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Elizabeth Is Missing

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  58,832 ratings  ·  7,012 reviews
In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an agin
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Harper (first published March 13th 2014)
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Andrea I've just finished it and found it excellent, a refreshing point of view from a deeply unreliable narrator and a double-layered crime plot. Well execu…moreI've just finished it and found it excellent, a refreshing point of view from a deeply unreliable narrator and a double-layered crime plot. Well executed, makes you laugh and cry. I can only recommend it. (less)

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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  58,832 ratings  ·  7,012 reviews

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Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 70 year old unsolved mystery lies at the heart of 'Elizabeth Is Missing'. It's not your conventional crime novel, but it certainly is compelling. The main protagonist is an 82 year old lady suffering from dementia. The way the author has dealt with the subject of dementia is quite remarkable. She's captured brilliantly the anxiety, the confusion, and the fear associated with it, so much so, that it's hard to believe she's not yet thirty herself! It's beautifully written, hilarious at times, he ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:


I finished Elizabeth Is Missing all the way back in September, but never wrote a review. Those of you who know me are already aware that I’m always behind when it comes to posting reviews, but this one fell off the radar for a different reason . . . A reason I like to call the “meh factor.”

Commercial Photography
^^^^selfie of my reaction upon finishing this book^^^^

However, after havi
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth is missing!!!

This novel is quite creative and an unusual mix of several genres, since while the mystery is the lead genre, you also can find humor, romance, drama, even horror, maybe on this last one, not as you can expected but certainly it has elements truly horrific and creepy.

Elizabeth is... mmh... is... mmh... what was I saying?

Trying to explain what you can expect here, this is like "Memento" meets "Manhattan Murder Mystery" with some elements present on other films like "The Lad
Diane S ☔
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maude is 82 yrs.old and no longer lives solely in the present day. Her memories of the past and the disappearance of her sister Sukey have become confused with the disappearance of her friend in the present day, Elizabeth. Suffering from dementia, her days have become a jumble of things, images and thoughts that don't seem to fit.

I would imagine how challenging writing a book from the perspective of a woman suffering from this malady , but the author has done a wonderful job. At times humorous,
May 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
What in the hell did I just read? I feel lost, much like Maud did in this book.

There's two stories going on here... Maud an 82 year old woman who has dementia and then young Maud, who is desperately searching for her sister who has just vanished.

I will say the author was spot on with dementia. I worked with my grandmother for a full year before she passed this January and she acted a lot like Maud. That's all I can say because it is still a touchy subject for me and the wound from grandma passi
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, 2015, seen-movie
I loved this!
Funny and sad.
So different from that sort of perspective.
Really well done. Loved Maud.
I knew there would be a connection between the 2 time line stories and I really liked the ending.
Ivonne Rovira
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Cuban mother — God bless her soul — used to lament, “Ivonne, ¡llegar a viejo es lo último!” (Ivonne, getting old is the absolute worst!) Still in my 30s, I nodded sympathetically, but I really had no idea at all. Emma Healey’s Elizabeth Is Missing brought those memories back for me — rather ironic for a novel about the gradual fading of memory.

Elizabeth Is Missing ostensibly recounts how Maud Horsham, a tenacious 80-plus-year-old Englishwoman battling dementia, tries to investigate the abrup
May 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Did I read the same book as other reviewers?!?!?! This book was horrible, annoying, repetitive and wayyyyyy too drawn out. I love a good mystery and found myself not even caring what happens to Elizabeth, or Sukey, or ANY character in this book, because this book was just boring. I read the whole thing waiting for the aha-moment that just never came. Thought this book told from the view point of an elderly women with dementia would be unique, but I just found it frustrating.
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Elizabeth is missing was an emotional story about an elderly lady who is living with dementia.

I liked the story as I found it extremely effective at highlighting how difficult the illness is on family members; I found the character of Helen so real in this story and I am sure there are daughters and sisters and family out there reading this book and can identity with the character of Helen as she tries to look after and understand the world in which her mother finds herself struck in. Interes
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maud, 82, living alone in suburbia - she makes cups of tea, and forgets them; she goes out and forgets what for, she often doesn't recognise her own daughter; but there's one thing that she keeps remembering... "Elizabeth is missing"!

