Belle Hatton has embarked upon an exciting new life far from home: a glamorous job as a nightclub singer in 1930s Burma, with a host of sophisticated new friends and admirers. But Belle is haunted by a mystery from the past – a 25 year old newspaper clipping found in her parents’ belongings after their death, saying that the Hattons were leaving Rangoon after the disappearance of their baby daughter, Elvira.
Belle is desperate to find out what happened to the sister she never knew she had – but when she starts asking questions, she is confronted with unsettling rumours, malicious gossip, and outright threats. Oliver, an attractive, easy-going American journalist, promises to help her, but an anonymous note tells her not to trust those closest to her. . .
Belle survives riots, intruders, and bomb attacks – but nothing will stop her in her mission to uncover the truth. Can she trust her growing feelings for Oliver? Is her sister really dead? And could there be a chance Belle might find her?
Belle is a brave, independent young woman, making her own way in the world, following her father’s death. After a comfortable but not very happy childhood she is curious about the mother who left her and a sister she never knew. Her story is told against the dangerous political undercurrent of colonial Burma in a pre-war world about to disappear. While apparently protected by the British authorities, Belle has little sympathy for their autocratic attitudes and she is determined to discover the truth about her sister, even when it means taking a hazardous voyage up country, along the Irrawaddy river.
I knew very little about the history of Burma, now Myanmar, so I found the descriptions of the old mansions in Rangoon and the golden pagodas on the hills near Mandalay, fascinating. Belle’s story is interwoven with that of Diana, her mother, in the 1920s, so we also try to solve the mystery of baby, Elvira. As we read of Diana’s gradual estrangement from her husband, the parallel tale of Belle and American journalist, Oliver, suggests a happier fate, but misunderstandings and a plot to silence Belle, could destroy any hope of a happy ending.
Once again, Miss Jefferies has written a compelling eastern tale of mystery and romance, which I highly recommend.
The Missing Sister can be found on Amazon UK
My review of The Separation by By Dinah Jefferies is here