Amelia Earhart, D.B. Cooper, and Jimmy Hoffa are among many whose mysterious disappearances have significantly added to their fame.
They are joined in this exploration of missing people by the two young princes who disappeared from the Tower of London in 1483; Barbara Newhall Follett, an author who went missing in 1939; and William Morgan, who may have been murdered by Freemasons in upstate New York in 1826. Guiberson first provides extensive background information on the missing people, then turns to each disappearance and, eventually, explores efforts to find the missing. The stories are presented in often confusing prose that too frequently combines poorly structured sentences (“A body for William Morgan was never found”) and occasional sentence fragments (“That she was full of energy and new ideas and would never quit”). Budding sleuths who may hope to learn about efforts to solve these intriguing mysteries will be disappointed, as the focus is nearly all on the protagonists’ lives rather than their disappearances. The chapter on Morgan interrupts the tale of his disappearance to spend 14 pages on a history of Freemasons. When Morgan again becomes the primary topic, passing references to key players and locations (“the sheriff” and “the icy river”) serve merely to confuse. A thorough bibliography is helpfully subdivided by subject.
An uneven and ultimately disappointing exploration of an interesting topic. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)