books of the month book price comparison
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Reader Reviewed
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing

Literary Fiction   All Shortlists and Winners   Debuts of the Month   Family Drama   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Lovereading view...

Runner-up for the Betty Trask Award 2015.

One of the Top 10 Lovereading Reader Review Panel Summer Read selections.

Eighty-something Maud is getting forgetful and so writes notes to herself. ‘Elizabeth is missing’ is one such note which Maud then becomes obsessed with for Elizabeth is indeed missing. She tells her daughter, the police, anyone who will listen. Maud is suffering from dementia which gets gradually worse throughout the book. Her daughter has to eventually take her in … and still, for Maud at least, Elizabeth is missing. For us, the reader too, only we do discover why. Slowly we get Maud’s back story and a strange mystery about her sister and her very dodgy husband. All becomes clear in a startling conclusion. The stages of dementia are thoroughly explored in a thoughtful, impressive manner. A fascinating debut. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2014.

The Costa Judges said Healey's book was “Utterly captivating and original.”

One of our Books of the Year 2014.

One of the Top 10 books in the Lovereading Readers’ Choice Book of the Year 2014.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. At nearly ninety, Maud forgets where she is or why she has gone out, or when her daughter is coming, so she writes herself notes. When she visits her friend Elizabeth and she is not in, she writes a note: ‘Elizabeth is missing’. Although this continues to disturb her, no one will take her seriously. The narrative moves between the old forgetful Maud and a young Maud, remembering how her older married sister went missing. This is a magnificently assured debut from an intuitive writer.
~ Fiona Lafferty

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Phylippa Smithson - 'This was one of the most frustrating books to read, and in my top ten of books ever read.' Read full review >
  • Alan Brown - 'A brilliant observation of the changing mind of a dementia sufferer masquerading as an average crime fiction story. Original.' Read full review >
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'I was totally blown away by the original style of the narration...Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healy holds some wonderful writing.' Read full review >
  • Suzanne Beney - 'A slightly melancholy tale, that’s also surprisingly uplifting.' Read full review >
  • Victoria Emerson - 'a wonderful debut novel..I really liked this book.  It was well written and I was interested in the characters from the beginning to the end.' Read full review >
  • Ann Alderton - 'A well-written, well-plotted, warm and gently humorous story that inhabits the darkest depths of a mind damaged by dementia...One of the best books I have read in a long while.' Read full review >
  • Celia Cohen - 'Heartbreaking but immensely readable. An excellent debut novel.' Read full review >
  • Sarah Harper - 'Maud is a fighter, she knows something's not right and she's not going to give up until she's found her friend. Expertly written, insightful and suspenseful. An absolutely stunning book.' Read full review >
  • Sue Broom - 'Emma Healey has a lovely writing style, gentle and whimsical, and I particularly enjoyed the inner voice she has given to Maud, at every stage in her life.' Read full review >
  • Julie Bickerdyke - 'What a wonderful, funny, moving book...Emma Healey has incredible talent and this is a stunning debut novel...I cannot recommend this book and author highly enough.' Read full review >
  • Ruth Carson - 'Elizabeth is Missing is a great debut novel by Emma Healey about an elderly woman, Maud, and her family struggling with the effects of dementia.'  Read full review >
  • Samantha Chan - 'It's not often that you come across a completely unique book. This is definitely one of them...I was extremely impressed when I saw that this is the author's debut novel.' Read full review >
  • Katherine Barber - 'An intriguing mystery story following Maud, an elderly lady suffering from Alzheimer's.' Read full review >
  • Carol Attridge - 'A great book that keeps you guessing with a story line running in two eras! With great insights in to the world of dementia!' Read full review >
  • Suzanne - 'An unusual tale that can be funny, sad and very thought provoking, I have really enjoyed it.' Read full review >


Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Meet Maud. Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud...


'A thrillingly assured, haunting and unsettling novel, I read it at a gulp.' Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

'Elizabeth Is Missing will stir and shake you: the most likeably unreliable of narrators, real mystery at its compassionate core...' Emma Donoghue, author of Room

'Resembling a version of Memento written by Alan Bennett.' Daily Telegraph

'One of those mythical beasts, the book you cannot put down' Jonathan Coe, author of The Rotters Club

'Every bit as compelling as the frenzied hype suggests. Gripping, haunting.' Observer

'If you're after a read you can't put down, then look no further.' New!

About the Author

Emma Healey

Emma Healey grew up in London where she completed her first degree in bookbinding (learning how to put books together but not how to write them). She graduated from the MA in Creative Writing: Prose at UEA in 2011. Elizabeth is Missing is her first novel and was published in June 2014.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

1st January 2015


Emma Healey

More books by Emma Healey
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...


Penguin Books Ltd


304 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Debuts of the Month
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



The best new books on the market, reviewed honestly, to give your readers the best choices.

Julie Cook

Lovereading always comes up with great suggestions and has introduced me to enjoyable books and new authors to discover.

Gaynor Passmore

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges