Review: Elizabeth is Missing (Emma Healey)

Genre: General Fiction

Rating: ★★★★


‘Elizabeth is missing.’ Maud keeps finding notes in her pockets with this message scrawled on it, but she can’t remember writing it. That said, she can’t remember much these days: the time of day, whether she’s eaten lunch, if her daughter’s come to visit, how much toast she’s eaten. Still, the notes about Elizabeth nag at her. When was the last time she spoke with her best friend? It feels like ages ago…

Frustratingly, no one seems willing to help Maud find her: not the police nor Elizabeth’s son – not even Maud’s own daughter or granddaughter. It’s like they’re hiding something.

Maud resolves to take matters into her own hands, and begins digging for the truth. There are many clues, but unhelpfully, they all seem to point to another unsolved disappearance: that of Maud’s sister Sukey just after the war.

Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance lead Maud to the truth about Elizabeth? As Maud’s mind retreats into the past at a frightening pace, alienating her from her family and carers, vivid memories of what happened over fifty years ago come flooding back to give her quest new momentum.


Overall I did enjoy this book. The plot and writing was very good albeit it’s a bit slow at the end and I understand how this has caused some unease among readers, but it wasn’t a crime fiction despite the aura the book gave initially. It’s really just the story of an old woman with Alzheimer’s disease searching for her friend and her long lost sister. The tale itself was melancholic, shifting back and forth to Maud as a young girl to Maud as an old person.

The story is written so beautifully I couldn’t help but feel devastated at that ending. I never expected the ending to be open ended as that. I spent the last few pages reading it while walking home from the train station. I’m surprised I didn’t hit anyone on the way!

Read this book is you have it, it’s truly something beautiful about loss and the beauty of never giving up


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