hectic London life. She has vowed to stay clear of police work. The previous cases she helped the police with have left her scarred. So, when Alice is given the rare opportunity to study treatment methods at Northwood high-security hospital outside of London, she is eager to get to work.
But then a young girl is discovered, dressed all in white, on the steps of the Foundling Museum. Four girls have recently gone missing in North London—this is the third to be found, dead. The fourth may still be alive, and Alice Quentin may be able to help. Britain’s most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, has been locked up in Northwood for over a decade. Yet, these recent kidnappings and murders are clearly connected to Kinsella’s earlier crimes. It seems that someone is continuing where he left off. So, when Detective Don Burns comes asking for Alice’s help, how can she refuse? Alice will do anything to help save a child—even if that means forming a relationship with a charismatic, ruthless murderer. But Kinsella is slow to give away his secrets, and time is running out for the latest kidnap victim, who is simply trying to survive. In her quest to save a life, Alice finds she has put her own life on the line.
The Winter Foundling is Kate Rhode’s exciting thriller featuring Alice Quentin following Crossbones Yard and A Killing of Angels.