5 stars out of 5
The first handful of chapters of this book really didn't grab me, so I wasn't sure how the rest would go. But because I received a copy in exchange for a review, I stuck with it. And that turned out to be a good decision.
Anyone looking for fast-paced, constant action, though, won't find much of it here. There's an interesting plot - more on that in a bit - but it's the author's in-depth character development and expertise in turning a phrase that really reeled me in. Some lines made me chuckle, and even though our daughter-in-law is London-born and I can hold my own conversing intelligently with those from across the Pond, I admit to learning a few new British words (winkle-pickers? Who knew)?
I can't say I'd ever pick any of the characters for close personal friends, but I certainly got to know them inside and out. For openers there's Manon Bradshaw, a detective with the Cambridgeshire police; at 39, her biological alarm clock is about to go off and she's got little hope for a turnaround ("Two years of Internet dating. It's fair to say they haven't flown by.") On top of that, she's had a tough childhood, is estranged from her sister Ellie and thoroughly dislikes the woman her father married after her mother died. She gets by with a little help from her friends, most of whom are on the police force, like Davy, who hasn't got a bad word to say about anybody.
But then Edith, the 24-year-old daughter of a wealthy family - the father is the Royal Family's physician, for goodness sake - goes missing. The police find some blood, her phone and car keys in her house, suggesting she left in a hurry and possibly not of her own volition. Aware that it's a high-profile case, Manon and her cohorts begin to track down clues, talking to those close to Edith including her parents, her boyfriend, a best girlfriend and a few other miscreants who appear to have ties to the girl.
Chapters shift from the perspectives of major characters, and gradually, clues emerge as to what really happened. There are a few twists that kept me on my toes, and while I won't say the ending is particularly shocking, it did bring somewhat unexpected closure to an all-around good story. Definitely recommended!
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner (Random House, June 2016); 369 pp.