Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.
A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her.
It’s been a while since I’ve become so gloriously engrossed in a novel all the way through; Susie Steiner’s writing is brilliant and she has created the first in what is bound to be a brilliant new police procedural series, akin to other series I love such as Susan Hill (Simon Serrailer), Kate Atkinson (Jackson Brodie), Peter James (DI Roy Grace) or Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks) series.
The main allure of this novel is the fantastic characterisation. Most of the officers and detectives that are working on the main case are all so well-crafted and convincing that you never for a minute doubt that they could exist in ‘real life’! Manon is really likeable despite being a bit cold towards others at times, and I really felt for her towards the end of the novel. Various other characters really grew on me as I read on, and by the end I wanted to adopt Davy and take him home!
Steiner also includes so many little details that you might assume would be too much, but actually just make you feel like you’re there with the characters and really relish what’s happening. Part of the novel is actually set in Huntingdon, which is very near to where I grew up, so I enjoyed reading about an area that I had some knowledge of- though Missing, Presumed perhaps doesn’t paint it in the most positive light! Still, it is a crime novel… despite its genre, there didn’t feel to be any unnecessary dramatics or over-exaggerations. Obviously the fact that Edith has disappeared and her family are devastated about it is, in itself, rather dramatic but this does happen and the way the investigation is laid out for the reader manages to be both convincing (or as far as I would assume it to be!) and interesting. It’s not so realistic that it takes out the gripping element to the story, which is definitely there in full force, but the pacing is slower than many police procedurals move along at- to me, it’s just right. I didn’t want this to end so really took my time with it, but still ended up racing through it as I didn’t want to put it down!
Fans of well written, authentic crime/ police novels: this is definitely for you! Highly recommended, and I’m now hugely looking forward to the second in the ‘DS Manon Bradshaw’ series!
Many thanks to Mumsnet Bloggers Network and Harper Collins for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review