Cooking the Books while Elizabeth is Missing.

Elizabeth is Missing.That’s a great title, isn’t it? What a hook? You can’t help wondering who Elizabeth is and what’s happened to her.

Emma Healey‘s beautifully crafted book broke my heart a little bit, as all good books should.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

Maud is 82 and confused. Sometimes she can’t quite recall what the machine for heating bread, you know, making it brown, is called. Sometimes she’s not certain who that young woman in the kitchen is. And why are there six cups of cold tea lined up on the hall table?

There is one thing of which Maud is absolutely certain; Elizabeth is missing. Elizabeth is not at home and her nasty son is acting suspiciously. The problem is that nobody will listen to Maud anymore. They won’t believe her and it’s very difficult to solve a mystery when the clues, a powder compact and a hair comb, don’t make sense and, furthermore, she can’t quite remember who it is she’s searching for. She has to rummage in her pockets to find the note she wrote to remind herself. Who was it that’s missing? Oh yes, that’s right, Elizabeth.

Oh Lord, this was heart-wrenching. To be honest, I wasn’t too concerned about Elizabeth. I guessed that she was either dead or grand. It was Maud’s loss that squeezed my guts – her loss of memory, loss of dignity and loss of identity.

If I were to cook a dish to represent this book, it could only be tea and toast as that’s about all Maud is up to.

Elizabeth is Missing is an intriguing and satisfying but, ultimately, terrifying read.

Notice how dark this photo is? It was snowing outside the window, just inches from the cup, when I took it. Perfect weather for tea and toast. My job has a lot of perks.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Speaking of which, I have exciting news for you. Well, it’s exciting for me but you’re welcome to come along for the ride.

As you know, I have been reviewing books for Bookwitty for a while now. I love it SO much. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, my dream job. I can’t believe my luck. Now, it gets even better because they have trusted me with a regular slot, combining my two favourite things in the world: books and food. You might almost call it a column although I’m wary of recalling my Carrie Bradshaw aspirations.

Every month I will write about a book and include a recipe that bears some relationship to that book. It might be a dish that was cooked in the book or it might be a representation of my own devising. I’m SO excited about this as I have already LOVED writing this type of blog post.

Remember A God In Ruins and a Far Breton.? People should eat more Far Breton. It’s great for readers due to the absence of crumbs! I also loved doing The Improbability Of Love On First Dates. That was an ideal book and an ideal recipe for Valentine’s Day if any of you are thinking that far ahead.

My Prue Leith review with a recipe for Mozzarella in Carozza  was the spark for the whole column idea. In December, I cooked some honey-soaked Greek cookies . For diet-conscious January I suggest puffy chouquettes as featured in Muriel Barbery’s Gourmet Rhapsody. These light-as-air morsels could hardly be considered a sin.

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Plans are afoot to have something naughty prepared in time for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a sneak (and, again, snow-lit) preview. I started re-reading this book last night. I’ve noted on the first page that I read it for the first time, as a barely legal 19-year-old in 1991. It still has the power to make my heart race. I must be still alive then.

Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

I feel that my brain has been packed away in wadding for the past two decades while I have been raising children. Slowly but surely now, it is coming out of hibernation. This, this blog, the book reviews and the interaction with you, feels to me like a small miracle and I am very grateful.

Tete a tete narcissus, table-top daffodils.

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16 thoughts on “Cooking the Books while Elizabeth is Missing.

  1. That’s great news, well done you, I’m so pleased you’ve got the opportunity to write about something you love. I always enjoy your book reviews, you write them so very well. Congratulations again! CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, CJ. Sometimes, I’m halfway through a book and still clueless as to what I will say about it but something usually rises to the top. I’m still faking it but having loads of fun! Lynda.


  2. Hi, I haven’t commented in a long time, but LOVE reading your blog. I love your colorful stories. I just finished a book you might have already read, but it made me think of your fun style. It’s called My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman. After I was about a third of the way in I couldn’t put it down. You probably don’t need another book on your list, but this one is very fun and different. There’s something funny to me a bout a Swedish man being the voice of a seven year old girl!
    Freezing and sick of snow in Idaho…Melanie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Melanie, lovely to hear from you again. I’m always delighted to get good book recommendations and this looks like a brilliant one. I’ve stuck it near the top of the list! Hope the snow lets up soon! Lynda.


  3. This is great news! I shall be looking out on BookWitty and on your blog for these fine morsels and I am sure I will have an unseemly drool when I read the recipe as well as lapping up the cue book. I can’t tell you, by the way, how many people I have recommended Elizabeth is Missing too. That Emma Healey was less than 30 when she penned it speaks volumes for her talent as an observer and portrayer of characters and I shall follow her progress with interest. The book is a little gem, I think and one that has a sad modernity to it as we become more and more engrossed in dementia which is surely the new plague ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Osyth. Dementia is a terrifying disease. I had never thought of the phrase ‘the new plague’ but you are, as ever, accurate. I very much admired the quiet tone of this book as well as the incredible skill in illustrating the advancement of the disease. As you say, Emma Healey is one to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How exciting….I look forward to enjoying and following your new “column”….I am so happy for you…..I am going to read Elizabeth is missing…..sounds interesting and a good read……xxxkat


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