Before I Found You by Daisy White
A child found alone on the beach, shouting into the waves.
A mother who served ten years for a crime she says she didn’t commit.
Ruby Baker is back with another seaside mystery. When she and her friends rescue a child from the beach in a storm, police are baffled. Nobody has reported a child missing, and the girl seems so traumatised that she is unable to speak.
In Johnny’s hairdressing salon, the notorious Beverly Collins makes an appointment with Ruby, but it soon becomes clear the woman wants more than a haircut.
Beverly has just been released from Holloway Prison after serving ten years for child cruelty. The body of her missing daughter was never found, but Beverly insists she is innocent, and she wants Ruby Baker’s Investigation Bureau to prove it.
This isn’t going to be an easy investigation. Opinion is divided on Beverly’s innocence. Reporters Kenny and James are keen to uncover a big story, while Ruby’s best friend, Mary, is distracted and struggling to deal with motherhood.
As Ruby tries to unravel the past, she discovers that Beverly Collins’ release seems to have triggered a bizarre chain of events.
Was she really framed, and if so, where is her daughter Ella now? And who is the mystery girl on the beach?
#GuestPost by Daisy White
Crimes on the Coast…
For me, Brighton was an obvious choice to set the Ruby Baker mystery series. This was partly because of my family history – four generations have lived and worked in Brighton, and I have a rich seam of memories to mine in terms of social history. Brighton is a buzzing, multicultural city now, but in 1963, when the Ruby Baker books begin, it was a smaller town, with new development on the horizon.
Setting a mystery book by the sea has major advantages. The writer has easy access via the coast, whether it is the beach, or ports or fishing harbours.
Murderers and victims can move to different countries, and the sea gives a vivid contrast to any criminal doings on land.
The beach was a big draw for Brighton in the early sixties, and my characters spend a lot of time down near the pier, discussing cases, socialising and drinking. With no money to spare, the bars, clubs, ‘fancy restaurants’ and pubs we know today were well beyond the reach of Ruby and her friends. A date was more likely to be a shake and a cigarette at the Milk Bar, or a bag of chips down at Brenda’s, before a walk along the beach.
The seasonal changes of the coast are important, and weather can turn the most placid of settings into a terrifying setting for dramatic rescues and crimes. The sea and coastline feature heavily in all of the Ruby Baker books, starting with Ruby’s dramatic rescue in the first chapter of ‘Before I Found You.’