How do you solve a mystery when, you can't remember when it happened and to whom? The extremely unreliable narrator of her own story is Maud as she seeks to find out the truth about Elizabeth, and her own past, whilst suffering from not-named memory /dementia condit
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old woman, whose memory is fading away slowly, is caught in the web of a mystery surrounding her missing best friend and her missing sister. Elizabeth is Missing written by Emma Healey is a thoroughly intriguing and a highly compelling novel.

Thank you Penguin for providing me with an ARC.

Maud is a 82years old woman, suffering from dementia. She is getting forgetful hence she writes notes to remind herself of petty things and to keep up with her own life. She couldn't reach her best friend El
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emma Healey did an extraordinary job of putting me into the mind of 82-year old Maud who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. From paragraph to paragraph, you never knew if you would be in Maud's past where her older sister, Sukey, disappeared or in her present trying to find her close friend, Elizabeth, who she believes to be missing. Yes, I wanted to know what happened to Elizabeth and Sukey, but I got so involved in Maud's thinking process that I felt like I was reading three novels at onc ...more
I've had a copy of Elizabeth is Missing since last year, but wanted to leave it until closer to the release date to read it so I could be part of what I felt was sure to be an interesting conversation surrounding the book. I must say, my expectations were high given its early hype. Originally titled Strange Companions, it was much remarked upon for drawing global interest and sparking a bidding war between nine publishers at the London Book Fair; a year before it was due to come out in the UK, t ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’ve finished reading this book and the first thing I can think of is: disorder.
Yes, confusion and disorder in exposing a story even brilliant but absolutely exhausting for the structure given: the Maud's first-person narrative with senile dementia, the perpetual forgetting and repeted maybe 20 things in a page, I swear, it destroys the reader.... I am ashamed but I felt only annoyance for this poor old woman. The finish is so limp that it only brings embarrassment to those who resist until the
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this novel was a debut by the author, it is definitely worth praising. An interesting story and a very intriguing narrator.
Julian Lees
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Unsettling, moving, and tender....I couldn't put it down. ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
So, I've finally read it, and can confirm, it is worth all the fuss. I can hardly believe this is a debut! It is written with such confidence and eloquence, but then Healey did study creative writing.
The story centers around Maud, an 81 year-old woman descending ever deeper into dementia. The book is told both from Maud's present and her past, and as the story moves along, the line between these times becomes ever more blurry, disintegrating slowly as Maud grows more confused. While Maud is the
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: empathetic people
Recommended to Evelina | AvalinahsBooks by: book's marketing for reviews
When I got this book from NetGalley back in 2014, I put it away for a long time because I didn't even know what NetGalley was all about back then. But now I know I should have read it much sooner. It is a great book. It has really been an emotional experience to read it.

The book tells a story of an old woman, slowly sinking into senility (perhaps Alzheimer's? It's never pointed out). She seems to be stuck on the fact of her friend Elizabeth being missing, and although she's heard the answer befo
Emily B
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was hooked from the start however felt I could feel where the book was heading early on. Despite this it was still an enjoyable read and has stuck in my mind many months after reading.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
As in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the story is told through the lenses of a certain mental condition that only few have access to. In this case, it is Alzheimer’s that disables the protagonist from reaching what her mind has set before her: solving a disappearance of a beloved one. But whilst providing an old lady with countless obstacles, the disease does more; through forceful emergence of what was trying to be forgotten, it opens the sheer possibility of the task. The p ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut
"I feel as though I'm failing to catch something precious." This is a line taken out of context from the stunning debut Elizabeth Is Missing. Ultimately this is how I feel, that the few words I can say will fail to catch its essence.

