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Sophie Hannah’s 'Perfect Little Children' a not-so-perfect mystery

Beth Leeson, the heroine of bestselling mystery writer Sophie Hannah’s new novel, “Perfect Little Children” (William Morrow, 328 pp., ★★ out of four), does not know the meaning of “mind your own business.”

On her way to drop her son Ben off at a soccer match, Beth cruises by the McMansion of her old friend, Flora Braid. She’s just curious. The Braid and Leeson families used to be intertwined. But when Lewis Braid, Flora’s brash and controlling husband, inherited millions, the Braids moved up in the world. Beth and Flora had a falling out, and the former besties have not spoken in 12 years.

Peering beyond the gates, Beth spies a distressed looking Flora and two children — but how can this be? Flora’s kids, Emily and Thomas, appear to be frozen in time. Not teenagers, as Beth’s son and daughter are now, but 3 and 5, as they were when Beth used to know them. And where is the third child, little Georgina, whose birth came as such a surprise to Beth? What friend doesn’t tell her closest pal that she is expecting?

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