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A Kind of Vanishing [Kindle Edition]

Lesley Thomson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (410 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From the author of acclaimed thriller 'The Detective's Daughter'

A spellbinding mystery of obsession and guilt, this is also the poignant story of what happens to those left behind when a child vanishes without trace. It is the summer of 1968, the day Senator Robert Kennedy is shot. Two nine-year-old girls are playing hide and seek in the ruins of a deserted village. Alice has discovered a secret about Eleanor Ramsay's mother, and is taunting the other girl. When it is Eleanor's turn to hide, Alice disappears. Years later, an extraordinary turn of events opens up shocking truths for the Ramsay family and all who knew the missing girl.

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Product Description


'Lesley Thomson is a class above, and A Kind of Vanishing is a novel to treasure.' --IAN RANKIN

'Thomson skilfully evokes the era and the slow-moving quality of childhood summers, suggesting the menace lurking just beyond the vision of her young protagonists. A study of memory and guilt with several twists.' --GUARDIAN

A thoughtful, well-observed story about families and relationships and what happens to both when a tragedy occurs. It reminded me of Kate Atkinson. Thomson is particularly good at capturing the minutiae of childhood as well as the secrets, the lies, the make believe, the jealousies and spitefulness, the confusion and wonder of being nine years old.' --SCOTT PACK

Lesley Thomson's engaging writing style skilfully explores the obsession and the sense of guilt, hope and despair, trust and mistrust that will fill the lives of all the people who once knew the girl who disappeared. A masterful exploration of human feelings that is paired with an equally masterful description of the settings that form the background to this gripping story. Full of unexpected twists, this is a crime story that will leave you wondering until the end whether a crime has, in fact, been committed at all.' --BOOK AFTER BOOK

'Such is the vividness of the descriptions of the location in this well structured and well written novel that I want to get the next train down...just when one thinks one can guess where it is leading, it switches, and the conclusion is a tense and gripping one. On the edge of my seat? No way - I was cowering under it.' --SHOTSMAG


'This emotionally charged thriller grips from the first paragraph, and a nail-biting level of suspense is maintained throughout. A great second novel.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2591 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Myriad Editions (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WB2D7E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (410 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,377 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Lesley Thomson grew up in London and went to the Universities of Brighton and Sussex. Her novel A Kind of Vanishing won The People's Book Prize in 2010. The Detective's Daughter is a number one bestseller and Sainsbury's ebook for 2014. Ghost Girl, the second in the The Detective's Daughter series came out in April 2014 and went to number one in Sainsbury's e-chart and is another bestseller. The Detective's Secret is out in April 2015. The Runaway, an ebook short about Stella Darnell (the detective's daughter) came out in July 2015.

Lesley lives in Sussex with her partner and is working on the fourth in the series featuring Stella Darnell.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kind of Vanishing 11 Nov. 2007
Lesley Thomson weaves an intricate and mesmerising storyline guaranteed to keep you turning the pages. Initially, the story is set in the late 1960s and beautifully evokes the attitudes and atmosphere of the times. Two nine-year-old girls from very different backgrounds are forced to play together, against their wishes, by their well-meaning parents. One of them vanishes without trace. The narrative continues apace and explores the complex relationships within and between the two families involved as the years unfold and the child is not found. The plot develops with many twists and turns as it heads towards a truly chilling penultimate chapter. Concluding at a Millennium Eve party, the novel is very relevant to present times reflecting,as it does, people's increasing anxieties and concerns over the vulnerability of young children to the evils of modern society.A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Layers upon layers of intrigue 19 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A work colleague recommended this book and I started reading it not really sure what to expect. Whilst it took me a while to get into it, by part 2 I was definitely hooked and wanted to discover what happens to the characters, even the ones I didn't warm to, and the detail of the descriptions meant that I could clearly visualise each one. The two main characters whom we initially meet as 9 year old girls had been put together by their well-meaning parents and I could relate to this situation. The descriptions of the part of Sussex where a lot of the story takes palce was also recogniseable.

This is a well crafted novel which definitely merits a second reading as it is easy to miss some of the clues the first time round. It also works on several different levels - a mystery which might be a murder, human relationships, and trust and mistrust within families. I'm looking forward to more novels from this Sussex based author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What starts off as a promising enough piece of fiction about the disappearance of a young girl in 1968 rapidly becomes bogged down in the mechanics of writing, leaving much of A Kind of Vanishing almost unfathomable, and certainly unreadable.

