Elizabeth is Missing

Healey, Emma

  11 Reviews

Nowadays Maud can't rely on her memory. That doesn't mean her friend Elizabeth isn't missing, but it does make searching for her a challenge. Surfacing through Maud's concern and confusion is another mystery - what happened to her sister Sukey all those years ago.

Although an unconventional thriller with unrelenting tension and mystery at its heart, it is also rendered a poignant examination of aging and dementia by its emotional depth and unreliable narrator.

Comments from Groups

The book is well written and carefully constructed. It was astonishing using the person with dementia as the narrator. It works.Queenstown 006

All of us were very impressed that such a young author as Emma Healey could write so well, and with such insightfulness. We all thought the book was very well written - a heartbreaking and quite tragic story, with a very clever interweaving of the old mystery of Sukey's disappearance, with the modern and sad deterioration of Maud's mind, and her confusion over Elizabeth....Some would have liked a fuller explanation and denouement of what exactly happened to everyone, and thought it all ended quite abruptly, but overall we were very impressed with the book and its author. Pukeko 001

This was an impressive portrayal of dementia, and those involved. Layered and clever - the reader is made to navigate the dementia along with the 'reality', and never quite sure which is which. The discussion was made lively with many personal experiences shared of family members with dementia. Auckland 063

This was a very popular choice. Some members were initially put off because the main character has dementia, but the writer handles the subject with affection and gentle humour.Members who have had family members with dementia, said she was spot on when describing how people with dementia behave. Christchurch 299

We had two opposing views of the book! Some thought it was really hard to read - it was too close to the bone for those who knew people suffering from memory loss and confusion/Alzheimers, and it disturbed them greatly. Others found it a brilliant read, and so true. The depth of the author's understanding of the subject was extraordinary. We were really gripped from the beginning, and everyone agreed that it was brilliantly written with fantastic insight....A 'must read' for all people working with memory loss patients. Christchurch 240



Very good read - well written.
CHCH 400
Most enjoyed this book - clever plot, well-written and led to good discussion about age, dementia and family relationships. Not easy topics for a 60+ group but well worth the effort!
METH 001
Beautifully written, emotional and powerful in its message. Incredible that a 22 year old could write this.
AUCK 332
Clever writing creating sympathy without being 'mushy'. Dealt very well with the condition of dementia from the main character's perspective.
GORE 004
Favourite book of the year! Realistic characterisations and great premise.
TAUR 035
We had mixed reactions to the book. Some found it too sad and never got past the beginning. Others had the same view but persisted. A very well crafted book and though at times confusing it was successful in weaving the past and present together. A great insight into dementia and how awful it is for both the sufferer and families, and how patient we all need to be - not an easy task. Bits were amusing, though would have been funnier if we were all a bit younger or had not yet had experience of dealing with a family member suffering from some form of dementia. Too sad to be amusing.
WELL 142
All of the group had strong opinions about this book and the discussion got quite heated (in a mild way). Some felt it was depressing, all appreciated the effort to "get inside the mind of Maud". Some found it interesting. No one was 'lukewarm' about it...
TAUR 043
Everyone enjoyed the book immensely. We liked the way the author told the story from Maud's perspective, and thought she did an excellent job in portraying the behaviours of a person with dementia, especially as it was written when she was a young adult. We found it gripping to the end as the 'whodunnit' was finally discovered in the last few pages. She connected the time frames and characters beautifully.
A compelling read. Excellent insight into dementia and associated problems. A good mystery too.
CHCH 378
The group found this book disturbing from the point of view that it could be any one of us in that situation. Lively discussion and it was generally thought that though it disturbed us, it was a great read.
We recommend this book to all and everyone! We found it difficult to believe that this was a first novel from a young woman - it is so well crafted, so very believable. What an interesting idea to have a dementia-sufferer as the main character. The subject of dementia was handled with well-researched insight, grace and some light humour. The many layers of the story make for interesting reading. This book stimulated so much discussion regarding dementia, euthanasia, etc - we've never before experienced such animated discussion on any book within the group.