Book Reviews

Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Rating 4.5 / 5

This was a stunning read. It’s so beautifully written and allowed me to forget I was even reading (just as the best books always do) as it carried me across the 70-year span of the story.


A mystery, an unsolved crime and one of the most unforgettable characters since Mark Haddon’s Christopher. Meet Maud …

‘Elizabeth is missing’ reads the note in Maud’s pocket in her own handwriting, and the one on the wall.

Maud’s been getting forgetful. She keeps buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she’s made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.

Blurb from goodreads

My Review:

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey has become known for its unique voice and that really is its strength. Maud is incredibly real – so genuine and credible – and she offers a new insight (all be it fictional) into the reality of dementia. It’s clear that the author has used both personal experience and a lot of research to really understand what might be the thought processes of a person with dementia.

The first person narrative is expertly done. It holds such clarity of thought even as it demonstrates Maud’s confused mind. All her quirks, outbursts and random sentences make sense. It’s just those on the outside, who aren’t following the thought patterns, that fail to see the logic – so refreshing.

The premise is really good – what happens to families of unsolved crimes as the decades pass, and what if one of those relatives, who holds all the pieces of the puzzle, develops dementia?

The story is told with such truth and warmth, every moment feels valid and real. The whole notion of memory is utilised beautifully – carrying us back to see the truth of Maud’s sister’s disappearance unravel, allowing us to piece things together as Maud did. The duality of Maud and the ‘mad woman’ also offers a really interesting commentary too.

I’m late to the party with this one and I know it’s already been said many times, but I absolutely recommend this as a fantastic read. If you’re looking for a fast-paced mystery this probably isn’t for you, but if you want to invest a little time into the intricacies of memory, then you’ll love this book – a tale that slowly unravels, from a voice that really speaks to our understanding of humanity.

For more information about the book and the author, visit here.

Thanks for Reading!

Anna xx

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