An immigrant’s mysterious death sets off a chilling hunt for the truth in this gripping crime novel from the author of Missing, Presumed, featuring a “delightful protagonist who deserves a place alongside other beloved literary detectives” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Newly married and navigating life with a preschooler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job that allows her to potter in, coffee in hand, and log on for a spot of Internet shopping—precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance. But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she’d assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child while in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couples counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.
But when Manon is on a walk with her four-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job full-force, trying to solve the suicide—or is it a murder—in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.
In this brilliant crime novel from the author of Missing, Presumed, a detective investigates her most personal case yet: a high-profile murder in which her own family falls under suspicion.
“[Susie] Steiner populates this hot-button narrative with achingly human characters, but no one compares to the hormonal, mordantly funny mom-cop who will stop at nothing to save her son.”—People (Book of the Week)
As dusk falls, a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls, cradled by a stranger, a woman’s name on his lips in his last seconds of life.
Detective Manon Bradshaw handles only cold cases. Five months pregnant, in pursuit of a work-life balance rather than romantic love, she’s focused on being a good mother to her two children: her adopted twelve-year-old son, Fly Dent, and the new baby.
But the man died just yards from the police station where she works, so Manon can’t help taking an interest. And as she sidles in on the briefing she learns that the victim, a banker from London worth millions, is more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. When the case begins to circle in on Manon’s home and her family, she finds herself pitted against the colleagues she once held dear: Davy Walker and Harriet Harper.
Can Manon separate what she knows about the people she loves from the suspicion hanging over them? Can she investigate the evidence just as she would with any other case? Persons Unknown shows acclaimed author Susie Steiner writing her most intricate, suspenseful novel yet.
Praise for Persons Unknown
“A police procedural as concerned with the mysteries of human hearts as with who stabbed a banker to death at a park in Cambridgeshire. [Full of] winning prose, sympathetic characters and an appreciation of life’s joys as keen as a knowledge of its dangers.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Susie Steiner blends the police procedural and the human drama perfectly.”—The Charlotte Observer
“[Steiner] has created a masterful mystery within an engaging narrative perfect for Kate Atkinson fans. Readers will be astonished by the unexpected turns at the conclusion, which will leave fans eagerly awaiting the next book. This series needs to be snapped up by the BBC or PBS.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[An] engrossing stunner, incorporating social justice issues into the narrative, along with superb plotting, dark humor, and excellent characterizations.”—Library Journal (starred review)
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A page-turning mystery that brings to life a complex and strong-willed detective assigned to a high-risk missing persons case
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • NAMED ONE OF THE 10 BEST MYSTERIES OF THE YEAR BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“An extraordinarily assured police procedural in the tradition of Ruth Rendell and Elizabeth George.”—Joseph Finder, author of The Fixer
“Surprise-filled . . . one of the most ambitious police procedurals of the year. Detective Bradshaw’s biting wit is a bonus.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Missing, Presumed has future BBC miniseries written all over it.”—Redbook
“A highly charismatic and engaging story.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This combination of police procedural and an unfolding family drama that continuously twists and turns will work well for fans of Kate Atkinson and Tana French.”—Booklist
At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.
Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows that this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.
The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family but for Manon herself.
Suspenseful and keenly observed, Missing, Presumed is a brilliantly twisting novel of how we seek connection, grant forgiveness, and reveal the truth about who we are.
Praise for Missing, Presumed
“Smart, stylish . . . Manon is portrayed with an irresistible blend of sympathy and snark. By the time she hits bottom, professionally and privately, we’re entirely caught up in her story.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Nuanced suspense that’s perfect for Kate Atkinson fans.”—People
“Drenched in character and setting, with pinpoint detail that breathes life and color into every sentence.”—The News & Observer
“You might come to Missing, Presumed for the police procedural; you’ll stay for the layered, authentic characters that Steiner brings to life.”—Bethanne Patrick, NPR
“Where [Susie] Steiner excels is in the depth and clarity with which she depicts her characters. . . . It all adds up to a world that feels much bigger than the novel in which it is contained.”—The Guardian