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Critical Praise

“A gripping mystery…this bears comparison to THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF A DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME and S. J. Watson’s BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP.”

—The Bookseller, “Ones to Watch”

“British author Healey draws on her own grandmothers’ experiences to create the distinctive narrator of her first novel…an absorbing tale.”

—Publishers Weekly

“ELIZABETH IS MISSING is every bit as compelling as the...hype suggests...The novel is both a gripping detective yarn and a haunting depiction of mental illness, but also more poignant and blackly comic than you might expect.”

—The Observer (London)

“A thrillingly assured, haunting and unsettling novel, I read it at a gulp.”

—Deborah Moggach, author of THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

“This novel genuinely is one of those semi-mythical beasts, the book you cannot put down.”

—Jonathan Coe, author of THE ROTTER’S CLUB

“Maud’s memory is failing, slipping further away each day. So how can she convince anyone that her best friend is truly missing? In her debut novel, Healey deftly evokes the frustrations of Maud and her daughter, both annoyed by Maud’s inability to remember…Healey also compassionately draws the landscape of Maud’s mind, layering the past over the present, blurring the lines between reality and memory. Just as she’s worried about Elizabeth in the present, she’s troubled by events from her childhood in post-World War II London. Then, she and her parents had a lodger, Douglas. Her sister, Sukey, lived with her husband, Frank, in a big house crammed with odds and ends collected through his furniture-moving business. But Sukey disappeared, too…Could the two mysteries be connected? With little to no assistance from the police, then or now, the family must band together to discover the truth. At first, Maud’s disintegrating memory stymies her progress, but soon enough, the elision of boundaries becomes an asset. A poignant novel of loss.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“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 care-takers, 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.”

—Booklist (starred review)

“This is no conventional crime novel but a compelling work that crosses literary genres. Maud’s experience of dementia is harrowing at times, especially in comparison to her completely lucid moments. The two mysteries at the heart of the book, too --- one experienced as a girl and the other as an elderly woman --- are brilliantly handled. The result is bold, touching and hugely memorable.”

—Sunday Times (London)

“Ingeniously structured and remarkably poignant, ELIZABETH IS MISSING is a riveting story of friendship and loss that will have you compulsively puzzling fact from fiction as you race to the last page. Immersed in the narrator’s increasingly fragmented world, the story questions the true meaning of memory and proves the enduring power of love.”

—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA

“ELIZABETH IS MISSING will stir and shake you: an investigation into a 70-year-old crime, through the eyes of the most likeably unreliable of narrators. But the real mystery at its compassionate core is the fragmentation of the human mind.”

—Emma Donoghue, author of ROOM