I had high hopes for this in the opening chapters, but as the action switched from 1968 to 1999, the characters became difficult to follow in their actions and relationships, and either this was just all incredibly clever and went over my head, or it was just over-complicated for the sheer sake of it. At times, Lesley Thomson's writing seemed quite effortful, almost as if she was producing an extended exercise in writing for the sake of it, rather than the enjoyment of storytelling - and maybe that's what they teach at creative writing classes these days - something that Thomson is involved with.

For a book crafted with a seemingly meticulous attention to detail of time and place, mention of Star Trek in 1968 is a mistake as the show didn't air on UK television until 1969 - the summer of the first Moon landing - so this grated slightly. But that is a minor complaint with the more serious way in which the book spirals out of control as it proceeds - and like other reviewers here have commented - the plot is confused and you really don't care too much what has happened. If Agatha Christie had produced this it would have been done and dusted in 200 pages - and no bad thing too.

Sometimes, authors just over-write for the sake of it - and an Act of Vanishing is perhaps the greatest example of that I have come across in some time. A brief outline of Thomson's working methods and use of photographs to outline the storytelling process at the end of the Kindle version is about as clear as mud - and makes about as much sense as the rest of the book.

Yet again, a greatly hyped book that simply fails to deliver. A huge disappointment.
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guess again 25 Sept. 2007
By Still
My wife kind of vanished for a few days. Then I noticed this book seemed to to occupy the space where she used to be. When she returned I picked the book up and kind of vanished too...
This book really keeps you guessing. There are a series of mysteries that keep you intrigued so you have to find an explanation for them. This is a murder mystery where you are not even sure the crime has been committed.
As you read through the book you are left with a series of questions. At the start of the story you are introduced to two beautifully drawn complex families through the inner thoughts of two nine year old girls who are thrown together as playmates but who don't really like each other much. One of these dissappears for the larger part of the novel and when she re-enters you are left confused but fascinated to work out what has really been going on. Thomson has a way of telling one story but leaving you in no doubt that something else is going on behind the main narrative and leaving it tantalisingly beyond your reach until the very end.
The story is full of twists, the crime and the criminal hinted at throughout but not named until the final two chapters. This is a fine telling of a tale based on an elaborate maze of distrust, it's very much a story of our time where right and wrong live together in a kind of restless intimacy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a remarkable book 5 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I haven't so far read any other reviews of this book, which to be honest I bought mainly because I happen to know one of the key locations - the intriguing Tide Mills abandoned village just outside Newhaven on Britain's south coast. However, I can only imagine that other reviews must be absolutely glowing, because that's what this book deserves. It's an amazing tour de force, in which the writer hardly puts a foot wrong.

If you haven't already picked up on this, it's about the disappearance of one of two eight-year-old girls playing there. Whether the "vanishing" actually applies to her or not is something you can decide for yourself. It's told from various perspectives, all of which are almost are painfully penetrating, but those of the two girls are especially remarkable for their convincing insight into a child's perception of the world (in fact the perception of two very different children). The vacillation between worldly wisdom and childish misunderstandings is handled with great skill - especially the sense of obligation that children sometimes seem to pluck out of nowhere, basing it on their own extrapolation of things adults have told them.

It's set initially in the 1960s, though period references are by no means thrust down your throat - just allowed to pervade the atmosphere subtly. But the timing does help validate the naivety the girls sometimes seem to exhibit, even given their young age. The historic setting also allows the writer to accentuate the contrast between working-class lives and those of the privileged upper middle class to which Eleanor belongs. While those distinctions still exist today, she is able to draw the contrast more sharply than might seem natural now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
struggled with this one, but turned out ok
Published 1 day ago by Mrs Louise Moffat
3.0 out of 5 stars Good first half but then.......
I really enjoyed Part One, could sympathise with the differnt lifestyles and backgrounds of the two little girls, and there seemed to be a real mystery unfolding. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave Up
I have read all her Detective's Daughter books. Although they are enjoyable her style of writing makes them difficult to read! Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jasta
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected
Having read Lesley Thomsons previous books I had expected this to be a detective story with familiar characters. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Maggie
1.0 out of 5 stars hard going would not recom Very mend this book i nearly didn't bother...
hard going would not recommend this book i nearly didn't bother to finish it but thought it may get didn't
Published 9 days ago by Fossy
4.0 out of 5 stars A Kind Of Vanishing
A very enjoyable book. In a style similar to the detective daughter series. The twists and turns keep you guessing till the end.
Published 10 days ago by Ron G Tipper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I'm hooked!
Published 17 days ago by cj
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 18 days ago by L. Osborne
1.0 out of 5 stars Second one to give up on
I gave up on the detectives daughter . Why did I go for another by this author. Not as bad as the last lot of twaddle but could not get into and just slept t ok the inevitable poor... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anne Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Margaret Oldham
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