Dear Reader: a letter from Gytha Lodge
I doubt that you know me, but I know something about you. I know that you have a secret, one that you don’t want anyone to know. One that you’ve concealed for a long time now. One you wish you could somehow erase from reality.
I know this because everyone has a secret. Even the most outwardly honest, innately transparent men and women walking this earth have them. Many of us have more than one. I can think of at least one that makes me cringe when I imagine anyone finding it out.
All is discovered…
Conan Doyle loved to tell a story about this. He explained that he had tested the most upright person he knew, or sometimes a whole group of friends, by sending them a simple message saying “All is discovered; flee at once.” And the individual or the friends promptly left town, never to resurface.
The fact that Conan Doyle’s frequently-changing anecdote seems to be based on an older story of a bishop doing this to some of his priests, and a range of other similar stories, may make it less true in its details. I doubt that Conan Doyle ever truly sent a message to anyone. It strikes me, however, as very true in its underlying message.
Everyone is hiding something. The questions we all have to ask are what power that gives others over us, and what else we may end up hiding to save ourselves.
What if your secret had covered up a murder for thirty years?
In She Lies in Wait, a group of teenagers out camping woke up to find that one of their number had vanished during the night. The natural fear for the missing girl was almost matched by fear for themselves. Each and every one of them had done something that night that they were desperate to keep hidden. For one of them, that thing was murder.
Thirty years later, Aurora, the missing girl, is discovered in a place that only those teenagers knew about.
The discovery triggers the start of an investigation. It is Jonah Sheens, once a police constable involved in the search and now a DCI, who has to unpick the secrets and the lies. To find out how this group managed to hide a murder for so long whilst attempting to protect themselves.
But I’ve already told you that everyone has a secret, and this is true for DCI Jonah Sheens, too. His secret is one that touches on the case, perhaps more than is at first apparent. And the question for him then becomes: how deeply can he delve, and still save himself?