A Stolen Child was a little different than the previous three Maggie D’Arcy books.
There is a big time jump between the last one and this one so Maggie is now completed training to be an Irish police officer, living with her boyfriend, his son and her daughter after spending much of the training apart. They are getting his house renovated so they can buy a new one together. It oddly doesn’t seem to disrupt anyone’s life.
In fact, the book is solely Maggie’s point of view (the others either switched or had passages from the POV of the victim) and she rarely interacts with her family at all. It’s mentioned they took a trip, her daughter is still dating the guy from the last book and Conor has published a history book that is panned but most of the very long book is focused on the case.
I don’t find Maggie to be a particularly nice or even sympathetic person. She routinely dismisses other people’s abilities like that of the man she is walking the beat with—she doesn’t think he’d make a good detective because he isn’t as smart as she is but is a good beat cop—and is constantly inserting herself into a case that has very very little to do with her. She texts the dectectives who are actually working on the case repeatedly when she hears of developments on the news. Let them work! All she did was respond to the call about the victim.
She also latches on to strange details. The victim, Jade, had been a model prior to having her child. After the child was born at some point she formally terminated her modeling contract with the agency. Maggie finds this truly baffling. She goes to the agency and demands to know why Jade hadn’t just said no to jobs or ignored the agency’s calls. Why did she formally end the contract. I don’t know but maybe Jade was behaving professionally? Who ghosts their agency? You tell them you aren’t in the industry anymore and end your contract. That way you aren’t wasting anyone’s time.
I feel like this tells us more about Maggie (and the author??) than adding anything to the mystery. What a weird plot point. It did open up the line of inquiry about Jade’s pay but her sister had already said many chapters earlier there was a weird system in place about that where they didn’t pay her as a teen model but held it in trust. Why didn’t they investigate that? That was a huge red flag and seemed ripe for abuse. Later a photographer tells her that they had heard about the agency not paying photographers. That didn’t make her think something was odd.
But Jade deciding not to be a model anymore and ending her modeling contract what made them look into the agency? It made no sense.
I really enjoyed the (spoiler) idea that the kidnapper dropped the missing toddler off at a daycare while they were outside playing. Very clever.
The mysteries are bad but the real mystery is how Maggie has such high self esteem and anyone can stand to be around her.
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