Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

When Will arrives at the house he shares with his girlfriend Edith, he is shocked to find the door ajar and blood in the kitchen.  Edith is missing.  All of her belongings – her coat, her phone, everything – are still in the house, but of Edith herself there is no sign.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw throws herself into the investigation, and everyone is aware that in the case of a missing person, the first 72 hours are critical.

As the investigation progresses, multiple lines of enquiry are opened, and Manon discovers that many of those who are closest to Edith have things to hide.

I really enjoyed Missing, Presumed.  At the outset, I was expecting a fairly standard police procedural, but this delivered a little extra.  Beautifully written, it has a tone of dark humour running through it that I really enjoyed.

There are several possible explanations as to what happened to Edith and red herrings aplenty – the ultimate conclusion was completely unexpected.  This isn’t a novel where the body count doubles with every chapter, but is more character driven than some other crime novels that I’ve read.  That’s not to say that the case is a secondary element to the novel, because it isn’t, but the team dealing with the case have their own lives going on, each with their own problems, and these glimpses of them out of their uniform really helped to round out the characters.

This was true of Manon in particular.  Flawed (all fictional detectives seem to have some skeletons in the closet) but likeable, her heart is ultimately in the right place, and she is willing to go above and beyond in order to get a result.  Extremely unlucky in love, her experiments with internet dating were amusing if occasionally cringe worthy, and I couldn’t help but warm to her from the start.  I hope that Steiner will provide a follow up to this novel – I’d love to know what Manon gets up to next!

Missing, Presumed will be published on 25 February – many thanks to the team at Harper Collins for providing a copy for review.

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