by Susie Steiner
Hardcover, 400 pages
June 28, 2016, Random House
I’m always excited at the prospect of a character-driven police procedural (especially if it’s British) and Missing, Presumed did not disappoint. The plot centers around a young woman who has gone missing after a night of carousing at her local university pub. Not an out-of-the-ordinary case, except that the missing woman is Edith Hind, only daughter of Sir Ian Hind, physician to the royal family. There were signs of a struggle at her home – broken glasses, blood, and tipped over furniture – but no ransom demands and no contact from Edith herself. The story itself plays fairly close to the traditional missing person mystery with lots of suspects, false leads, and juicy family secrets, but what really made it stand out were the wonderful characters.
The book is told from multiple perspectives, allowing the reader to get to know each character intimately. You hear all of their thoughts about the case, their boss, their significant others (including some particularly painful blind dates), and each other. Manon, the main character, is portrayed as both a tough and capable detective. At the same time, however, we get to see peeks at her private life, like her disastrous attempts at online dating. Davy, her partner, is an eternally optimistic man who worries about the plight of at-risk youth in the system and hides the miserable relationship he’s in with his long-time girlfriend. Even more minor characters are fully fleshed out and you get a good sense of what the squad room is like.
Despite being a rather traditional mystery, this book was quite socially aware and touched on some current issues like at-risk youth and how they’re shuttled through the system, the self-absorption and “cause hopping” of the idle rich, and the reasons some people turn to crime as a way of life (hint: they’re not all bad people). Of particular note was the reflection on how high profile cases are handled differently and how that effects the outcome of the case.
I enjoyed this book (and the next in the series) tremendously. I look forward to continuing on with this new mystery series.
What to Drink: Gin, neat, preferably Hendricks. You can add tonic but if the Queen can drink it straight, you probably should as well.
Backlist Bump: Anything by Tara French. Start with Into The Woods. You won’t be disappointed.
For more great reviews this month, check out Barrie’s Blog!
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(Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)