Book Review: The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Emma Codd

Currently based in the delightful town of Motueka, Emma is pursuing her passion for the written word and yoga teaching. Her motley background and eclectic interests provide Emma with much to write about many things, which she mostly does online. She is also busy unleashing her inner fiction writer.

Marian Keyes, Ireland’s No.1 bestselling author, needs no introduction. She returns to our shelves with her new novel, The Mystery of Mercy Close, which marks the return of Dublin’s much beloved Walsh sisters, this time with Helen, the youngest of the five, in the spotlight.

Thirty-three year old Helen Walsh is a fearless, wasp-tongued private investigator, who plays by her own rules, and keeps a shovel list: a list of people and things she hates so much that she wants to hit them in the face with a shovel. She has also had to move back into her old room in her parents’ house because she can’t afford to pay the bills for her flat. So, when Helen’s ex-boyfriend, Jay Parker, shows up with a big roll of much-needed cash, Helen is forced to take on the task of finding the missing Laddz boy-band member Wayne Diffney.

As Helen is drawn into the world of glamour, celebrity, and “has-been” stardom, she increasingly feels that the only person she can relate to is Wayne, the man she is looking for, and has never met. All the while, this feisty young woman is falling prey to her own mind, and slipping deeper and deeper into a dark depression.

The Mystery of Mercy Close is a chick-lit novel of its own kind, with a heroine unlike any you’ve met before. Do not be misled by the title of the book – it perfectly captures the tongue-in-cheek, satirical wit that propels this novel. Although connected to her previous Walsh sister novels, there is no need to have read these to appreciate this stand-alone story. In spite of being more drawn out than I felt it needed to be, I was compelled to keep on reading. With her use of witty dialogue and quirky characters, Keyes finds the perfect balance of pathos, humour, and sexiness.    

At its core, this is a story about a real-life, tangible heroine who is dealing with serious issues, and trying to figure out her way through life. Keyes is a wonderful writer whose novels seem to get more and more meaty over the years. Her latest novel is clever, genuinely funny, and poignantly moving, and does not disappoint.  

Ireland’s Marian Keyes’ international bestselling novels include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, and The Brightest Star in the Sky

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