“I employ this thing called the Shovel List.”
“No. A Shovel List. It’s more of a conceptual thing. It’s a list of all the people and things I hate so much that I want to hit them in the face with a shovel.”
Helen Walsh doesn’t believe in fear – it’s just a thing invented by men to get all the money and good jobs – and yet she’s sinking. Her work as a private investigator has dried up, her flat has been repossessed and now some old demons have resurfaced.
Not least in the form of her charming but dodgy ex-boyfriend Jay Parker, who shows up with a missing-persons case. Money is tight – so tight, Helen’s had to move back in with her elderly parents – and Jay is awash with cash. The missing person is Wayne Diffney, the ‘Wacky One’ from boyband Laddz. He’s vanished from his house in Mercy Close and it’s vital that he’s found – Laddz have a sell-out comeback gig in five days’ time.
Things ended messily with Jay. And she’s never going back there. Besides, she has a new boyfriend now, the very sexy detective Artie Devlin, and it’s all going well, even though his ex-wife isn’t quite ‘ex’ enough and his teenage son hates her. But the reappearance of Jay is stirring up all kinds of stuff she thought she’d left behind.
Playing by her own rules, Helen is drawn into a dark and glamorous world, where her worst enemy is her own head and where increasingly the only person she feels connected to is Wayne, a man she’s never even met.
As i stated in my previous blog post (Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes), Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors. However i’m not so sure if it is a good idea to get to know an author and then try and read their books.
The Mystery of Mercy Close follows the story of the youngest Walsh sister, Helen. Having read all of Marian’s other books, all of the other Walsh sisters already have their own book. Helen pops up in them, so you know her, just not intimately. I had been hanging out for Marian to write Helen’s story as I LOVED all of her other books involving the Walsh family.
To be honest, i was disappointed. And i really didn’t want to be. I don’t want to be. It makes me sad that i am because i have absolutely adored all of her other books. One book even helped me to deal with some issues in my own life (that’s another story).
As a stand alone book, it is a great story. It’s really enjoyable, good for a laugh and deals with some hard things in life that a lot of people are afraid to talk about. However as the last Walsh sister’s book, i felt it fell short. It was good, however i think it could have been AMAZING.
Also i understand that a lot of authors write from their own experiences (not all) however i felt like i was reading Marian’s story rather than Helen’s. Everything that she had been through in the past couple of years came out in this book (and i know this because i have read her newsletters and i follow her on Twitter). I also felt like the Helen in this book wasn’t the same Helen in the other books. I know that the other books were from the other sister’s perspectives and Helen wasn’t a main character but nothing of what came across in those books, came across in this book. And i know that when you suffer from depression, it alters you, so Helen wouldn’t be exactly the same, however it felt too much like Marian and not Helen.
I also felt that even though the book talked a lot about depression, there wasn’t as much depth as there is in her other books, which also bring up serious issues such as alcoholism. I cared about what happened to Helen, however i didn’t experience any other emotions. In her other books i’ve loved, hated, screamed at, cried with etc. whereas this one i barely felt a single emotion. My husband pointed out that maybe she wrote it that way on purpose because depression doesn’t necessarily mean you are sad. Like in the book, to some it feels like you are in a constant out of body experience, detached from yourself and everyone around you. I don’t know.
I feel that if the main character in this book was not a Walsh sister, especially the last Walsh sister, i wouldn’t have minded so much. I’ve just been anticipating Helen’s story for so long that to have it fall short, well it is a great disappointment.
There was also a little bit of sex in the book. It wasn’t too explicit, except for one scene, which made me really uncomfortable. It was so out of the blue. And then it ended and there was nothing like it again. It was almost as if the book was written and then the publishers said, “There’s no proper sex scene in it. People want sex. Write in a sex scene.” It didn’t flow at all. Now, as you know i don’t enjoy reading books with sex in them, however i feel that someone who didn’t care would agree with me that it seemed a bit disjointed.
Even though i don’t feel as a stand alone book, this is her best, it is still enjoyable. And if this is the first book your read by Marian Keyes, and you find it’s not a great book, give her another chance and read one of her older books.