Leah's Reviews > The Mystery of Mercy Close

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
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Sep 12, 2012

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bookshelves: books-read-2012, for-review
Read from September 12 to 16, 2012

Marian Keyes is a Chick Lit stalwart. Her books have sold millions and she’s a firm-favourite with most Chick Lit fans, even more so because of her Walsh family novels, which each feature a different Walsh sister – Claire, Margaret, Rachel and Anna and, now, Helen. The Mystery of Mercy Close is Marian’s first novel in two years and this time it’s Helen’s turn in the spotlight, and as far as I was concerned it couldn’t have come quicker as Helen has always been a bright spot whenever she featured in her sisters’ books with her wit and her fabulous job. I was really excited to see what Helen’s book would be about, and as soon as my copy arrived, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Helen Walsh is a private investigator whose work has dried up. The recession has hit and people just don’t need PIs any more. To make matters worse, Helen is back at home living with her parents after her flat was repossessed so when her ex, Jay Parker, gets in touch telling her he’s got a job for her, she’s wary but knows it means real money. So she takes the job and soon finds herself looking for Wayne Diffney, from boyband Laddz. The Laddz are staging a reunion gig and Wayne has gone missing, and needs to be found ASAP. As Helen finds herself connecting with the missing Wayne, she begins to wonder just why he’s disappeared and if they may have more in common than she previously thought.

The Mystery of Mercy Close was a bit of a strange novel. It wasn’t a bad novel. But it didn’t really blow me away. Because of the subject matter, because of what Helen suffers from, it’s a very dark novel and as such, at times, it is a hard novel to read. I’ll be honest, when I read a Chick Lit novel I do LIKE problems, I do like characters to struggle with things, but mostly I read books for entertainment and I felt that (rightly) Helen’s problems were at the forefront of the novel and so it didn’t really entertain. (Again, that’s right, really.) I liked the search for Wayne, but that’s all I can really say, I merely liked the novel. I didn’t love it, it didn’t blow me away, it wasn’t even close to Rachel’s Holiday or Anybody Out There? both of which I absolutely adored.

Helen was – and is – a great character. She’s the type of character that really does stand out and I did feel really, really awful with what she was struggling with, and Keyes wrote it excellently (her writing talent is never in doubt). I feel bad saying it but I just didn’t feel connected to the characters – Mammy Walsh was relegated to just a few pages and the rest of the Walsh sisters, too. For a family that are as close as the Walsh’s (even if they won’t admit it and regularly treat each other poorly), I just felt like by accident or design, Helen had sort of pulled herself away from everyone and as such the book lacked because of that. It lacked because the humour wasn’t really there, and I just wanted to see more of the Walsh’s as well as Helen. The only character I really liked and felt like I knew was Artie, Helen’s boyfriend, I thought he was really, really great. He was so sweet and lovely and I wish he had been utilised so much more.

The Mystery of Mercy Close is a difficult book to review. There was nothing wrong with it. Truly, I have no REAL complaints. I was always reading it and the chapters just flew by. It just didn’t hit me the way other Keyes books have. I can totally appreciate that the subject matter isn’t something that can go alongside humour and laughter and stuff, but it just lacked the humour for me. Marian is known for marrying her serious topics with her humour and only the serious topic was there, sadly. I’d probably say it’s not the Marian novel to start with if you’ve never read her before – start with the aforementioned Rachel’s Holiday – but for Marian’s legions of fans, then they will read this and it is a good novel, it is well written, it just didn’t grab me like her other books have.
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message 1: by Caz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Caz Lopez Why 3 stars? X

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