Missing, Presumed: A Novel by Susie Steiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
One night, 24-year-old Edith Hind goes missing. The front door of her home is wide open, there is blood inside, and her keys, phone, and car have been left behind. DS Manon Bradshaw knows immediately that this case will be big; Edith's father, Sir Ian Hind, is surgeon to the Royal Family, after all. Suddenly, Edith's life is under a microscope: her parents, her boyfriend, Will, and her best friend, Helena. Manon finds herself working every angle to find Edith, while juggling her own issues and insecurities, including her loneliness: at 39, she is single and estranged from her father and only sister.
This book started off in excellent fashion. It's told from a multi-narrator point-of-view, which I suppose is all the fashion these days, but it wasn't irksome in the least. We hear from Manon; her work partner, Davy, who is thoroughly "glass half full" to Manon's "half empty"; Miriam Hind, Edith's mother; and Helena, who is Edith's somewhat troubled best friend. Manon stands out immediately. She's smart, sarcastic, and somewhat vulnerable. The cataloging of her various Internet dates are humorous, yet she's clearly a strong and competent detective. The beginning plot of the novel hooks you immediately, as you are thrown into the search for Edith. The police's fear, along with that of Edith's mother, is palatable.
My only real quibble with this novel is its lag about 2/3 through. Manon goes on a bit of a bender, and it becomes almost painful to read for a bit. You can't help but want your detectives to have a bit of decorum to them. The plot also drags a bit, focusing more on Manon's dating issues, then the mystery. However, once she discovers another key linkage, we're off and running again. The mystery plot itself is intricate and keeps you guessing. It's certainly not filled with likable characters, but then mystery, murder, and mayhem rarely is. Edith's ending is a bit of a disappointment, but I enjoyed a look at the other characters a "year later," where we see what Manon, Davy, and some of the others are up to. I could potentially see Manon becoming a reoccurring character; she's complex and intelligent and unlike many female detective we see in print right now. Steiner's book was different and interesting, and I certainly enjoyed it. Definitely worth the read - 3.5+ stars.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; the U.S. version will be out on 06/28/2016.
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