Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Missing, Presumed review – lonely detective seeks EM Forster fan…
Susie Steiner’s second novel rises above more two-dimensional crime fiction by focusing on the little details that bring characters to life
Susie Steiner has a real knack, sometimes missing in police procedurals, for shading in the throwaway details about a character that turn them from two-dimensional into three. Whether it’s her police protagonist, DS Manon Bradshaw, a single 39-year-old who listens to her police radio to help drown out the loneliness while she goes to sleep, or the story’s victim, 24-year-old Edith Hind, an earnest Cambridge postgrad whose PhD is on the fight against the patriarchy in Victorian literature, she breathes life into them all. Missing, Presumed, Steiner’s second novel after the more literary Homecoming, is told from differing perspectives, all jigsawing together to make a whole. Manon scrambles out of bed after another disappointing one-night stand (he talks about newts and splits the bill to the last penny), and rushes to the scene when she hears about a missing female in Huntingdon. It’s the case she’s been waiting for. Miriam, scraping out the remains of monkfish stew from her Le Creuset in Hampstead, is pondering the aloneness of married life when she and her husband learn their daughter Edith is missing. More