A young woman vanishes. A smear of blood in the kitchen of the house she shares with her boyfriend suggests a struggle. As soon as DS Manon Bradshaw sees the photograph of missing Edith Hind - a beautiful Cambridge post-grad from a well-connected family - she knows the case will be big. And she's right: pressure soon mounts from the media and from on high. Can Manon see clearly enough to solve the mystery of Edith's disappearance? Can she withstand intimidation from Sir Ian Hind, Edith's father, who has friends in high places? And when a body is found, will it mean the end or just the beginning?
HarperCollins Publishers Limited
8 Reader Reviews
Neither crime nor literary fiction
I received an uncorrected proof of this novel from Dymocks and was excited when I read the obligatory “well-known author” quote on the back which read ‘Missing, Presumed hits the sweet spot between literary and crime fiction’. The novel started well and I thoroughly enjoyed the first 30 odd pages however, what followed for me was far from literary or crime fiction. So what is literature or literary fiction? Subjective terms perhaps, but most commonly descriptors of written works which are usually considered to be of superior or lasting artistic merit. There were certainly a lot of descriptions, adjective overload, hundreds of pages of carefully drawn images of everything from secret santa presents to broccoli and overflowing frothy coffee cups.
To say that this is a character, rather than crime driven plot is a gross understatement. As I struggled through detective Manon Bradshaw’s romantic frustrations, internet dating sagas and ongoing relationship drama’s I became increasingly irritated and asking, often out loud, when will this return to the crime? Even if I commend the expression of Bradshaw’s lonely (and dedicated) existence through her need to fall asleep to the tones of the police radio there were too many other lost opportunities. There was so much potential here for a clever and nuanced exploration of snippets of information, including the “victims” PhD topic - the fight against the patriarchy in Victorian literature, her feminist beliefs and her social conscience within the crime element of the novel. They are certainly present, in the background, but the juxtaposition of these, the character of the mother, the role of the father, and the protagonist’s lack of romantic entanglement and loneliness was clunky.
Perhaps I missed something. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I know others have written how much they enjoyed this book and were surprised by the twists at the end. For me even the twists, which were not that unexpected, came too late, after too many pages of Manon Bradshaw and as an anticlimax – an almost oops better return to the crime and finish that off! Just as “literature” is a subjective term so too, thank goodness, are a readers interpretations and impressions of a book. Missing Presumed had some very readable sections, but for me was neither crime nor literary fiction.