Blog Tour: Read an extract from Close to Home by @CaraHunterBooks

10:48



HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything - or at least that's what they're saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it's someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying...
And that Daisy's time is running out.

Buy the book: UK/ IRE | US 

Read an Extract:

Interview with Fiona Webster, conducted at
11 Barge Close, Oxford
20 July 2016, 7.45 a.m.
In attendance, DC V. Everett

VE: Can you tell us how you know the Masons,
Mrs Webster?
FW: My daughter Megan is in the same class as
Daisy at Kit’s, and Alice is the year above.
VE: Kit’s?
FW: Sorry – Bishop Christopher’s. Everyone round
here just calls it Kit’s. And we’re
neighbours, of course. We lent them the
gazebo for the party.
VE: So you’re friends?
FW: I wouldn’t say ‘friends’ exactly. Sharon
keeps herself to herself. We talk at the
school gate, like you do, and sometimes I
go jogging with her. But she’s far more
disciplined about it than I am. She goes
every morning, even in the winter, after
she drops off the kids at school. She’s
worried about her weight – I mean she
hasn’t actually said so, but I can tell. We
had lunch once in town – more by accident
than anything - we bumped into each other
outside that pizza place on the High Street
and she couldn’t really say no. But she ate
next to nothing – just picked at a salad –
VE: So she doesn’t work, then, if she runs in
the mornings?
FW: No. I think she did once, but I don’t know
what. It’d drive me mad, being stuck indoors
all day, but she seems totally absorbed in
the kids.
VE: So she’s a good mum?
FW: I remember all she talked about at that
lunch was what great marks Daisy had got
for some test or other, and how she wants
to be a vet, and did I know which
university would be best for that.
VE: So a bit of a pushy parent?
FW: Between you and me, Owen – my husband –
can’t stand her. You know that phrase about
sharp elbows? He says she has scythes. But
personally I don’t think you can blame
anyone for wanting the best for their kids.
Sharon’s just a bit more obvious about it
than most of us. In fact I think the Masons
came here in the first place for the
schools. I don’t think they can afford to go
private.
VE: These houses aren’t exactly cheap . . .
FW: No, but I just get the feeling things are a
bit tight.
VE: Do you know where they lived before?
FW: Somewhere in South London, I think. Sharon
never talks much about the past. Or her
family. To be honest I’m a bit confused why
you want to know all this – aren’t you
supposed to be out there looking for Daisy?
VE: We have teams of officers searching the
area and checking local CCTV. But the more
we know about Daisy, and the family, the
better. You never know what might prove to
be significant. But let’s talk more about
last night. What time did you arrive?
FW: Just after seven. We were one of the
first. The invite said 6.30 for 7, and I
think Sharon had actually expected people
to come at half past. She was really on
edge when we got there. I think she might
have been worried no one would turn up.
She’d gone to huge trouble about it all – I
told her, everyone would have been happy to
pitch in and bring stuff, but she wanted to
do everything herself. It was all laid out
on the tables in the garden, under cling
film – that stuff is so horrible, don’t you
think, I mean -
VE: You said she was on edge?
FW: Well, yes, but only about the party. She was
fine later, once it got going.
VE: And Barry?
FW: Oh, Baz was the life and soul, as usual.
He’s always very sociable – always finds
something to say. I’m sure the party was his
idea. And he dotes on Daisy – the usual
dads and daughters thing. He’s always
picking her up and carrying her about on
his shoulders. She did look very sweet in
that flower get‑up.
It’s sad when they grow
out of the dressing‑up
phase – I wanted
Alice to wear fancy dress last night but
she point-
blank
refused. She’s only a year
above Daisy but now it’s all crop tops and
trainers.
VE: You must know Barry Mason pretty well?
FW: I’m sorry?
VE: You called him ’Baz’.
FW: [laughs] Oh Lord, did I say that? I know
it’s awful, but that’s what we call them,
well some of us. ‘Baz ’n’ Shaz’. Short for
Barry and Sharon, you know? But for God’s
sake don’t tell Sharon I called her that –
she absolutely hates it – blew her top once
when someone let it slip out by mistake.
VE: But Barry doesn’t mind?
FW: Seems not to. But he’s pretty easy-
going.
More so than her. Not that that’s difficult.
VE: So when did you last see her - Daisy?
FW: I’ve been racking my brains about that.
I think it was just before the fireworks.
There were lots of little girls running
about all night. They were having a whale
of a time.
VE: And you didn’t see anyone talking to her –
or anyone you didn’t recognize?
FW: There weren’t many people there I didn’t
know. I think they were all from the
estate. At least, I don’t remember anyone
from the other side.
VE: The other side?
FW: You know. Over the canal. The posh lot. You
don’t get them slumming it over here very
much. But in any case, as far as I remember
Daisy spent the whole time with her friends.
Adults are pretty dull when you’re that age.
VE: And your husband – Owen? Was he there?
FW: Why do you want to know that?
VE: We just need to know where everyone was –
FW: Are you suggesting Owen had something to do
with it, because I can tell you right now –
VE: Like I said, we just need to know who
everyone was at the party.
[pause]
It’s possible we may have found the tights
Daisy was wearing. Do you remember if she
still had them on when you last saw her?
FW: I’m sorry, I really can’t remember.
VE: And she didn’t fall over or hurt herself at
the party, as far as you saw?
FW: No, I’m sure I’d have remembered that. But
why do you ask that – what difference does
it make?
VE: There was blood on the tights, Mrs Webster.
We’re trying to find out how it got there.
* * *
At 8.30 I’m in the car, parked round the corner in
Waterview Crescent, which is definitely one notch up
on the property pecking order – three-
storey
townhouses,
and even, would you believe, a couple of stone
lions on plinths at the entrance. I’m eating a pasty
someone has brought over from the petrol station on
the main road. I can feel my arteries clog just looking at
it. But there’s a press conference scheduled for ten, and
if I don’t eat anything I’m going to be light-
headed.
And while I’m at it, the car is a Ford. In case you’re
wondering. And I don’t do bloody crosswords either.
There’s a tap on the driver’s window and I wind it
down. It’s DC Everett. Verity, her name is – I told
her once, with a name like that she was destined for
this job. And she won’t give up looking for it either –
the truth, I mean. Don’t let that stolid appearance
fool you – she’s one of the most ruthless officers I’ve
ever had.
‘What is it? What did Fiona Webster have to say?’
‘Plenty, but this isn’t about that. The old dear at number
thirty-
six.
She saw something. A couple of minutes
after eleven, she says. She’s sure because she was about
to phone the council nuisance line about the noise.’
I remember what Sharon Mason said about people.


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