By S G Bryant

I love a good mystery. Especially a murder mystery. But in the mystery book ‘Taken In’ by S G Bryant there is no murder. Or is there? A baby boy has gone missing, and from the clues given we are not sure whether he was adopted, or what really happened.

Set in Melbourne in the late 19th century, a school teacher Effie Davis, takes care of a week old baby boy, supposedly abandoned, for several minutes in the Boarding House where she is living. The landlady, Mrs Wilson, seems to be a nasty piece of work, and there is some suggestions she might be involved in baby farming, a shocking practice prominent in the Victorian news during the late1890s. When the baby’s mother turns up for the child there is a huge altercation between her and Mrs Wilson. Effie and a fellow teacher Michael Standish, offer their help to find out what has happened to the little boy, Alfie, who is now missing.

Mrs Windsor says she has taken Alfie to the Victorian Infant’s Asylum, and it would seem the young child was adopted. But too many strange things happen, making Effie believe there is foul play afoot. And foul play there is, which leads to murder and mayhem and more and more intrigue.

Effie is not only a school teacher at Merton Hall for Girls, which eventually became Melbourne Girl’s Grammar, she is involved with the suffragette movement and the author Simon G Bryant gives us a detailed account of well-known figures and demonstrations taking place at that time.

This book is a good read. It takes one through a journey of wondering what is going to happen next and guessing whether the goodie is a baddy or vice versa. I thoroughly enjoyed Effie’s introduction to Australian Rules football, and the journeys around St. Kilda and Toorak in the handsome cabs added to the era. There’s even a romance involved.

If you enjoy reading murder mysteries you cannot go past ‘Taken In’ by Canberran author Simon G Bryant.

Reviewed by Julie Finch-Scally November 2019

Title Taken In
Author S G Bryant
Publisher Border Books
ISBN 978-0-6480375-2-1