Finding Sophie

A Novel

About the Book

Two parents conduct an increasingly desperate search for their missing daughter in “a clever, chilling thriller that is also unexpectedly moving” (Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of Everyone Here Is Lying)

“Imran Mahmood is the only author writing about a missing person who deals with grief this well. I loved it.”—Gillian McAllister, New York Times bestselling author of Wrong Place Wrong Time

Someone is guilty.

For the last seventeen years, Harry and Zara King’s lives have revolved around their only daughter, Sophie. One day, Sophie leaves the house and doesn’t come home. Six weeks later, the police are no closer to finding her than when they started. Harry and Zara have questioned everyone who has ever had any connection to Sophie, to no avail. Except there’s one house on their block—number 210, across the street—whose occupant refuses to break his silence.

Someone knows what happened.

As the question mark over number 210 devolves into obsession, Harry and Zara are forced to examine their own lives. They realize they have grown apart, suffering in separate spheres of grief. And as they try to find their way back to each other, they must face the truth about their daughter: who she was, how she changed, and why she disappeared.

Someone will pay.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Harry and Zara, and in a dual timeline between the weeks after Sophie’s disappearance and a year later in the middle of a murder trial, Imran Mahmood’s taut yet profoundly moving novel explores how differently grief can be experienced even when shared by parents—and how hope triumphs when it springs from the kind of love that knows no bounds.
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Praise for Finding Sophie

“This novel is so smart and the plot twists blew me away. Imran Mahmood is the only author writing about a missing person who deals with grief this well. I loved it.”—Gillian McAllister, New York Times bestselling author of Wrong Place Wrong Time

“A clever, chilling thriller that is also unexpectedly moving.”—Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of Everyone Here Is Lying

Finding Sophie is a rare accomplishment, by turns a heart-stopping thriller, a heartfelt mystery, and a powerful study of grief, hope, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child. It’s brilliant.”—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End

“An exciting and compulsive read—Mahmood has surpassed my expectations with an astonishingly twisty tale of despair, deception, and desperation.”—Liz Nugent, author of Strange Sally Diamond

“Beautifully written, visceral, evocative, and compelling, but with a plot that keeps you guessing to the end . . . So much more than a legal thriller, Finding Sophie is a work of pure brilliance.”—Janice Hallett, internationally bestselling author of The Appeal

“This thrilling and emotional roller coaster moved me to tears with its powerful portrayal of the agonies of parental love and loss. Imran Mahmood has excelled with this clever, heart-breaking thriller, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell.”—Jo Callaghan, author of In the Blink of an Eye

Finding Sophie is a domestic noir objet d’art—brilliant, bated-breath stuff.”—Helen Fields, author of One for Sorrow

“A powerful and beautifully written thriller.”—Vaseem Khan, award-winning author of the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency novels
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Finding Sophie


Old Bailey

Courtroom Three

I’ve been waiting six months for my trial but now that I’m here I can’t contain the panic blooming in my gut. I am in the glass-­walled dock of Court Three of the Old Bailey. The courtroom, paneled in satinwood, is cavernous. The desks in front of me cascade gently down four rows, narrow and impractical looking. In the distance the judge’s bench is attended by a pair of empty red leather chairs. The room brims with decades-­old scents.

I am drowning.

My barrister, Stan Stevens, is middle-­aged with streaks of silver in his otherwise black hair. He is small but he bristles with energy as if permanently plugged into a power source. His voice is shrill and sometimes he shouts, even at me, his client. But I like him. There’s always a gleam in his eye as if he knows things nobody else does. He barrels toward me and slaps his hand on the glass wall.

“Jailer. Can I speak to my client? Just in here is fine.” The security guard opens the door to let him in and then locks it again.

Stevens sits next to me, eyes flashing. “Okay. I don’t want you to react to the prosecution speech. I know this prosecutor. He’s a tit but he’s not stupid. I mean, he’s not as clever as me but he is cleverer than you. Don’t give him an excuse to stitch you up. And when the jury comes in: don’t look at them.”


“Because if you’re looking at them, they’ll think you’re trying to get their sympathy. Juries don’t like being played.”

I nod but can’t help noticing the slimness of the black file in his hand as I do. It seems almost empty.

“Have we got any more from Braintree?” I ask him.

“Braintree, the OIC? I thought he was called Brown or something.”

I’ve had to learn this new language. OIC—­officer in the case. “No, the cell-­site expert,” I say slowly.

He riffles through the few pages in his file. “Don’t worry about the cell-­site stuff yet. That’s days away. We’ll get a witness batting order soon and I’ll see when he’s on. We can talk about cell-­site the day before he’s due to give evidence against you. No point doing it sooner.”

“She,” I say pointedly. “Braintree is a woman.”

“That’s what I said. She. The judge will be in soon, so I better get back,” he says, and exits the dock. The door behind me opens, but before I can turn to see what’s going on, Stevens returns. “And don’t object to any of the jury when they are being sworn in. They’ll ask if you want to object but you’re not allowed to. It’s just a convention. It’s stupid, I know.”

I agree quickly so that I can finally turn and see the commotion behind me.

My heart stops.

This is only the second time in my life that this has happened.

A loud bang from deep inside the courtroom starts my heart again. There is a collective scrape as everyone shuffles to their feet. The judge, a small woman with the face of an owl, takes up the central red chair.

The usher shouts, “Would all persons having business in the Central Criminal Court this day draw near and give your attention. God save the king.”

I can’t believe it’s come to this.

About the Author

Imran Mahmood
Imran Mahmood is a practicing criminal barrister in England and Wales with over thirty years’ experience fighting cases. His debut novel, You Don’t Know Me, was chosen by Simon Mayo as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice, longlisted for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA Gold Dagger Award, and shortlisted for the Glass Bell Award. Its hugely successful television adaptation reached number three in the world on Netflix charts and received a BAFTA nomination for best actor. Mahmood was born and raised in Liverpool and now lives in London with his wife and two daughters. More by Imran Mahmood
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