Book Title: Missing, Presumed
Author: Susie Steiner
Series: DS Manon Bradshaw #1
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Date Read: 06/04/16
Pub Date: 06/28/16
At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.
Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been reported missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.
The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, and her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family, but for Manon herself.
Suspenseful and keenly observed, Missing, Presumed is a brilliantly twisting novel of how we seek connection, grant forgiveness, and reveal the truth about who we are.
I was immediately requesting this book once I saw it compared to Tana French (Gimmie Gimmie!); my love of a good police procedural knows no bounds. This one turned out to be very classic in its unraveling, reminiscent of something much richer than your typical thriller as it goes much deeper into its various character’s lives than most books do. The POV changes frequently between Manon (detective assigned to missing girl’s high profile case), Miriam (missing girl’s mother), Edith (missing girl), Davy (Manon’s partner) and Helena (Edith’s best friend). It was a bit confusing in the first 10%, but once the characters were established I was able to keep up well.
“Were she to tell the truth, her profile would go something like:
Misanthrope, staring down the barrel of childlessness. Yawning ability to find fault. Can give off WoD (Whiff of Desperation). A vast, bottomless galaxy of loneliness.
Educated: to an intimidating degree. Willing to hide this. Prone to tears. Can be needy. Often found Googling having a baby at 40“
Manon is clearly the most developed and focused character of the book; we follow her not only throughout her side of the investigation, but also through her mishaps involving internet dating. I loved how even in the midst of her neediness, there was a bit of bite behind this character and she seemed so human and relatable. She meets Alan and begins a relationship with him as well, and almost immediately becomes infatuated. (“My heart has made its mind up, and I’m afraid it’s you”) I also really liked Davy and Miriam’s characters; Davy has a heart of gold and Miriam, while faced with some of life’s most devastating blows, takes it like a champ and emanates strength and dignity for her family. There’s also a good bit of humor to keep the mood from becoming too sombre; my favorite moment was when Manon was depressed and states:
“My bottom’s probably as big as that. A single person’s bottom. I’m about to be forty, I will never have a baby, and I have a bottom the size of-Don’t cry. Just don’t cry, not in the middle of MIT.”
Why is it so funny imagining a British accent saying the word “bottom” so many times in a row? Any way, I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor and picture her being someone I could prop my feet up with while drinking a hot cuppa. My only slight concern was that the ending was a little underwhelming; this could be because I have just recently read a book with a very similar ending and storyline. I believe if I had read this at a different time, this would have been a non-issue. An impressive debut from an author I think we’ll be watching, and I would be very excited to see some sort of series sprung from the characters in this book (maybe a focus on Davy next go around?!). EDIT– the author confirmed this will be a series focused on Manon; yay!
* I received my copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review; this did not influence my opinions and all thoughts are my own.