By Emma Healey Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Reviewed by Natalie 4/5 stars
The mystery genre takes up a great deal of space on my bookshelves, and my love of mystery stems back to elementary school when my 4th grade teacher read The Pink Motel (as I’ve mentioned a few times). Typically, I read Agatha Christie’s mysteries along with my fair share of Gothic-style mysteries like Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. Elizabeth Is Missing is #22 on my 2017 book list – a “book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet.” I bought this book, but then read a few others before picking it up. Once I did, I didn’t want to put it down.
But this isn’t your typical mystery. Maud is an unlikely detective. She’s an elderly woman (but not at all like Ms. Marple) who is desperately seeking her friend, Elizabeth, who has disappeared. Can the elderly Maud solve the mystery while her memory is rapidly failing? She jots clues down on countless yellow Post-Its, but her mind struggles to separate present-day clues from the past. Seventy years prior, Maud’s sister Sukey went missing, and she was never found. Maud is haunted by the loss of her sister who by all accounts just left town without leaving word; but as a child, Maud was convinced something dark had happened to Sukey. As she searches for clues related to Elizabeth, she also uncovers clues about Sukey and her disappearance.
Unlike any book I’ve ever read, I felt like I was truly inside Maud’s mind. Sometimes the dialogue in Maud’s head left me feeling like I was in a slight fog. Author Emma Healey seems to be intimately acquainted with memory loss and the struggles of the affected person and his or her family. At times, I did wonder if Maud would actually solve any mystery or if there even was a mystery at all, and that’s partly why I couldn’t put it down. This is an unconventional mystery, with an unconventional plot, and an ending that is absolutely satisfying.
Purchase Elizabeth Is Missing.