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Girl Number One    by Jane Holland order for
Girl Number One
by Jane Holland
Order:  USA  Can
Thomas & Mercer, 2016 (2016)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Ellie Blackwood, age twenty-four, finds a body in Eastlyn Woods in the exact place where her mother was murdered when Ellie was a child. Only when she reports the body and the police investigate, there is no body or any indication that there ever was a body.

Realistically the police might have reason to think she's unbalanced. Why would Ellie take a run in the woods on the anniversary of her mother's death? Even her dad doesn't believe she found a body. Of course, her dad has had few sober days since his wife's death. Fortunately, Ellie has friends who believe in her.

When the police refuse to take her seriously, Ellie returns to the woods with her childhood friend, Tris, and together they come up with a possible explanation of how the body was stolen away before the police arrived. While verifying their theory they come up with a second body. This time, foolishly, Ellie refuses to leave the body until the police show up.

Set in Cornwall, not far from the coast, Ellie's village has a foot in the past and the present. I especially liked the mention of the Jamaica Inn made famous by Daphne du Maurier's classic novel published in 1936. Ellie and her friend Connor have lunch there.

The disappearing body and Ellie's past as the daughter of an unsolved murder victim pull the reader in adroitly. Her willingness to suspect her friends comes a little too quickly to be realistic to me, but that's just a small bump in a good story with a skillful and satisfying plot.

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