19 July 2014


  • published 2014 by Viking, Penguin Books
  • ISBN 978-0-241-00351-0
  • 275 pages
Synopsis (Penguin Australia)

What if you could remember just one thing?

Maud is forgetful.  She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it.  She goes to the shops and forgets why she went.  Back home she finds the place horribly unrecognizable - just like she sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing.  The note in her pocket tells her so.  And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery.  One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud . . .

My Take

Maud organises her life with little bits of paper. She writes notes but doesn't always discard the paper when she should. She know Elizabeth is missing because the note says so, and because Elizabeth's house is empty. But she can't understand why no-one will do anything about Elizabeth's disappearance - not the police whom she visits several times, not her daughter, not her doctor.

Events in the present trigger vivid memories from the past, when she was a teenager and someone else close to her also disappeared.The war was recently over, they had a lodger, and a mad woman was killed by a car right outside their house.

Emma Healey does a wonderful job of of presenting Maud's fractured memories.
An excellent read.

My rating: 4.7

About the author
Emma Healey is 28 years old and grew up in London. She has spent most of her working life in libraries, bookshops and galleries. She completed the MA in Creative Writing: Prose at UEA in 2011. Elizabeth is Missing is her first novel.

Check her website.


Irene McKenna said...

This sounds interesting! It reminds me a bit of the premise of Memento, where the protagonist has lost his long-term memory and tries to piece together a mystery using his cryptic notes to himself.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, this does does like a good read, Kerrie. It's hard to do an unreliable narrator, but it sounds like this one's been done really well.


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