Review: The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Title: The Mystery of Mercy Close

Author: Marian Keyes

Published: Michael Joseph September 2012

Synopsis: I employ this thing called The Shovel List.’
‘A shovel . . . ?’
‘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.’
Meet Helen – youngest of the Walsh sisters and a law unto herself. She’s easily bored, has an inability to filter her thoughts and was fired from every job she ever had before she found her true calling as a private investigator. But times are tough for PIs and Helen’s had no choice but to take on the search for AWOL boyband has-been Wayne Diffney – The Wacky One. It’s not all bad this game of Where’s Wayne. It may have brought her charming crook of an ex Jay Parker back into her life, but it’s giving her an excuse to avoid the usual Walsh family dramas and the intense looks from her gorgeous boyfriend Artie that make her heart beat wildly with lust and panic in equal measure. But most of all it’s an excellent distraction from the huge swarm of black vultures gathering over her head. If she hides out in her target’s empty house on Mercy Close for long enough maybe they’ll go away . . .But as Helen begins to unravel the mysteries secreted on Mercy Close she discovers a kindred spirit in a man unwilling to be found. Could someone be telling her to look a little closer to home . . . Read an Extract

Status: Read from September 14 to 16, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Penguin Australia}

My Thoughts:
Watermelon introduced the Walsh family in 1995 featuring Claire, while subsequent titles focused on her sisters, Rachel ( Rachel’s Holiday), Maggie ( Angels) and Anna (Anybody Out There?). I was excited to discover that with The Mystery of Mercy Close, Marian Keyes, after a six year gap, features the last of the sisters, Helen.

The youngest of the siblings Helen Walsh has proved to be acerbic, strong-willed and a little eccentric during her cameo appearances in her sister’s books. After trialing a number of careers, Helen had finally found success as a private investigator only for the GFC to erode her client base. Now unable to pay her mortgage and with the fog of depression rolling in, Helen is forced to move back home with her parents, and keen that her lover of six months doesn’t learn the truth. When Jay Parker, an ex boyfriend, wants to hire Helen to find a missing member of the boy band on the comeback trail he promotes, she is is too tempted by the offer to double her fee to refuse. Wayne Difney proves to be maddeningly elusive though and with only days to find him, and an uncanny ability to alienate any possibly helpful leads, Helen is wary that she will break before the case does.

Helen is both a hilarious and sympathetic protagonist, brusque and cynical she is also vulnerable and fragile. The Mystery of Mercy Close has a serious issue at it’s core, as does all of the Walsh sister’s novels. While it is amusing that Helen adores a range of (house) paint with shades named Gangrene, Wound and Decay and loads her pockets with tins of strawberries in an attempt to drown herself, the author explores Helen’s struggle with herself, and others, as she tries to push back the dread and anxiety that is creeping over her. Helen is devastated that her battle with depression is not over after defeating an earlier episode that saw her hospitalised. Given Keye’s own admitted history with depression, such keen insight into her character’s illness should not be surprising.

While Helen’s journey, including the development of her relationships with Artie, Jay and her family, sustains the book, the plot surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Wayne Diffney provides a solid framework for the story. The Laddz, desperate for a successful reunion concert to reverse their fortunes, have their own secrets and Helen has to navigate their past to save their future.

I really enjoyed The Mystery of Mercy Close and fans of the Walsh sisters will be thrilled to see the return of the siblings. It’s not necessary to have read the previous installments as this is truly Helen’s book and works well as a stand alone, though fair warning, you will want more of the Walsh girls and Marian Keyes when you have finished.

My 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.’)

  • People who leave shopping trolleys in car park spaces even though the trolley return is just a few meters away
  • Any heel height above 1 inch (I don’t believe in them)
  • Brussel sprouts – ugh
  • Telemarketer phone calls at dinner time
  • Anyone who says they don’t have the time to read

Available To Purchase

@Penguin Australia I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia

Via Booko

@AmazonUS I @BookDepository

UK Cover

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelrainsnow
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 23:10:36

    Wow! I have not read any of these books, but I love the sound of this character…and the fact that there is a series about this family. It’s definitely going on my list. This part hooked me: “While it is amusing that Helen adores a range of (house) paint with shades named Gangrene, Wound and Decay and loads her pockets with tins of strawberries in an attempt to drown herself, the author explores Helen’s struggle with herself, and others, as she tries to push back the dread and anxiety that is creeping over her. “

    Like

    Reply

  2. Kate Loveday
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 08:59:26

    Sounds intriguing. I haven’t read any of the series but think I must start.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Imelda Evans
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 16:12:02

    I am saving up this purchase for when I finish my current ms. Best deadline incentive ever! I love Marian Keyes and she is at her absolute best when dealing with inner demons. Rachel’s Holiday is my favourite of the Walsh girls novels, but this one might just beat it. Brilliant review as usual, Shelleyrae!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 20:20:11

    I have been browsing this title and so am glad to hear you really enjoyed it. I enjoyed Rachel’s Holiday when I read it years back.

    Like

    Reply

  5. Trackback: My BookClub Reviews » Blog Archive » The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes
  6. Trackback: Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes | book'd out

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s