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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read
This is a very intense mystery told through the eyes of Maud, who is 82 years old and suffering from dementia. Maud is confused. She may not know what day it is, what she went to the shops for, or the names of her children but she does know that her best friend Elizabeth has disappeared. Nobody seems to take her worries about Elizabeth seriously though, they just put it...
Published 3 months ago by ElaineG

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where is Elizabeth?
Meet Maud, she is in her eighties, suffering from dementia and looking for her dear friend from the Oxfam shop Elizabeth. Elizabeth is missing says one of the many notes she finds in her pocket, by her chair or on the hallway table, next to five undrunk cups of tea.

Anyone who knows someone who is in the early stages of this disease will find this quite hard to...
Published 2 months ago by C. Bannister


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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read, 1 Jun 2014
By 
ElaineG (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Hardcover)
This is a very intense mystery told through the eyes of Maud, who is 82 years old and suffering from dementia. Maud is confused. She may not know what day it is, what she went to the shops for, or the names of her children but she does know that her best friend Elizabeth has disappeared. Nobody seems to take her worries about Elizabeth seriously though, they just put it down to her dementia, and so it is up to Maud to try and find out what has happened to Elizabeth, before she forgets who Elizabeth is. As the story is told entirely from Maud's increasingly confused point of view it is not always a comfortable read but one that is compelling, especially when it emerges that the disappearance of Elizabeth is not the main hook of the tale. In 1946 Maud's sister Sukey disappeared one day and was never seen again. As is the often the way with dementia sufferers, her memories of this time are more clear than those of the present, and this is the real mystery that needs to be solved, even though Maud may not realise that.

It is a very cleverly written story, with little hints of what happened to Sukey being dropped one by one in the reader's lap through Maud's confusion. The sections of the story that flashback to the 1940s were especially readable and actually helped "lighten" the read a bit, making a good contrast to Maud's confusion. Maud herself is a character that you cannot really get to know, she is only a shell of the person she used to be and I found that even in the 1940s, as a young girl, she cut a very solitary, quiet figure, one who is always watching what is going on but never really connecting. The one character I really liked was her daughter Helen. Helen tries her best to care for her mother, but it isn't easy and at times she needs the patience of a saint. What I did love was the way the author doesn't knock you over the head with information but just steers you gently in the right direction, especially with the little hints she gives to suggest that Helen's task in looking after Maud is harder than you can imagine.

To sum up, this is a very gripping, enjoyable read that is very intense at times and certainly keeps you turning the pages.

Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth is Missing, 1 Jun 2014
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Hardcover)
The central character of this wonderful debut novel is eighty two year old Maud Horsham. Maud lives alone, visited by her daughter, Helen, and Carla, a “carer in wolf’s clothing,” who delights in telling her horror stories about what happens to old people preyed upon by criminals. The only friend that makes Maud feel herself is Elizabeth; herself elderly and with poor eyesight. Unable to keep track of things now her memory is failing, Maud relies on her new ‘paper memory’ – a succession of notes which remind her of important things, such as not to cook or buy more cans of tinned peaches. One of the notes reminds her that Elizabeth is missing, but nobody seems willing to help her find her missing friend. So, Maud herself sets out to find out what has happened to Elizabeth; but it is difficult to undertake an investigation when you are hampered by an inability to remember things.

As Maud sets out in search of her missing friend, the novel conveys the sense of confusion, muddled memories and elastic sense of time that she experiences. Her memories of past and present become confused and her search for Elizabeth takes her back to a time just after the war when her older sister Sukey disappeared. Sukey was someone that Maud looked up to and has obviously missed throughout her life. As we learn of Maud’s younger self; her parents, lodger Douglas and Sukey’s husband Frank, the investigations seem to intertwine. As a child, Maud was afraid of a local character, known as the ‘mad woman,’ and her inability to understand what that woman was trying to tell her seems to mirror her own disjointed thoughts and failure to make sense of Elizabeth’s disappearance.

