First published: 2011
This is the story of two thirteen-year-old girls, Lizzie and Evie.
They are inseparable and best friends. Evie lives with her parents and her seventeen-year-old sister, Dusty, and Izzie with her divorced mother and her brother Ted. Lizzie and Evie worship Dusty as she is a beautiful girl who all boys are after. Lizzie likes Evie’s father very much, and she is kind of infatuated with him.
Then one day Evie goes missing. That afternoon Lizzie was waiting for her mother to pick her up to go to the mall, but Evie refused a lift. The police gets involved, and they ask questions to Lizzie. She starts remembering that there was a car t that she saw go past twice that day and some time ago she and Evie found some cigarette stubs, and she also remembers Evie talking about a man who kept watching the house at night. The police think that the person who might have taken Evie is Mr Shaw, an insurance agent. The man supposedly went to a conference and his wife hasn’t heard from him since. The police try to locate him. Even so, they think they are barking the wrong tree because everybody who knows Mr Shaw tells the police that the man doesn’t smoke. Then Lizzie finds some proof near his office and house that the police has missed. It is a packet of cigarettes, a lighter, and a newspaper clipping where a photograph of her and Evie appear. What she does then is to plant these things in a chute in her house, and using an excuse, she makes Mr Verver, Evie’s father, find them, so the police is after Mr Shaw again.
After Evie’s disappearance, Lizzie is there in her house with her father all the time, talking to him. She is happy to have his attention, and she really idolizes him. Dusty, who has taken her sister’s disappearance the hard way, is bitter and seems to be hostile towards Lizzie, begrudging the fact that she is in her house all the time. The relationship between the two girls is complex, as Dusty is quite ambivalent. One moment she is telling Lizzie about how clever she is , and the next minute she questions her findings. It is her desire to please Dusty that makes Lizzie try to get into Mr Shaw’s property. When she manages to sneak into the house, she is caught by his seventeen-year-old son Peter. He wants to talk to her, and he tells her that his mother has sent the police on a wild goose chase. He even tells her that his mother forced him to open his piggy-bank and hand in the money he had saved for a car, and then he sent it to his father. Now I wonder what Lizzie will do with this information. And where is Evie? Is it true that Mr Shaw has her? Is she all right? Or has he killed her?
The novel is interesting, but the style is a bit different, so it has taken me a bit to get into the plot. The way Lizzie perceives things is quite peculiar. I am intrigued to see what has happened to Evie. I even considered the idea that she might have left of her own volition because maybe there was something going on at home. But then this man, Shaw, wouldn’t be kept away and come forward to prove his innocence.