Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healy


In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a 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, who 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 than 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?


This is not your conventional crime novel and I felt putting it in that genre would be a miss justice.

The book had a very interesting premise and was thought provoking. It really made you think what it would be like to live with dementia and at times you really did feel sorry for Maude.

However, moving past the above point, I didn’t feel there was much else in the book to keep me ‘hooked’. It was pretty obvious, to me at least, what the outcome of the book was. At times, it was incredibly repetitive.

I felt there could have been some improvements, for example I would have loved to have seen some different perspectives. How does Helen see Maude and the situation? That would have really added another element.

It is for the above reasons that I rated as a 3 out of 5.

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