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400 pages, Hardcover
First published February 25, 2016
Her lonely bench, police blue, on a deserted Sunday platform; wondering what’s left in the fridge for tea. The problem of food, for one: it symbolizes everything. She wants delicious morsels, yet cooking for herself is so defeating: a surplus of ingredients, the washing-up unshared, and the sense that it doesn’t matter—the production of it or whether it’s nice. The daily slog of being alone washes over her on the cold latticed bench, the sense of being unassisted in the minutiae: broadband down; washing machine stuck on the spin cycle. Oh yes, people spoke of their freedoms—no one to answer to!—but there was such a thing as a surfeit of freedom, a sort of weightless free fall through nothing.As with most procedurals there are two tracks. First is the presenting mystery. What happened? What was done, how, why, and by whom? A young woman may be missing but the presenting mystery is a delivery mechanism for our real story, Manon. A good novel of this sort must not only present an engaging mystery, one that invites us to sort out the clues along with the coppers, but it must offer us an investigator we want to follow. Missing, Presumed presents a pretty good puzzle, but the real strength here lies in Steiner’s heroine.