Publisher: Random House
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery
For readers of Kate Atkinson and Tana French comes a page-turning literary mystery that brings to life the complex and wholly relatable Manon Bradshaw, a strong-willed detective assigned to a high-risk missing persons case.
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.
This blurb instantly caught my eye while browsing Netgalley, especially with the comparison to Tana French. I fell in love with her Dublin murder squad series last year and am eagerly awaiting her newest release. I’m pleased to say that the comparison is valid and fitting.
From the start, you think this may turn out to be a standard missing persons novel. Which is fine, I read quite a few of those, but as the story unfolds, you realize that there is far more to the story than just the mysterious disappearance of Edith Hind. The characters drive this story, and though the mystery plays an important role, there is so much more to be offered.
Told from several POV; Manon, her coworker Davy, Edith’s close friend Helena, her mother Miriam, and Edith herself, things are rapidly paced and the chapters flow seamlessly while revealing personal aspects of all of these characters that fascinated me.
Manon is quite the character. She is a police officer who is overwhelmingly lonely and longs for a companion, someone who can bring some joy and light to her oftentimes dreary existence. At thirty nine, she is desperate enough to try online dating and I really enjoyed following along with her on her forays into this odd world. Over the course of the book, Manon’s humanity is deeply developed and she is so very easy to identify with.
Davy isn’t quite as developed as Manon, but as I just read that Steiner is turning this into a series, I can see her exploring his character more in the future. I loved how his optimism balanced out Manon’s jaded outlook. Speaking of balances, some police procedurals/crime fiction novels can be a bit dry, but this book maintained a nice balance between the dry parts by showcasing the characters.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.