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Elizabeth is Missing

by Emma Healey

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Loved it! This is no crime story with a battered DI leading the investigation. The central character is Maud, an 82 widow who is suffering from dementia. Maud struggles with her memory, finding herself in black holes where she can’t remember where she is or why she is there. She has pockets full of notes that she has written to remind her of things – not to cook, not to buy peaches. But one note reminds her that her friend, Elizabeth, is missing.

Maud is wonderful and there is a dark humour as we see her struggle to make people understand that her friend is missing, as she struggles to make them take her seriously, especially when her thoughts often stray into the past and make no sense. I love the relationship that her grand-daughter has with her, and her daughter, as they struggle to make sure that Maud is safe. This is a family that cares, a family that gets very tired at times, but ultimately cares. It’s a story of love and family.

The narrative is intertwined with Maud’s very lucid memories of her childhood and the disappearance of her adored older sister, Sukey. These memories are full of detail and are very clear, we see the young girl who always seemed to be on the sidelines watching the grown-ups and trying to understand why her sister abandoned her. As the story develops, Maud’s memories of two people who disappeared from her mind twist and turn around each each other in surprising ways.

A wonderful read and Maud is a character that you will fall in love with.