Publication Date: Feb 25th from The Borough Press (Harper Collins)
Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
Missing, Presumed was a really excellent read – probably one of the most authentic feeling crime novels I have read recently, in that it was less mystery and more character study – of the various people caught up in the investigation of a missing woman. Police, parents, friends, boyfriends, all caught up in the vortex of not knowing, each one carefully drawn and intuitively emotional on completely different levels.
Possible signs of a struggle, an open front door and Edith is gone – vanished into seemingly thin air, her parents and lover frantic, a police investigation team who immediately realise this is going to be huge due to the important nature of the people involved. Taking that as a starting point, Susie Steiner then weaves a narrative web around all the individuals concerned, showing us who they are, hinting at possible outcomes and giving us a tightly plotted and intensely addictive slow burner of a story which is very realistic and highly engaging.
I liked this one for its realism – the police investigation starts with a bang then loses cohesion as leads are investigated and the trail turns cold. The author does an excellent job of showing the very real issues faced both in public expectation and budgetary issues, in how difficult it is to allocate resources correctly. Because of the nature of the plot building, focusing very much on the various personalities and how they change the dynamic, how outside influence and external pressures can change things significantly, there are a lot of thought provoking moments throughout the reading.
On a personal note – all the characters here are excellent, but I was particularly drawn to Manon and very amused by her forays into internet dating – lightening the mood but also showing her fault lines she is a very good example of why this is so good. Because the people in it are all utterly believable, shown both at their very best and their very worst.
The ultimate resolution may or may not surprise you but with “Missing Presumed” the journey is the thing not the arrival. Tense, fascinating and with true page turning appeal, this would come highly recommended from me.
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Happy Reading Folks!