Elizabeth is missing
written by Emma Healey, published by Penguin
genre fiction, 275 pages
The title and cover of this book immediately triggered my imagination. Both suggest there’ll be an adventure and probably the solving of a mystery. Having read the book I can say that I was absolutely right!
The story in short
Despite her failing memory, eighty two years-old Maud is sure about one thing; Elizabeth is missing. Ignoring the discouragement from her surroundings, Maud can’t let go of the nagging feeling that something’s totally wrong and keeps on looking for her friend. Even her forgetting sometimes what she’s looking for – she finds herself at a police station or in a newspaper’s office not knowing how she got there in the first place – doesn’t stop her from her quest to find back her best friend.
Maud’s confused mind keeps mixing up reality with memories and makes it quite hard to keep track of what is really going on. A very strange sensation, painful even at times, especially on moments when she realizes she must have done something wrong or asked the exact same question over and over again.
“When the woman turns back I look at her face properly.
The tears have been wiped away. It’s Helen.
The seat seems to tilt under me. It’s my daughter, Helen.
I’ve been sitting in a bus shelter with her, not knowing who she was.”
During her search for Elizabeth, another mystery comes to the surface; a case that has been unsolved for many decades and kept Maud and her family occupied for years. Somewhere the answers lie hidden inside Maud’s confused memories and bit by bit pieces start falling into place. Will Maud find back her friend and on the way solve another mystery, or will it all be lost forever…
Why you should read this book
‘Elizabeth is missing’ is a very humorous, engaging, but also confusing story. You just have to keep reading because you want to know what really happend; what happend to Elizabeth and what has happened many decades ago.
On top of the mysteries that have to be solved, the difficulties Maud has to face because of her condition, really gave me a good impression of what it must be like for some of my loved ones who also struggle with failing memories. All in all I think ‘Elizabeth is missing’ is an excellent story; touching, fun and even educational.
“I feel in my pockets for notes, but there’s nothing there,
just a few threads and emptiness. I’ve no notes at all.
The lack makes me feel sick; I’m cut loose and whirling about in the wind.
I wring the fabric of my coat, scrunching up and down in panic.
And then, inside the ripped lining, I find one small blue square with my writing on it:
Where is Elizabeth?”