Susie Steiner’s Missing, Presumed is different from most mysteries. It’s not a whirlwind of unexpected twists and turns that have become standard practice in the genre – a practice, by the way, that I love. It’s grittier, more real, less glamorous. And it all works. It is not fraught with page-turning cliff hangers that I’m accustomed to with this genre, but once I synced up with its pace, I luxuriated it its pages.
The book opens as a missing persons case comes through the doors of the Cambridgeshire police force. Edith Hind, a beautiful, idealistic girl from an affluent family, has disappeared and Detectives Manon Bradshaw and Davy Walker are assigned to the investigation. The search begins like any other: interviews with Edith’s family and friends, tracing her movements the last night she was seen, digging into her love life.
But the book is so much more than just the bullet points of an investigation and everything is more complicated than it seems. Told through multiple points of view – namely Manon, Davy, and Miriam, Edith’s mother – the story follows the lives of all the people affected by Edith’s disappearance with keen observation and brutal honesty. It explores the toll an investigation like this takes on all those involved and it is full of harsh realities. There are plenty of frustrating dead ends, police budget quandaries, and disappointing Internet dates. But the emotional center, Detective Manon, is endearingly flawed and entirely lovable. I followed her happily to the very end.
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