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Missing Paperback – 17 Feb 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (17 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857860224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857860224
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Reminiscent of Ruth Rendell at her best. --Herald

Alvtegen is a name to watch. --The Guardian

A genuine hit . . . a brilliant novel. --Gefle Dagblad, Sweden

From the Back Cover

Can murder and deliverance go hand in hand? Sibylla lives on the streets. She is a nobody. Then she finds herself thrust into the news headlines after a man who bought her dinner winds up dead. When another body is found, Sibylla becomes the prime suspect, and she is forced on the run from crimes she didn’t commit. Missing is an unputdownable and unnerving thriller. More than a murder-hunt, it is also the story of one innocent woman’s journey to salvation. ‘Alvtegen powerfully evokes Sibylla’s sense of persecution and conveys what it means to live as an outsider, without ever compromising this compulsive thriller.’ Metro ‘A compelling tale . . . full of false leads and bloody deeds.’ Sunday Herald ‘Alvtegen keeps up a cracking pace.’ Uncut Also available [thumbnails Betrayal and Shame] Cover design by Tim Byrne www.canongate.net [barcode] £6.99 ISBN 978 1 84195 938 2 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Karin Alvtegen is the niece of Astrid Lindgren, but this is not a tale involving pigtails in any shape or form. Instead this gripping crime novel gives us an in-depth portrait of the life of Sibylla Forsenstrom, a homeless Swedish woman.
Sibylla's ambition is someday to have a sanctuary, a home of her own, and she is assiduously saving money to reach this goal. Her plans for the future are thrown into disarray when she is framed for a murder that she didn't commit. With the help of a schoolboy, Patrik, who becomes her friend when he discovers her sleeping in the attics of his school, Sibylla turns detective and solves the crimes. The author sensitively handles the traumas in Sibylla's background, and it is a relief to find a crime novel that doesn't automatically relegate a homeless person to the role of murder victim.
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Format: Paperback
Sibylla Forstenstroem is the daughter of a rich but insensitive merchant and his wife. After a depression and an unwanted pregnancy she flees as an 18 year old girl from her family and the institution where she is kept. She starts to live as a homeless person and is capable of taking rather good care of herself for 15 years. But then things go wrong: she is wrongly accused of murdering a businessman and while she hides from the police three other murders follow. In the end she is capable of unravelling the true cause of these murders with the help of 15 year old Patrik, who she meets when hiding in the attic of a secondary school.

This was a very entertaining introduction to the work of yet another excellent Swedish author of thrillers. Definitely worth a read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Put aside two or three hours and read this book from beginning to end. It's a tense and involving read, and you won't want to be distracted.
Sybilla is an outcast, living off the radar of the authorities in Stockholm. She has various safe places and strategies for surviving each month until her meagre payment from her mother arrives at a PO box. One of her ploys is to put on a smart suit she keeps in her rucksack (bought from Oxfam), go to a luxury hotel bar, meet a businessman, flirt, pretend to lose her wallet, and trick the mark into paying for her room for the night. Unfortunately, on one of these outings, the man she tricks is found murdered the next morning. Sybilla escapes, but soon finds that she is the main suspect, becoming the victim of a police and media hunt.
Sybilla's survival over the next few days is interspersed with the story of how she came to drop out of society. She suffered a childhood of awful mental abuse, which made my blood boil to read about. With nobody to sympathise with her (to the contrary, everyone is against her and/or betrays her) she falls into a trap made of her own idealism and trusting nature, as a result of which she is abused even further by the authorities. The story of Sybilla's childhood leading up to her eighteenth birthday, is equally as harrowing as that of Lisbeth Salander, the main character of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, and Sybilla's solution, of living "off the grid", is remarkably similar to Lisbeth's.
Matters come to a head when Sybilla discovers that her source of income has dried up. She's now desperate, and friends she's made since living rough cannot or will not help her now. The hunt for her intensifies.
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Format: Paperback
Synopsis/blurb......

Sybilla Forsenstrom doesn't exist. For fifteen years she has been excluded from society and, as one of the homeless in Stockholm, she takes each day as it comes, keeping all her possessions in her rucksack - apart from a knife and salami which she stores in a smart briefcase. She is always well-dressed and displays impeccable manners. One night, in The Grand Hotel, she charms a susceptible businessman into paying for her dinner and room. His dead body is discovered the following morning and Sybilla becomes the prime suspect. When a second person is killed in similar circumstances, she becomes the most wanted person in Sweden.

A couple of my reading challenges that I set for myself is to read a Scandinavian book monthly and also an Award winning crime fiction book. I managed to kill two birds with the one stone here, reading Swedish author, Karin Altvegen's debut Glass Key Award winning novel Missing. I believe she won the award in 2001 and the English translation first appeared in 2003.

Well how did I get on?

I was fascinated by the author's portrayal of Sybilla's existence on the fringes of society. We see with flashbacks and frequent references to her past; her difficulties with her mother and as a result at school; her struggle to form friendships. This dysfunctional environment and a lack of support cast Sybilla as an outsider, even before her mental disintegration, subsequent hospitalisation and escape. She was an outsider when living within the structures of normal society and now believing she is still pursued, 14 years after the event she flies under the radar.

Until now; with the discovery of a dead businessman with whom she was seen dining with in a smart hotel.
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