Although this may seem a depressing subject matter, the author cleverly uses the past storyline to allow Maud to express herself as she used to before her dementia. Much of the book has a certain dark humour and Maud herself is utterly unforgettable as a character. Both storylines – past and present – have a wealth of characters to give depth to the storyline and they both work extremely well. I was unable to tear myself away from this novel and I have to use that completely over-used phrase, “unputtdownable.” This is a brilliant personal read and would also be perfect for reading groups, with so much to discuss. It is a novel which will stay with me and certainly one I will re-read.

Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and compelling, 17 Jun 2014
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is a complex and totally compelling story where past and present are intermixed in a narrative controlled by Maud. She's in her 80s and is struggling with her memory. She speaks with conviction as she slips between childhood and current events, all inextricably linked, but as a reader it's difficult to determine the cause of her anguish, other than the fact, oft repeated, that Elizabeth is missing.

This is an extraordinary book which draws the reader into the mind of an astute and articulate individual. Maud knows that she can't remember things and as the tale unfolds, layer by very clever layer, her anguish increases. Her friend Elizabeth is missing and that current 'reality' is woven into her teenage post war years when her sister went missing. The meld of past and present, as experienced by Maud, is simply extraordinary. Her detailed recall of events some 60 or more years ago is vivid. Her parents play a significant part, along with her missing sister, brother in law Frank, a seemingly weird lodger and a threatening mad woman. These characters spill into the current narrative, which is far less coherent. Maud isn't always able to remember her immediate family; her daughter, granddaughter and carer are in turn friends, strangers, and threatening foe.

I was totally blown away by this debut novel; one difficult to categorise. It's poignant, funny, sad, frustrating and intriguing. It's an emotional ride as we share Maud's anguish and heartbreak in seeking resolution. It's dark, but eloquent and liberally interspersed with humorous insight. Maud has a powerful and perceptive voice. Hers is the constant thread weaving a very satisfying murder mystery from the past with a current disappearance. En route, it's a challenge about the nature of memory and the extent to which it shapes and defines who and what we are. Haunting and original, I'll be looking for more from Emma Healey.

I bought the Audible version.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where is Elizabeth?, 5 Jun 2014
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Meet Maud, she is in her eighties, suffering from dementia and looking for her dear friend from the Oxfam shop Elizabeth. Elizabeth is missing says one of the many notes she finds in her pocket, by her chair or on the hallway table, next to five undrunk cups of tea.

Anyone who knows someone who is in the early stages of this disease will find this quite hard to read at times. The confusion that rolls into the moments of lucidity is faithfully reproduced on each page as Maud scrabbles around her confused mind trying to solve, not one, but two puzzles. Where is Elizabeth and what happened to her sister Sukey. Married Sukey disappeared at the end of the war and has never been seen since. Maud's daughter Helen bears the brunt of her repetitive questions regarding Elizabeth but the puzzle of Sukey's disappearance is relayed to the reader through internal monologues detailing snatches of memory, far sharper than those of the recent past.

This was an engaging read but having finished the book and had time to reflect I'm not entirely sure on how much substance there was to the mystery aspects. Overall the ceaseless march of dementia was the overriding theme of the book and not any worse because of that but the puzzle felt more of a device than the purpose.

A clever book, in that it portrays the elderly protagonist as a person with a past, one with feelings for others as well as one who finds her condition frustrating. Emma Healey has managed to reveal the woman beneath the disease quite well as well as faithfully describing the reasons behind some of the behaviour that suffers of this disease present to the rest of the world.

For all that I found it quite a sad book to read. Perhaps this is because someone close to me is in the early stages of this disease, but maybe because ultimately there is nothing to celebrate, little hope for a happy ending.