Told in alternating time frames, it is the story of an elderly woman suffering many losses including friends, family, youth and memory. Described as both psychological and mystery fiction it is that but so much more. I found it touching and well plotted. As a woman
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
“How do you solve a mystery when you can’t remember the clues”

Let me introduce you to Maud. She is in her early 80s and suffers from dementia – the poor woman forgets everything: her caring daughter and granddaughter become total strangers, her home is unrecognizable and the list goes on. But, she is the only person to realize that her friend Elizabeth is missing.

Maud’s repeated claims are ignored and ridiculed as the imagination of a feeble mind. She receives mockery even from the police. Des
A bit let down, review to come.

I finished this over a week ago and still am a bit ambivalent about it. Something for me, besides Elizabeth, was missing. I loved the concept of this story. Maude is creeping into the world of the unknown. She is kept adrift with sticky notes and routines. That in itself is terrifying, (as I look at all the reminders to myself tacked to the desk on a sticky note!) The author did a wonderful job of conveying that teetering on the edge feeling that so many elderly m
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy is a 2014 Harper Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

For me this was a stunning novel, not only as a mystery but one that gives an unique insight into the mind of someone dealing with dementia and the effects it has on them and their family.

When Maud who is 82 years old, realizes her friend Elizabeth is gone, she desperately tries to convey this to her daughter, Helen, who is her sol
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you have ever wanted to understand a person with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease, this is the novel for you. I am amazed at how Emma Healey got into the mind of a women declining into full-blown dementia. Healey writes Maud as the narrator of this novel. Through Maud’s musings the reader comes to understand how individuals suffering from dementia perceive the world. Healey’s stunning ability as a writer allows the reader to understand the anger and confusion of dementia sufferers. What th ...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
Maud has one of the most poignant, memorable and distinctive voices I've ever read. She's eighty-two years old and suffers from Alzheimer's disease, meaning that everyday life is struggle for her, although she doesn't always realise it herself. Maud buys tins of peaches even though she has a cupboard full of them. She makes cups of tea and leaves them to go cold. She has to be told don't leave the house, don't cook, don't keep calling the neighbours.

One day, Maud finds a piece of paper in her po
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2017
Talk about an unreliable narrator...

When we first meet Maud- the older woman seems kind and a little scattered. She flashes back between the past- when her sister, Sukey went missing and present day. Her friend Elizabeth is missing and she can't quite figure out what to do. Everyone she tells struggles to believe her and usually by the time she gets someplace, she quickly forgets why she is there. Maud struggles with the onset of dementia. Watching her spiral into her own head was heartwrenching
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Elizabeth is Missing is told from the perspective of Maud, an 82-year-old woman who suffers from Alzheimer. Maud is trying to lead her life as well as possible. With all her struggles there is one thing that bothers her in particular: her friend Elizabeth is missing. While trying to find her, Maud remembers another unsolved mystery from her youth: shortly after the end of WWII her sister Sukey disappeared never to be seen again.
As the story evolves, Maud’s condition slowly but steadily deterior
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, own-read
But it’s not true. I forget things—I know that—but I’m not mad. Not yet. And I’m sick of being treated as if I am. I’m tired of the sympathetic smiles and the little pats people give you when you get things confused, and I’m bloody fed up with everyone deferring to Helen rather than listening to what I have to say.

Elizabeth Is Missing is one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It is also one of the most unique ones. The story of this novel is quite simple: we follow our main character Maud, wh
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Emma Healey grew up in London where she studied for her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University East Anglia. Her first novel, Elizabeth is Missing, was published to critical acclaim in 2014, became a Sunday Times bestseller and won the Costa First Novel Award ...more

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“I remember when the houses used to whiz by as I walked—nearly running—to and from home. Ma would ask me afterwards about what I’d seen, whether certain neighbours were out, what I thought about someone’s new garden wall. I’d never noticed; it had all gone past in a flash. Now I have plenty of time to look at everything, and no one to tell what I’ve seen.” 23 likes
“But it’s not true. I forget things—I know that—but I’m not mad. Not yet. And I’m sick of being treated as if I am. I’m tired of the sympathetic smiles and the little pats people give you when you get things confused, and I’m bloody fed up with everyone deferring to Helen rather than listening to what I have to say.” 19 likes
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