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This is the start of DS Manon series, and it is so good that I am eagerly waiting for the next one…

Blurb:

A MISSING GIRL
Edith Hind is gone, leaving just her coat, a smear of blood and a half-open door.

A DESPERATE FAMILY
Each of her friends and relatives has a version of the truth. But none quite adds up.

A DETECTIVE AT BREAKING POINT
The press grows hungrier by the day. Can DS Manon Bradshaw fend them off, before a missing persons case becomes a murder investigation?

Source:      Kindle Edition, 417 pages
Published  February 25th 2016 by The Borough Press
ASIN           B013XULIBI
Series:        DS Manon #1

What did I think?

I started off reading Missing, Presumed about a missing person and a team trying to find her or a body, and realised I had entered a complete world of people where each and every character’s lives are portrayed so thoroughly I was convinced they were real people.

Susie Steiner’s writing made me want to learn more about her; who is she, where did she get her ability to write about the quality of the human condition in such a sensitive and expert way? Then I see she has had a comprehensive career as a journalist/editor, figures, because she is a stunning writer. But most of all her humanity shines through.

The characters?

DS Manon is a wonderful character, a total shambles in her emotional life, great in her work life, then manages to mess everything with her colleagues in a drunken outburst in her opinion of them. There will be lots of readers cringing at this bit- with their own memory maybe?

As I say each and every character is special and I got to connect with them all.

What did I like best?

The writing. It is stunning. The insight is amazing.

I gave it 5 stars because anyone who slips in words such as: discombobulated, transmogrified, vertiginous, tessellates, and crepuscular, into their novel like a bet is a winner for me! Alright I know I should be better ‘dictionary’ read, but I am happy to learn new words this way.

There is a sense of urgency in the writing, a missing person – also a body of a boy turning up. Connected? Also another death. Investigations that spreads out from Cambridgeshire.

This is a book of total surprises and I had no inkling whatseover of the path it would take. Even half way through I had no idea but desperately wanted some fabric of it to unravel. Oh, so many guesses, so many red herrings led me to absolutely nowhere but still puzzling.

The fact that when the crime is solved the story continues, much as life continues is great. A tear jerking conclusion to the lives of the people involved. I needed that, I needed that continuation which felt so fulfilling and yet still not the end. There is going to be so much more…

There is a great dry sense of humour in the writing throughout making me snigger to myself as I read, if had not been reading it alone I would have had to share them.

There are some great lines that show why this is such an excellent read:

When an author can describe a person or a moment without doing so directly it is superb. This is Miriam a part time GP, mother of two, wife of surgeon to the royal family and this line is tremendously good in summing up how women’s lives change the birth of their children. Change who they are. Miriam is a character that many people will totally connect with.

“It silted up the corners of her mind until there was no space for anything else.”

Another of my favourite’s is a (non)description of Ian, the surgeon, her husband. I could see him when I read this:

“He has that curious inability that the upper classes have to wear casual clothes convincingly. She wonders if he emerged from his mother’s vagina in a sports jacket.”

These descriptions of people are pure delight to read. Okay I know I am gushing now but I really enjoyed this book, the writing blew me away. Things such as reading the juxtaposition about the stench of a really bad date and finding a dead body.

What was I not sure about?
At first I didn’t quite ‘get’ Manon, I didn’t quite connect to her then realised she was a mess and nobody could quite get or connect to her in her world, including herself. Superb!

My alternative brief on this book:

This book is a window on marriage after the kids have left, and how to survive it. It is also about relationships, and understanding oneself. Better than therapy – read this!

 There are many many main characters; in fact every character is a main character. Real people with peccadilloes, small triumphs and seeming failures of life, and unreachable goals. And then there are crimes to be solved that you will never guess. You will feel every setback and every development.

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Many many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. Next in the series please!

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