Kate Meaney is a ten year old girl who lives a solitary life; she fills her life with surveillance of banks and keeping notes in her detective's journal. Her pursuit in life is to prevent a bank robbery and to become a famous detective. She is pretty much left to herself and she wanders the streets and mall freely. Kate does befriend one girl at school in a distant sort of way and in the end Kate leaves this friend a priceless gift...the gift to escape her abusive life through education.
This young ten year old detective one day disappears and her body is never found. An adult friend is taken in and questioned and blamed for the murder, but no proof is ever found, so no charges are ever laid.
The book jumps back and forth from 1984, 2003 and 2004. The first part of the book has us following Kate around town with her stuffed monkey performing detective work; it is quite charming and heart breaking, because she is so isolated from real childhood. Kate disappears and then the book follows characters that were affected or involved in some way with her disappearance.
I found myself laughing at some of the retail experiences in the book, they could only have been written by someone who has experienced the retail world first hand, and it turns out that Catherine O'Flynn at one time was a record store clerk. "What Was Lost" does have a depressing look out on regular everyday life and it seems to portray the idea that we all generally live in drudgery; hopefully we do find more joy in life than this book portrays. All in all it was a great story and it made me ponder about my life and the life of others and it has inspired me to "carpe diem".