Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing is an very strong debut novel by Emma Healey. It is written from Maud’s point of view, an 82 year old who is losing her memory and/or in the early stages of dementia (we are never told exactly). She is convinced that her friend Elizabeth has gone missing, but her attempts to solve the mystery are halted by her memory loss. However, the memories of another mystery from earlier in her life, the disappearance of her sister Sukey when Maud was a teenager, are much clearer, but inevitably get muddled with her present thoughts.

The strength of this novel is the writing. It is often uncomfortable and sometimes upsetting to be inside the mind of someone who’s short term memory has all but disappeared, and I felt so sorry for Maud. The two mysteries are initially very gripping but unfortunately when they are solved at the end for me it was a bit of anticlimax. Without giving too much away, I felt some characters were built up to be more important than they actually were. However, it is a gripping and excellently written novel, and well worth a read.

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