I'd like to thank the publishers Penguin Books UK for providing me with a copy to review prior to the publication date of 5 June 2014.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for everyone?, 20 Jun 2014
This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Hardcover)
Looking at some of the other reviews I see that they are written in response to readers being sent advance copies by the publishers. I think they are clearly all younger readers - younger than Maud (82?) the protagonist, that is.
This book was given to me (a signed copy, indeed) for my 70th birthday - not a good move on the part of the givers, sadly. I agree with all the comments of the other reviewers - Maud's dementia is well handled and it is a 'good' first novel - it really feels as though Maud is there talking to you BUT .......... as one gets older and dementia or no dementia one has problems with word finding and remembering why you happen to be where you are this book can be a bit depressing. When we are younger we may have word finding difficulties etc but we may not be so aware that we are ageing. I am a 'young' healthy 70 year old but found Maud's progressive dementia (she recognises her daughter and granddaughter at the beginning but not always at the end of the novel) hindered any enjoyment I might have derived from the novel. What others described as 'black humour' I found depressing! I would probably not have finished reading the novel had it not been given as a gift.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Follow Maud’s quest for the truth., 27 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Hardcover)
To me, this wasn’t really a mystery – it was more of a journey.

This is an easy paced read which sets you on a slow path to offer a peek into Maud’s everyday life, a life where she is becoming increasing forgetful and frustrated. Her only constant is her search for her friend, Elizabeth – with 'clues' being scrawled on post it notes that she shoves in her pockets for her to solve later. These random pieces of paper are a reminder of Maud’s never-ending endeavours, seemingly to no avail and with no one taking her seriously.

As we are transported from the current day to the ‘young Maud’s’ past and back again, a more sinister plot gradually begins to reveal itself.

Throughout the pages we can experience the various POVs of someone suffering from Dementia – the Marvellous Maud, her Daughter, Helen, and the many people that touch her life, both past and present. The struggles and dilemmas that are created by Maud’s condition are captured excellently in this book, it's balanced without being too sappy or equally 'as hard as nails' about it.

Although there is no massive shock/surprise when you reach the conclusion of Elizabeth is missing (not for me anyway) it is certainly a very clever bit of writing that handles a difficult subject with ease, scattering a little humour along the way.

I’ve given this a 4 star rating as at times the pace was a little too slow for my liking. This is most definitely down to my personal preference rather than through any fault of the book.

All in all I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved getting to know Maud, 24 Aug 2014
I am always on the look out for interesting new authors and quirky crime reads. This is one that was highly recommended by a few people on twitter.

It is the story of a woman in her eighties, Maud, Maud lives independently with the help of her daughter, Helen and her carer. Maud uses memory aids to help her keep a track of things. She writes down on pieces of paper important things. She notices her friend, Elizabeth is no longer around. Maud starts investigating, which is not easy when your sense of time and place is distorted and your memory is faulty. At the same time, there is the mystery of what happened to Maud's sister who disappeared after the Second World War. Maud's past recollections hold the key to what happened to Sukey.

This is a book about a woman with dementia. We follow her thoughts and actions. We see how strained relationships can be, when language is no longer shared. Maud retreats into the past, and frequently her utterances make little sense in the present. It is profoundly sad at times, as we see Maud no longer being listened to. When people around her get irritated, it is moving. We can see both sides. We grow to understand that Maud probably only makes sense of a fraction of things she is told.

I guessed what had happened to Elizabeth fairly early on. I was more intrigued with the 1946 Sukey story-line and how that was going to resolve. I grew very fond of seeing the world through the eyes of Maud and pondering how terrible it must be to lose a part of yourself. Our memories are the key to our identity and making sense of the world. I felt for Maud, as she wanted to buy her canned peaches and cook an egg and suddenly these normal everyday things she enjoyed were forbidden.

This is an unusual read, because the character of Maud kept my interest throughout as opposed to the story. As a mystery, it does work. I can imagine if someone close to you is going through these symptoms, it could be a tough read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and emotional with a touch of mystery, 12 Aug 2014
Maude is an 82 year old woman who is convinced her friend Elizabeth is missing (hence the title!). Although Maude lives on her own and is relatively physically fit for her age, she is suffering from dementia and the whereabouts of Elizabeth turns into quite an obsession for Maude. She narrates the story of her struggle to find her friend, and there are time slips which take the reader back to Maude’s childhood, which gives an interesting insight into post-world war 2 Britain and the effect it had on the nation.

