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The Other Child by Charlotte Link

The Other Child (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Charlotte Link

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1891762,490 (3.6)2
Title:The Other Child
Authors:Charlotte Link
Info:Orion (2012), Paperback, 400 Seiten

Work details

Das andere Kind: Roman by Charlotte Link (2009)


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English (9)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  All (17)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is a great old-style mystery where you have a new thought for who-dun-it with every twist and turn mixed with the modern-day ideas of divorce, loneliness, psychology, etc.

The only fault that I had, and I know it is really petty, is the main character and I share the same name and so far the same spinsterhood. (there is also something else, but no spoilers here) ( )
  ChewDigest | Sep 12, 2014 |
Within her native Germany Charlotte Link has built a strong reputation as a writer of psychological crime fiction. A concerted effort to break into the English-speaking market got underway in 2012 with the translation of The Other Child, a novel in which the errors of one generation have repercussions that reverberate through later generations.

The setting is the remote, dilapidated Beckett's farm outside the seaside town of Scarborough in Yorkshire. It's inhabited by the lonely, spinsterish Gwen and her taciturn father Chad. Gwen it seems is about to find happiness, though quite why a dishy language teacher wants to marry this ungainly woman with a penchant for shapeless garments, is beyond the understanding of everyone who knows her. Fiona Swales, an old family friend with a particularly sharp tongue, thinks she knows the answer: the bridegroom is really just after the farm. Shortly after she disrupts the engagement party with her accusation, Fiona is found battered to death at the foot of a cliff.

Enter Valerie Almond, an ambitious detective keen to prove she deserves promotion. Her hopes of finding a quick resolution are thwarted because there's more to this crime than at first appears. To solve the crime, Almond has to delve into the past and uncover a secret that's been hidden for more than half a century.

The back story, and the nature of the secret, is revealed in a series of emails written by Fiona to Chad. As an eleven year old during World War 1, Fiona was evacuated from London to the Beckett's farm. Tagging along with her is ‘the other child’, a traumatised orphan whose existence is overlooked by the authorities. But Chad's mother takes him under her wing. loving him and protecting him as if he were her own. Years later something happens to the boy for which Fiona now wants to atone. The two strands of the story are told in alternating episodes although the supposed connections between them don't become apparent until close to the end.

The ending is only one of the issues I had with this book.

While the setting was very credible and the atmosphere of 1940s London was evocative, the characters were so wooden it was hard to summon up enthusiasm or interest for any of them. Far from deserving promotion, Ms Link's woman detective was so inept only immediate demotion to the ranks would seem appropriate. The identity of the murderer was so ridiculously easy to spot that Morse and Rebus would have had the culprit in the clink and be on their third round at the bar before Ms Almond had even formed her first question.

If The Other Child didn't well as a crime novel, it was equally as problematic as a story about emotional scars and feelings of guilt and remorse, of loss and regret. We never enjoyed any access to the inner thoughts of the murderer so the motivation they gave for their crime lacked impact. And while Fiona's feelings of guilt about the past were evident, the fact that these were revealed in emails to a person who already knew her story, was yet another example of how many aspects of this book were so implausible it was hard to take the novel seriously. ( )
1 vote Mercury57 | Jan 11, 2014 |
The Other Child is a thriller and a detective novel. Several murders take place and Detective Valerie Almond is put on the case to find out what happened. But this is more than just a detective novel. This also tells the story of family and friends and how secrets can cause misfortune in other people’s lives or cause events to happen which can change they way a person may view people they have know for a very long time.

While the murders take place currently day there is a secret which two people share that throughout the novel is made known starting with what happened in WWII. This secret deals with ‘the other child’ and what happened to it.

This novel was a interesting to read and there were often times where I almost skipped ahead because I wanted to know what would happen. Would they find out who killed those two people? Who would find out about the secret next and how would they react? Definitely worth a read. ( )
  getrus | Jun 21, 2013 |
So many red herrings! I was constantly wondering who did it and why. Masterfully constructed. It held my interest until the very last page. Imagine. A crime novel set in Yorkshire, England with the dialect correct and originally written in German. I am in awe. ( )
  mstruck | Jun 21, 2013 |
This got a fine review in the New York Times, but proved to be unsatisfying to me, and it's the plot and character development that don't work. The plot is tied to a set of unlikely character decisions that had to be made as they work for the plot to continue. It's one of those 'character makes bad choices that don't really fit the situation' plots - so common in tv shows and movies - in order for the author to go on about the emotional wreckage she makes for her characters. I kept spotting the unlikely choices and being irritated by them; I ended skipping through the book to see how Link worked things without having to spend a lot of time reading. ( )
  arethusarose | Jun 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Charlotte Link, a best-selling author in her native Germany but previously unknown to American readers, has the eerie insight peculiar to writers of psychological suspense. While most of us look at our neighbors and see ordinary people living humdrum lives, they see something dark and menacing beneath the surface. ....Every well-built psychological suspense narrative involves a thorough, methodical dissection of characters we’ve been led to believe we already know. It’s a delicate skill, and authors like Ruth Rendell have made it into something of an art form. In this translation by Stefan Tobler, Link demonstrates the same subtle touch, keeping the reader’s eye trained on Fiona and....

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charlotte Linkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Darneau, DanièleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tobler, StefanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
In het Noord-Engelse kustplaatsje Scarborough wordt het lijk van een studente aangetroffen. Ze is op gruwelijke wijze vermoord. De politie tast volledig in het duister. Maanden later vindt er een tweede moord plaats. De ambitieuze politievrouw Valerie Almond bijt zich in de zaak vast en probeert een verband tussen de moorden te vinden. Haar enige aanknopingspunt is een ruzie binnen de familie van het tweede slachtoffer.
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Investigating two murders that occurred months apart in the quiet seaside town of Scarborough, detective Valerie Almond seeks a connection between the two victims and instead discovers a link to the evacuation of children to Scarborough during World War II.… (more)

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