Crime: The Nanny at Number 43
The tagline of Nicola Cassidy's novel - "Be careful who you let into your home" - says it all. Set in the late 19th Century, the book opens with the discovery of the bodies of twin babies buried in a cottage garden in Dublin. Meanwhile in Drogheda, a prim young woman with seemingly impeccable references takes up the position of nanny to a baby girl, Anna Genevieve Thomas, whose mother died in childbirth. And while she seems to know what she's about, there's something about this nanny that just doesn't wash with the Thomas family's housekeeper, Mrs McHugh.
Back in Dublin, following post-mortem examinations which reveal the babies were poisoned, Dublin Metropolitan Police decide to exhume the body of the infants' father who died unexpectedly some weeks previously.
When it emerges that he too was poisoned, a search is mounted for the man's widow who sold the cottage following her husband's death and promptly disappeared.
Meanwhile, back in Drogheda, with her charge sleeping soundly almost 24/7, the nanny has turned her attention to the infant's father. As he gradually falls for her charms, the housekeeper confides her concerns to her friend Betty who once ran a pub in Drogheda frequented by ladies of the night.
When Betty subsequently spots the nanny, it triggers a memory she'd sooner forget...
Cassidy (pictured) was inspired to write this book by an old newspaper advert seeking "a respectable woman to take charge of a motherless child". I thought, what if the woman turning up wasn't respectable at all?"
From such musings a nanny emerges to chill the blood and set pulses racing in this thoroughly gripping and entertaining tale.