Who doesn’t love a good mystery?
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey follows forgetful Maud, an elderly woman whose memory seems to be getting worse by the day. The only trick she has to remember is by jotting down her thoughts on post-it notes. Usually, it’s your average reminders, shopping lists and notes on who has paid her a visit. However, she keeps finding these notes in her own handwriting repeating the same sentence.
Elizabeth is missing.
This isn’t the first time someone from Maud’s life has gone missing either. After WW2 her sister disappeared, never to be seen again. Despite those around her telling her Elizabeth is fine and to give it a rest, Maud is determined to find her.
Elizabeth is Missing is unlike any other book I have read. I don’t often read stories with elderly protagonists outside of the Miss Marple Mysteries, let alone ones with elderly women dealing with dementia.
Maud is a really loveable character and while we see things from her point of view, as readers we see just how her bad memory is affecting her life and relationships, especially with her daughter Helen. You root for her even though the odds are stacked against her.
About half of the story actually takes place back in Maud’s childhood. The flashbacks are balanced really well as you never feel like you are being dragged to a side plot as that storyline is fascinating as well. With each step into the past, we start to piece the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance slowly but surely, but there are quite a few twists along the way.
The mystery itself is really well written due to the slow pace, teasing info here and there with some good foreshadowing. What really takes Elizabeth is Missing to the next level is how it portrays dementia and how it affects those around Maud. It’s near heartbreaking.
This is a gripping read since each chapter ends with either a new question asked or some new information which leaves you wanting more so you feel compelled to keep reading.
I only found out recently that there is a TV film adaptation in the works starring Glenda Jackson as Maud. I am excited to watch it but I can’t seem to find any concrete release date.
I adored Elizabeth is Missing as you probably noticed. It is a rather haunting story which not only gives us one hell of an interesting tale but also gives insight on how we treat our elderly. Its a one of a kind read that I highly recommend checking out if you can.