When Maud, an aging grandmother who is slowly losing her memory, is convinced that her best friend Elizabeth is missing and in terrible danger, she becomes obsessed with saving her beloved friend despite the fact that no one—not even her daughter, the police and Elizabeth's son— believe her. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
When Maud, an aging grandmother who is slowly losing her memory, is convinced that her best friend Elizabeth is missing and in terrible danger, she becomes obsessed with saving her beloved friend despite the fact that no one believes her. - (Baker & Taylor)
HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MYSTERY WHEN YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE CLUES?
In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.
Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.
But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.
This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.
As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?
In this darkly riveting debut novel, a sophisticated psychological mystery, one woman will stop at nothing to fiFInd her best friend, who seems to have gone missing. . . .
Despite Maud's growing anxiety about Elizabeth's welfare, no one takes her concerns seriously—not her frustrated daughter, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son—because Maud suffers from dementia. But even as her memory disintegrates and she becomes increasingly dependent on the trail of handwritten notes she leaves for herself in her pockets and around her house, Maud cannot forget her best friend. Armed with only an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth—no matter what it takes.
As this singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present, the clues she uncovers lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: that of her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II. As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud's search for Elizabeth develops a frantic momentum. Whom can she trust? Can she trust herself?
A page-turning novel of suspense, Elizabeth Is Missing also hauntingly reminds us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable novel.
*Starred Review* Your best friend doesn't respond to calls or knocks on the door. A moving van is loaded with your friend's possessions. Your friend's son, a nasty, grasping type, seems to have taken over. You report what's going on to the police, to your daughter, to anyone who will listen. No one believes you. You hardly know whether to believe yourself since you know that your memory, lately, has gotten so bad. This is the predicament facing Maud Horsham, a woman who survived the London Blitz and is now sinking into dementia. Part of the wallop of this mystery is that a woman with declining memory and mental powers is placed in the position of detective. This adds to the urgency of her quest, since Maud is battling the condescension of her caretakers, the police, and her daughter as her faculties fade. Another part of the power of this debut novel is that Maud is the narrator; this choice of point of view gives readers a lens on the casual cruelties inflicted on the aging, especially those with dementia. Maud writes everything down, to help her remember clues about her missing friend, and she also writes down how she is treated. Maud focuses on a second mystery as well, the disappearance of her sister, Sukey, after the war. Part mystery, part meditation on memory, part Dickensian revelation of how apparent charity may hurt its recipients, this is altogether brilliant. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
Maud's memory is going quickly. She doesn't always know who her daughter is and ends up buying cans of peaches at the store every time she shops because she can't figure out how to find the items on her list. One thing Maud is sure of though, her friend Elizabeth is missing. But she can't convince anyone else. So Maud leaves herself notes and attempts to visit Elizabeth, only to be turned away by her angry son, Peter. Maud's investigative attempts also awaken memories of an earlier disappearance, that of her sister Sukey many years ago. Where Maud has difficulty keeping track of her current life from moment to moment, the past becomes clearer and forms a disturbing picture—one that may connect to the missing Elizabeth. VERDICT Delving into the mind of a woman suffering from dementia, Healey uses her unreliable narrator to create realistic tension. Suspenseful and emotional in equal parts, the author's debut hits all the right notes. Fans of other books with questionable narrators like Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind and S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep will find much to love here. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14.]—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI
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