Elizabeth is Missing is the first I’ve read where the protagonist/ narrator is suffering from dementia. It’s quite unique in this way, and gives the whole story a quite dreamlike, unsettling feel as you’re never quite sure if Maude is telling the truth or is unwittingly relaying a lie to readers. You really get a feel for what life must be like for people with dementia but the book doesn’t force it on you all the time – you are always aware that Maude has this illness but there are a lot of witty, heartwarming parts to the story that stops it being too depressing. However, I did feel really sorry for Maude throughout and there were parts that did make me feel really emotional as the reader tries to keep up with her jumbled mine and the confusing outside world.

“An ancient noise, like a fox bark, makes an attempt at the edges of my brain”

The story was also really effective at highlighting how hard the illness is on family members; although Maude’s daughter Helen gets frustrated and upset with her mother, you could see and imagine her frustration even though she loves her mum. It must be incredibly hard to deal with and I felt a lot of sympathy for her as well as Maude.

We soon realise that Maude seems to be confusing her friend’s alleged disappearance with that of her sister, who disappeared into thin air when Elizabeth was only 12. Things are all so confusing for her that she, and we as the reader, are not sure which facts relate to which story. This added some mystery which I really enjoyed and which was effectively the foundation for the novel. This is what really drew me in – I really enjoy anything with a touch of mystery!

I read Elizabeth is Missing in 2 sittings and really enjoyed it! I know this novel has had so much publicity as publishers were locked in a bidding war to have the rights to the story, and as Emma Healey’s first novel it is amazing how well it has done, but I wanted to see whether the book truly lives up to all the hype and I feel that really does!

It’s not a very long novel but it packs a punch nonetheless. Definitely recommended!

**For more book reviews check out my blog: http://snazzybooks.wordpress.com **
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5.0 out of 5 stars Curiously brilliant, 5 Aug 2014
By 
This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Hardcover)
REMEMBER the brilliant movie Memento? The one about the fella who has to tattoo himself with memos to remind him how far he’s got in his search for his wife’s killer since his brain doesn’t work right?

The story here is even more clever. For a start there are two mysteries to solve, and the person trying to solve them is 82 and has dementia. Maud Horsham is her name, and her days are spent trying to follow the sheaves of notes she’s written to tell her what she needs to do and how to do it, like where her kitchen is.

Her daughter visits her, but she’s not a lot of cop. Maud’s only friend is her charity shop volunteer pal Elizabeth. One day, Maud pops along to the shop to learn that she hasn’t worked there in ages, a tragic moment. Nor has her friend.

A note she’d found earlier said that Elizabeth is missing, and that’s about the only thing Maud is straight about in her head.
Naturally, no-one’s inclined to believe her, certainly not the Plod, who Maud’s surprised to learn she’s reported the news to several times before. Another touching and tragic moment.

Her mind often finds itself back in her childhood where memories are clearer, certainly those of her sister, who went mysteriously missing during the war. Is there a link between that story and the disappearance of Elizabeth?

Throughout this book you feel the frustration and anger of a woman at one moment clear and lucid, the next bewildered – lost in time, as it were. Emma Healey has written nothing short of a modern classic here, giving a whole new insight and depth of understanding to that modern terror, dementia, and she’s walked a thin tightrope over an abyss of potential bad taste to pull it off perfectly.

Elizabeth is Missing will grip readers the way The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time did, and deserves to be as big a winner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I bought this!, 16 July 2014
By 
Madeleine C-W (Guernsey, Channel Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Hardcover)
I was initially reluctant to buy this as the subject matter is a bit close to home (mother, mother-in-law). but I did buy it and raced through it in a day and a half and thoroughly enjoyed it, it's poignant and honest and I felt for Maude and her long-suffering daughter, Helen; the grandaughter Katy was a delight; I understand this is the author's first novel so I Hope further books by her won't be too long in appearing.
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