Silence is not always golden

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 23-Nov-2017

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On public transport, it’s generally expected that passengers will keep to themselves: that they will behave discreetly, mind their own business and not interfere in the conversations of those around them.

Sometimes, however, the worst thing a fellow traveller can do is to do nothing at all.

When florist Ella Longfield encounters an unexpected and decidedly discomforting situation on an inter-regional train bound for London, her first instinct is to intervene. 

Sitting nearby, Ella overhears an approach being made to Cornish schoolgirls Anna and Sarah by two young men, Antony and Karl, who soon reveal that they have just been released from prison and are determined to make the most of their first night of freedom.

As the mother of a teenager of her own, Ella is immediately alarmed. 

Should she speak directly to the girls, she wonders, or instead bide her time until the train reaches its destination, then try to telephone one of the families back home in Cornwall? 

Surely these friends from far southwestern Britain cannot be allowed to head off into the city alone with these men?

Having observed them further, however, Ella eventually thinks better of interfering and decides to keep her concerns to herself, simply heading directly to her hotel after the long trip and quickly falling asleep.

When she wakes the following day she is sickened to hear that Anna, the more attractive, seemingly more reserved of the pair, has disappeared.

Is Ella somehow responsible for this? Did her inactivity allow two men with criminal records free reign to prey on these unsuspecting country girls?

Teresa Driscoll’s chilling tale of regret, consequence and deception is told through the eyes of four people with direct involvement in the case: the witness, the missing girl’s father, a private investigator and the remaining friend.

– Rosalea Ryan

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