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Missing Paperback – February 16, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem (February 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934609285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934609286
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sybilla may have been born to wealthy parents, but her home life was never easy, and she ran away at 17. Ever since, Sybilla has been homeless and living off the grid. Her peaceful existence comes to a sudden end when she is accused of murder and goes on the run, too scared to go to the police and clear herself but frantic to regain her carefully built life. Both a mystery (Who is really doing the murders?) and a psychological study (Why did Sybilla run from her family?), Missing heralds the arrival in the U.S. of another outstanding Scandinavian crime writer. Winner of the Glass Key Award in Sweden, this is a taut, riveting, and impossible-to-put-down story of a young woman caught up in a bad situation. Recommend to readers who enjoyed Petra Hammesfahr’s The Sinner (2007), for the similarly tormented female main character, and fans of Asa Larsson’s Rebecca Martinsson series (Blood Split, 2007), for a Swedish woman who must solve a crime that requires facing her painful past. Highly recommended for all crime-fiction collections. --Jessica Moyer --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

'Alvtegen powerfully evokes Sibylla's sense of persecution and conveys what it means to live as an outsider, without ever compromising this compulsive thriller.' Metro --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Well written, gripping with a satisfying ending.
Ginny Mapes
While the characters were well-developed, parts of the plot where a little too predictable and the ending of the book seemed too rushed to a neatly tied-up finish.
Sabrina Peters-Whitehead
Originally published in Sweden in 2000, Missing came out in the US in 2008 and is a finalist for the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Mystery.
Lucinda Surber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Linda Oskam on April 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Sibylla Forstenström is the daughter of a rich but insensitive merchant and his wife. After a depression and an unwanted pregnancy she flees as an 18 year old girl from her family and the institution where she is kept. She starts to live as a homeless person and is capable of taking rather good care of herself for 15 years. But then things go wrong: she is wrongly accused of murdering a businessman and while she hides from the police three other murders follow. In the end she is capable of unravelling the true cause of these murders with the help of 15 year old Patrik, who she meets when hiding in the attic of a secondary school.
This was a very entertaining introduction to the work of yet another excellent Swedish author of thrillers. Definitely worth a read.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Lucinda Surber on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Missing is the story of Sibylla Forenström, a 32-year old drifter on the streets of Stockholm. Dressed in her best thrift-store suit, Sibylla cons a wealthy businessman into buying her dinner and a hotel room in a fancy hotel. When the police arrive the next morning she assumes the con has been exposed and flees. But the man has been brutally murdered, and the police identify Sibylla's fingerprints and charge her with the crime, revealing that she disappeared from a mental institution 15 years earlier. Two other murders follow, and Sibylla, whose survival on the streets depends on her anonymity, finds she is now the most wanted criminal in Sweden with her face on every newspaper. A fortuitous encounter with a 15-year-old loner with computer talents provides Sibylla with an ally who is eager to help her track down the real serial killer. Throughout the book, Sibylla's past is slowly revealed, adding depth to this well-written thriller. Originally published in Sweden in 2000, Missing came out in the US in 2008 and is a finalist for the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Mystery.

[...]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sabrina Peters-Whitehead on October 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sybilla Forenström was born into a life of privilege; however, she left that life and has spent the last 15 years living on the streets of Stockholm, doing what she can to secure herself meals, a bed, and a bath. One evening, she charms a businessman into buying her a meal and a room for the night. Unfortunately, she wakes up the next morning to the police knocking on her hotel room door. Thinking she has been caught out as the homeless drifter she is, Sybilla slips by the police and out of the hotel only to later find the man who paid for her dinner and room had been brutally murdered.

Suddenly, after crafting a life as a loner living beneath the pulse of society, Sybilla finds herself the most wanted woman in Sweden as another person is killed in a similar manner and the killer leaves behind a note signed in Sybilla's name.

Overall, this book was enjoyable. I was intrigued with how Alvtegen built the character of Sybilla through flashbacks to her life as a child and an exploration of her relationship with her mother, a cold and manipulative woman. I also appreciated how Alvtegen built the world of the homeless and the drifters. Alvtegen created a world with hierarchies, even among the homeless by distinguishing the circles Sybilla ran in--those who chose to remain clean and neat and live by a code of leaving things as they found them if they "crashed" in someone's cottage or storage area (leave no trace behind) from those who chose otherwise.

While the characters were well-developed, parts of the plot where a little too predictable and the ending of the book seemed too rushed to a neatly tied-up finish.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ray J. Palen Jr. VINE VOICE on February 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just read Stieg Larsson I continued with my streak of Swedish-based mysteries with Karin Altvegen's "Missing", which has also been nominated for the 2009 Edgar Awards Best Novel.

The book is small and reads quickly almost like a novella (I can only wonder what may have omitted in translation). The story of a 32-year old willingly homeless woman named Sibylla who suddenly finds herself accused of being a serial killer is compelling.

The first half of the book jumps between present and past. In the present, Sibylla is on the run from the authorities who think she has committed several gruesome murders; in the past, a young Sibylla is tormented and mistreated by her Upper Class parents who force her to give up a baby conceived out of wedlock and eventually having her committed to an asylum. Upon getting out, she has avoided her rich family and chosen to live on the streets turning small cons in order to get by and find shelter.

Could Sibylla be responsible for these murders and are we reading about the thoughts of an insane killer? Or, is the murderer someone unsuspecting? The victims end up being part of a pattern that Sibylla and a 15-year old boy she befriends named Patrik, who helps her try to track the real killer.

Fast-paced and well plotted, I can see why Karin Alvtegen is called "Sweden's Queen Of Crime". Hope to read more from her!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy Henry TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
The complications of going off the 'grid': Sybillia is a homeless women whose entire life is anonymous and low key. Avoiding using her Swedish national ID card, she lives off her wits and a small sum her mother deposits in the bank each month.

For fun, she sneaks into fancy hotels, enjoying a plush bath and a warm bed before she returns to the street. However, after one such trip she finds herself accused of murdering a man staying in the same hotel. She has no defense, as she was there illegally, so she flees. She's identified by fingerprints and the manhunt is on: as she runs, other people are killed in similar ways. The national database provides her photo and life story, which is flashed on to the news.

In true The Fugitive style, she has to now find the actual killer in order to defend herself. This portion is the only weak area in the novel: it's almost too easy for her to solve it while the police haven't really investigated it once they found her as a suspect. The ending is only slightly surprising, but the fast pace and witty narrator makes this a pleasant read. Lightweight and fun...a nice break from the more depressing Scandinavian crime noir.
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