Adult · Fiction · Mystery

Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey


Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Knopf Canada
Source: Publisher

Elizabeth is Missing paints a dark picture of old age. Maud is old and lives alone. She has one daughter who takes care of her and a son who comes to visit her once in a while with his family. She has a friend, Elizabeth, whom she hasn’t seen for a while and a sister, Sukey, who went missing about seventy years ago. No one believes Maud when she tries to tell them that Elizabeth has gone missing so she takes it upon herself to find her. She finds clues, talks to people and ensures that everyone knows that Elizabeth is missing.

However, it is very difficult to be a detective when you end up forgetting all the clues you find. In fact, you end up forgetting why you woke in the morning or what you were doing two minutes ago. The novel plays with time as the narratives jumps back and forth from the time Maud was a teenager to the present day when Maud is definitely not a teenager. Maud’s sister disappeared without warning and stayed missing. Their family never got any disclosure and Maud never got over her sister’s disappearance.

Healey very beautifully captures the frustration Maud feels every time she is brushed off by younger people simply because she is too old. The readers are never told anything explicitly but instead are left to figure out the details of what is happening between Maud and her daughter, Helen, who, though a wonderful daughter, is somewhat lacking in her compassion to her mother’s age. Which is understandable because the generation gap, even between parents are children, are sometimes severe.

I really liked this novel. It has made scared to grow old but the story made me appreciate the important of family in one’s life. The mystery is intricately woven through the narrative and the climax is surprising but I absolutely loved how Healey stayed true to Maud’s character. Highly recommended.


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