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Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Missing, Presumed

by Susie Steiner

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Quick take

Every cast member is full of surprises. All of them have secrets...My suspicions kept shifting as I read.

Why I love it

A beautiful young Cambridge grad named Edith Hind, vanishes from her house on a snowy winter night, leaving behind her cell phone, her keys, her coat, a broken wine glass, and some drops of blood. Surely the culprit must be her handsome boyfriend? Or, her needy best friend? Or, the affable cold-blooded killer just out of prison? Or?

One tantalizing thing about Missing, Presumed is that the mystery feels as though it should be easy to solve. It's a hard whodunnit to puzzle out. The author embeds clues in intricate psychological portraits of each of her characters. Every cast member is full of surprises. All of them have secrets and most are characters prone to telling half-truths. My suspicions kept shifting as I read.

Our hero—the reader's best hope for a satisfying resolution to the case—is Manon, a smart, lonely, bitingly funny detective with Scotland Yard. Manon navigates the stress, bureaucracy, and cafeteria meals of her job to solve some of the agency's most vexing mysteries, and spends her free time going on terrible internet dates.

Although Edith is offstage as the plot develops, Manon's dogged and deft investigation allows us to develop a portrait of the missing woman: clever, earnest, and spoiled, a little dramatic and a little self-dramatizing, capable of immense selfishness and endearing kindness, of callousness and tremendous feeling. The characters' competing perspectives on Edith and her motives keep the story speeding forward. The many false leads along the way add to the excitement.

Ultimately, the beauty of this book is less about plot than about its insights into unexpected connections between people. Whatever resolutions the characters may find by the end of the book are not the kind they've been seeking—or the kind we're expecting.

Touches like these elevate Missing, Presumed far beyond a boilerplate police procedural into a work of art. Weeks after I finished reading I still find myself thinking—wondering—about the characters. And hoping for a sequel.

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Member ratings (1,668)

  • Kristie S.

    Westbrook , ME

    Susie Steiner is a phenomenal author and the police procedure of this novel is the backdrop to a powerful story about the expectations placed on women. Fantastic writing and nuanced characters. Loved.

  • Maggie R.

    Owasso, OK

    This book was very slow for me at first, but at one point something snapped in me and I could not put it down! I was very surprised when I found out what had actually happened to Edith. Great read!

  • Rachel C.

    Dothan, AL

    A pleasant surprise this book turned out to be! I've had many good reads this year and this one definitely reminded me how much I enjoy a well-rendered, character-driven police novel. Great read!

  • Samantha C.

    Oklahoma City, OK

    This book made me think of Sherlock Holmes, while also bringing me back to reality with the descriptions of the life of Manon - I related to her because of her determination to do what is right.

  • Tanya S.

    Saline, MI

    It's rare to stumble upon a police procedural as well-written as Susie Steiner has created with this book. Reminiscent of Tana French, the characters will stay with me long after I finished.

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