‘a fast paced thriller. The author is a good storyteller, keeping the suspense throughout.’ [Invisible]


I wish I’d thought of that

Posted on Mar 7, 2015 in Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey | 4 Comments

Elizabeth-is-Missing-final-UK-cover-copy‘”You used to meet Dad here, didn’t you?”

I look around the room . . . “Elizabeth is missing,” I say.

“When it was the Chophouse. For lunch.”

“Her phone rings and rings.”

“The Chophouse. Remember? Oh never mind.”

Helen sighs. She’s doing a lot of that lately . . .  I know what she is thinking. That I’ve lost my marbles, that Elizabeth is perfectly well at home and I just don’t remember having seen her recently. But it’s not true. I forget things – I know that – but I’m not mad. Not yet.’

In Emma Healey’s ingenious crime novel, Elizabeth is Missing, Maud is suffering from dementia, and it is by no means clear that Elizabeth really is missing. Through no fault of her own Maud is the ultimate unreliable narrator. There are huge gaps in her recent memory and yet events of seventy years ago when her sister disappeared are recalled in brilliant detail.

It’s a great idea, but an idea isn’t enough: it has to be well executed and this one is. We witness Maud’s increasing and painful confusion in the present as she slowly unravels the events of the past. The novel is gripping, sad, very well written and cleverly plotted – and, yes, I wish I’d thought of it!


  1. Tracybham
    March 7, 2015

    I don’t think I can read something like this featuring dementia having just experienced dementia in my parents. I wonder how many other readers are affected that way or if it is written in such a way that I could handle it. Maybe in a few years.

    • Christine Poulson
      March 8, 2015

      I read it because it was chosen by my book group, otherwise I would have given it a miss. We haven’t had parents who were affected that way, but even so, this is not an easy read. It is very well done, but still . . . perhaps you would find it hard. I remember reading that the novel was inspired by the writer’s own grandmother who had dementia.

  2. moira @ Clothes in Books
    March 14, 2015

    You’re the second person to recommend this one within a few days, so I’m going to have to give it a try.


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