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BOOKS Reviewed by Roz Masters Ex Libris Emma Healeys debut novel Elizabeth is Missing was wanted by nine different publishers. Like Gillian Flynns Gone Girl it is about a missing woman but here the protagonist and narrator is 82-year-old Maud who has dementia. The TV rights have already been sold. In the prologue Maud is in the garden of her only friend Elizabeth where she finds a piece of an old compact mirror. This foreshadows the two mysteries examined in the novel - what happened 70 years ago and what has happened to Elizabeth Maud is obsessed with Elizabeths disappearance and is determined to find clues so that she can solve the mystery. She goes to the police for help but they dont take her seriously as she cant remember that she has already been there on several occasion. She buys endless tins of sliced peaches and writes notes to herself to remind her what she is not allowed to do for safety reasons not to buy any more peach slices and that Elizabeth is missing. Maud is not a reliable narrator with regard to Elizabeth but what she can remember very well is the time her older sister Sukey vanished in the 1940s. The story moves between the present day and the past when Mauds beautiful sister was married to Frank a removals man involved in the black market who her family suspected over her disappearance. In an interview Emma Healey said that she had been inspired by watching her grandmothers struggle with dementia. The author gets inside Mauds head and we share her confusion some of her experiences are funny and some upsetting. Although the novel is a moving story of what it feels like to have dementia it is also a gripping thriller. Unforgettable. Beatrice isnt going to get married. Benedick isnt going to get married. Particularly not to each other. Absolutely no way. But Hero IS going to get married to brave Claudio or so she believes. So thats all sorted then Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeares best-loved comedies and rightly so. The central story of Beatrice and Benedick two intelligent and independent people in love but not admitting it is completely up-to-date. The story of Hero and Claudio more nave lovers has darker overtones of jealousy and revenge forcing Benedick to make a choice between his wife- to-be and his best friend. Director Richard Moon has set the production in modern day Messina in Sicily. He says Shakespeare set the play in Messina and I took the view that he knew what he was doing while performing in modern dress makes the characters real and present. The joy of Shakespeare is that he lets us engage with an audience in ways that are frowned on by later authors. We can have a lot of fun along the way. The production features original songs by renowned singersongwriter Juliet Lawson who appears in the production as Balthazar the musician. Much Ado About Nothing is at The Place Theatre Bradgate Road Bedford MK40 3DE 21-24 October 2015. Wednesday to Friday performances at 7.30pm Saturday performance at 3pm. Tickets are 9.50 8 concessions from www.theplacebedford. or call 01234 354321. The Bedford Drama Company present William Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing