Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing

Author: Emma Healey
Genre: Mystery (and a hint of Dark Humor)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetDon’t you guys love reading good psychological mystery stories? Those kind which will send your brain reeling. Stories which will keep you on the edge of your seat, gripped and enthralled. Those which jumbles your head with different clues but not knowing what to do with them. I don’t shy away from the opportunity to read stories like that although I have to say I’m not much of a fan because once you finished it you can’t read it again and be as thrilled as you were the first time because you already know what will happen. Defeats the purpose of reading a mystery story. But I do enjoy reading them from time to time. It feels like they are good exercise for my brain. Keeps them oiled and working. Hee.

Elizabeth is Missing is a novel narrated by Maud, an 82 year old aging grandmother. She is on the early stages of the onslaught of dementia and the narrator having that condition would probably seem like an odd choice for the author to tell the story. Especially a kind of detective story. But it worked pretty well. In fact it added more to the complexity of the story. It kept it a bit more interesting. In the novel Maud has a best friend, Elizabeth, whom she believed has gone missing. She was so convinced that something wrong has happened to her friend and she started telling everyone about it. But no one listens to her. No one believes her. No one seems to take her seriously. Not her daughter Helen, not her caretaker Carla, not even the police. And so she took it upon herself to do a little digging and find out clues as to what happened to Elizabeth. But it was not the only thing she happened to be digging. Because Maud ended up also digging up a 70-year old memory about the mysterious and unsolved disappearance of her older sister Sukey.

I have to admit though that it took me a while to get myself to be like really into the story. It actually took me two days to finish the first three chapters of the book. And that was just roughly 40 pages. The alternating past and present narratives were quite confusing at first but after a few chapters I was actually able to get the hang of it.

And speaking of alternating past and present narratives, it was so sad when Maud’s condition started to rapidly worsen. The line between the past and the present started to blur in Maud’s mind. There will be moments when she would not recognized her daughter and it broke my heart everytime. But her obsession with the disappearance of Elizabeth never wavered. Even when she started to get so lost in the memories from her past. She started confusing the things happening at the present with the sudden thoughts from the past. At one point I also got so caught up in her memories that when the next chapter came I thought it was still on the past. I was startled when I realized it was the present already. So maybe it has taken a while before I got into the story but when I did I was so into it.

Maud was a lovable character. Actually her daughter Helen was a lovable character too. And I love the guessing game as to what happened to Maud’s sister Sukey and who was involved in it. I thought I’m well trained already from reading Lisa Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and Patricia Cornwell books but I got it all wrong in the end. Or maybe I just really don’t want the culprit to be that character? Haha. Go on and try to find out what happened to Elizabeth too. I wish I have a friend like Maud who will tirelessly look for me when I go missing.

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars for an interesting read. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more Emma Healey books.


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