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A Baby’s Bones
Sage Westfield Series #1
BY Rebecca Alexander

Titan Books
1 May 2018/ ISBN 9781785656217

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Archaeologist Sage Westfield is digging in an old well on the Isle of Wight when she finds two skeletons. One is probably a woman, but the other is of a tiny baby. There are legends of witches and ghosts in the area, and the well’s owners are convinced that their cottage is haunted. Even the vicar is having frightening phone calls, and then a modern murder takes place which is oddly similar to the historical mystery.

This book will probably appeal to readers who enjoy mysteries with historical links made popular by writers like Kate Ellis and Elly Griffiths. Sage must juggle several personal problems as well as trying to keep on top of the excavations and solve the mysteries. These include her advancing pregnancy, rocky relationship with the baby’s married father, her mother’s revelations and her feelings for the vicar. There is a fair amount going on most of the time but this is a very long novel and it could have benefited from some editing. The slow pace means that much of the momentum is lost as things get more serious and what could have been exciting has a stretched feel instead. Interspersed between the contemporary events is the older story dealing with the 16th century murders. Lord Banstock’s steward (and illegitimate half brother) Vincent Garland tells of the impending marriage between his master’s daughter Viola and the mysterious alchemist Seabourne. Also involved is a beautiful French seamstress who is unmarried yet having somebody’s baby, the violent protests of the vicar’s sister and various problems relating to the political and religious climate of the times. Parallels are drawn between the people, places and events of past and present, with two suitably thrilling denouements. Is this a story of the supernatural? You can make up your own mind about a few things but mostly this will appeal to readers of mysteries.

Reviewers Note: Among the murder victims is a cat

Reviewed 2018