Two women in Maud’s life have gone missing many decades apart. Maud is concerned something terrible has befallen both. She is consumed by the disappearance of her friend Elizabeth and is suspicious that her son Peter may have killed her. Also what happened to Maud’s adored elder sister Sukey who has also ‘disappeared’ from her life? In her 80s and suffering from dementia, Maud tenaciously investigates what has happened to these two women whilst battling many of the challenges posed by dementia such as short term memory loss and agitation.
The author shows how frustrating it is to not be taken seriously or understood both by your family and the world at large. She sensitively looks into the ‘puzzle’ of dementia and makes you understand that Maud’s thoughts whilst often confused are not without foundation or logic. I especially loved the author’s delicate touch in portraying Maud and her family. The grace and love with which Maud’s daughter and granddaughter respond to her is balanced realistically with the exasperation and frustration they experience in coping with Maud’s dementia. While a novel from the viewpoint of a woman with dementia could be depressing, I found it just the opposite, despite Maud’s cognitive losses, she remains independent and determined, in fact at times her actions and comments are laugh-out-loud funny.
The two mysteries will keep you guessing right up until the end, but it’s the relationships, past and present, that make Elizabeth Is Missing a fabulous read.