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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Elizabeth is Missing

     Fiction with a shot of mystery, this is author Emma Healey’s first book and it features an unlikely protagonist, Maud, who is an eighty-something British woman diagnosed with dementia. Still living on her own at home, with much supervision by her daughter Helen and a series of caretakers, Maud manages to get around and into things, relying on notes to herself and her increasingly faulty memory. 
   Currently, Maud is fixated on the idea that her friend Elizabeth is missing. She constantly tells Helen about this, she makes several visits to the police station to report on it, forgetting each time her previous visits, and she suspects that Elizabeth’s son Peter has in some way mistreated her and caused her disappearance. But this is not the first time someone has vanished from Maud’s life. Shortly after the end of World War II, her married sister Sukey disappeared and was never found, despite the family’s efforts.
   The reader follows the two different stories, one current-day and one in 1946, seeing how Maud’s memories and actions combine to solve these two mysteries. The relationship between Maud and Helen is sensitively drawn and all of the characters are three-dimensional. While there are no happy endings, the reader roots for Maude and her determination.

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