A student has been missing for 72 hours. Her parents are bearing up.
Detective Sergeant Manon is bearing down.
Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith, she starts to smooth out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.
Missing, Presumed is somewhat different from a lot of crime novels I’ve read recently. Yes, there’s a missing persons case, and Edith Hinds comes from a well-connected family, making her a high-profile ‘misper’. But this is more character driven than most.
We follow the investigation in the hours and days following Edith’s disappearance, but the focus is always on the characters’ lives and how they’re affected by the case. We follow the lives (and loves) of DS Manon Bradshaw as she follows up the clues, sparse as they are. Edith’s mother, Lady Miriam Hind and her relationship with Sir Ian. Edith’s best friend, Helena and the tabloids’ reaction to her friend’s disappearance.
There’s quite the supporting cast too – everyone is there for a reason, and they’re all well fleshed out, adding a depth to the story that you sometimes find lacking.
DS Manon is a fantastic character, and by far my favourite in the book. She feels like a real, complex person, likeable and warm, but prone to mistakes and missteps along the way. I really hope that we get to see more of her in future books.
If I had any quibbles with the characters, it would have to be Will, the boyfriend. He feels the least developed of them all and his story feels slight in comparison, though there are so many other great characters in the book that this could be easily forgiven.
The case itself feels realistic, from the initial flurry of activity in the hours following the discovery of Edith’s front door open, blood on the floor, to the gradual slowing down of the case as leads dry up, and the frustations of everyone involved. There’s also a nice bit of commentary on the struggles facing a police department beset by cuts in funding, but pressured by people with connections in high places to get the job done.
Missing, Presumed is not your average crime story, and I’d highly recommend it.
Missing, Presumed is published on 25th February by Borough Press. Thanks to Hayley at HarperCollins for the review copy. As always, the opinions in the review are entirely mine. The blog tour continues tomorrow at Boonsbookcase.blogspot.com. Enjoy!