The Missing Person's Guide to Love

Susanna Jones

04 July 2008
288 pages


Isabel, Owen and Julia were childhood friends. But when they were fifteen, Julia disappeared without a trace – an event that had a devastating impact on the others.

Years later, Isabel returns to her home town in the north of England for Owen’s funeral. She hadn’t seen him since they recklessly burned down the local supermarket together; he was sent to prison and she, just shy of her 18th birthday, to a young offenders’ centre. Isabel suspects that Owen was responsible for Julia’s murder, and she’s hoping finally to find some kind of resolution.

Feeling cut off from her husband and child in Turkey, and awash with unexpected memories, Isabel ventures further into the murky depths of her past. But nothing is as it seems – either past or present – and as Isabel’s world unravels we finally realise the stunning, shattering truth . . .

'Exquisitely written yet utterly chilling, this will keep you gripped from start to finish; a potential book-group classic' Elle magazine

‘Anyone familiar with Jones’s two previous books will know that, in her deliciously disorientating fictional worlds, nothing is ever quite as it seems… Jones is a mistress of disguise, not just in her characterization and plotting, but in her blurring of the divisions between right and wrong. Hers isn’t quite the deliberate amorality of Patricia Highsmith, but she similarly denies us any easy options when it comes to taking sides for or against her protagonists. With Isabel, in The Missing Person’s Guide to Love, Jones has fashioned her most complex, involving heroine yet and by far her most audacious sleight of hand in terms of a storyteller. To call it a twist would be to devalue what is really a hidden undercurrent of the whole narrative; nevertheless the revelation, when it comes, is breathtaking’ Literary Review

‘Exquisitely written yet utterly chilling, this will keep you gripped from start to finish: a potential book-group classic’ Elle

‘An intriguing tale… An engrossing read, and one that’s quite mysterious at times, this is a book that you won’t be able to put down’ Easy Living

‘Mesmerising mystery… Disturbing and intriguing’ Woman & Home