All the Missing Girls Summary

Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls

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All the Missing Girls Summary

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All the Missing Girls a 2016 thriller/mystery by Megan Miranda. Following in the footsteps of popular reads like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, imperfect narrator Nicolette returns to her hometown under the ruse of helping her brother and father. Once there it becomes clear she has actually come to tie up the loose ends of a splintered past. In a unique literary twist, the book begins at its conclusion and is told backward in order to shift the focus to the narrator’s emotional journey and away from the resolution of heinous crimes.

The story begins when narrator Nicolette, or “Nic,” receives a phone call from her brother, Daniel, in the middle of the night. She decides to dismiss it until she worries there could be something wrong with him. His message indicates he needs help with their father, Patrick, who has dementia. She is on the fence about returning home until she remembers a mysterious letter from her father, which read, “I need to talk to you. That girl. I saw that girl.”

She leases her apartment for two months and says goodbye to her fiancé, Everett, who does not know her real motives for returning home. She drives through the mountains towards her hometown of Cooley Ridge and memories of her past start to flood her. When she arrives, Daniel has already started packing their father’s belongings. Nic notices that someone has removed the old photographs from the walls in her room, all of which featured her friend Corinne who disappeared ten years ago. Daniel wants their father to sell the house, but he refuses to sell it.

While at home Nic runs into her old flame from high school, Tyler. She discovers he is dating her neighbor, a woman name Annaleise who was used as Nic’s alibi on the night of Corinne’s disappearance. Nic goes to the nursing home and confronts her father about the letter he wrote her. Her father says he saw Corinne, but Nic knows this is not possible, and attributes his confession to his dementia. Soon after Nic’s arrival in town, Annaleise also disappears, prompting police to suspect Tyler.

The story now starts over, at day 15 of the investigation of Annaleise’s disappearance. Everett, Nic’s fiancé, comes to Cooley Ridge to help Nic. He does not know about Annaleise’s disappearance, even though she has been gone for two weeks. Nic had also lied to Everett that she “lost” his engagement ring, but Annaleise had actually stolen it from her. He encourages Nic to return home with him and seek medical help because she looks weak. Nic reveals that she is pregnant with Tyler’s baby and breaks up with Everett. She decides to stay in Cooley Ridge even though she hates it.

Nic does not believe that the police have sufficient evidence to make any progress on Annaleise’s case. She has trouble sleeping at night. One night she hears a sound and follows it outside, realizing that someone has been snooping around Annaleise’s house. Nic, believing it is Tyler, goes to find him but comes up empty-handed. Instead, she runs into Jackson, who was Corinne’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance a decade ago. The pair goes to Tyler’s together to look for him, but he is gone. While Jackson and Nic catch up, Jackson says he had been unaware Corinne was pregnant at the time of her disappearance. He says the baby could not have been his because they had never had sex. Jackson doesn’t know that Nic had been lying to him over the years about Corinne’s pregnancy.

Nic wakes up at Tyler’s apartment after having spent the night with him. She receives a phone call from a concerned Everett. Unbeknownst to Everett, Nic had been returning to Cooley Ridge over the years to sleep with Tyler. Tyler tries to convince her to stay for good this time but she refuses and they fight. Tyler decides to break off their relationship. Tyler and Nic both show up to search for Annaleise in the woods the second day after she disappears. Nic isn’t very committed to the rules of the search and ends up at a motel. Nic and Daniel begin to suspect that Laura, Daniel’s pregnant wife, is Annaleise’s killer and hide the gun that she used for the murder. Laura says she killed Annaleise in order to protect her unborn child from Daniel and Nic’s heinous family secret.

Because Nic is engaged to Everett, Annaleise falsely assumes that Nic has money. Annaleise comes to Nic’s house in the middle of the day and threatens to blackmail her. She claims she has proof that Nic’s family was involved in Corinne’s murder. She has old pictures she took the night Corinne disappeared that show a dead body on their front porch. She also reveals she has been blackmailing Patrick. At this point, she steals Nic’s engagement ring, which Nic had taken off while cleaning.

Nic flashes back to ten years earlier when Corinne disappeared at the fairgrounds. That night Corinne had taken Daniel’s side in an altercation and was also pushing Nic to do things she wasn’t comfortable with. Later in the evening, as Nic is driving home with Tyler, she sees Corinne hitchhiking on the side of the road. Nic decides to hit Corinne with her car in revenge. She brings the body home and her father helps her bury it under the porch, revealing why her father did not want to sell their house.