The 1980s: Ten-year-old Kate Meaney - with her 'Top Secret' notebook and Mickey her toy monkey - is busy being a junior detective. She observes goings-on and follows 'suspects' at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping centre and in her street, where she is friends with the newsagent's son, Adrian. But when this curious, independent-spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.
Then, in 2004, Lisa is working as a deputy manager at Your Music, a cut-price record store. Every day, under the watchful eye of the CCTV, she tears her hair out at the behaviour of her customers and colleagues. But when she meets security guard Kurt, she becomes entranced by the little girl he keeps glimpsing on the centre's CCTV. As their after-hours friendship intensifies, they investigate how these sightings might be connected to the unsettling history of Green Oaks.
Catherine O'Flynn was born in Birmingham in 1970, where she grew up in and around her parents' sweet shop as the youngest child of a large family. She has been a teacher, web editor, mystery customer and postwoman. What Was Lost won the Costa First Novel Award 2007 and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for the Orange and Man Booker prizes. She is the author of two further novels - The News From Where You Are and Mr Lynch's Holiday.