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What to Do When Someone Dies.

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,725 ratings  ·  218 reviews
What to Do When Someone Dies is another ingenious thriller from the best-loved, bestselling author, Nicci French

Ellie Faulkner's world has been destroyed. Her husband Greg died in a car crash - and he wasn't alone. In the passenger seat was the body of Milena Livingstone - a woman Ellie's never heard of.

But Ellie refuses to leap to the obvious conclusion, despite the
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Penguin (first published 2008)
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The Cats’ Mother
This is a standalone domestic suspense novel from husband & wife duo Nicci French: I've read several of theirs, with mixed results - Complicit was brilliant, but several have been harder to enjoy because of the unlikeableness of their heroines, and this was another. I picked this up at a charity book fair years ago, and it's been sitting on the shelf ever since; I chose it because it was short enough to finish within a day, as I wanted one more paperback for my book club this afternoon, and ...more
At first, I felt a bit at odds with What To Do When Someone Dies, mainly due to the clinical and dry attitude of its main character, Ellie. Starting from when two policewomen knock at her door and announce regretfully to her that her husband, Greg, has died in a car accident along with an unknown woman in his copilot seat, Ellie narrates her first person account of her refusal to believe that Greg had been cheating on her with the woman in his car, and of how she resorted to all sorts of things ...more
Suraj Kumar
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
What to do when Someone Dies is a novel with a gripping plot by Nicci French. It is aCrime Fiction, which keeps you engaged till the end. It is, indeed, a compulsive page- turner.

*The after and the before

What to do when Someone Dies is the story of Ellie Faulkner after her husband, Greg dies in a car crash. What makes this accident interesting is an unknown lady who was found dead along with Greg in his car. Ellie knows nothing about this mysterious lady called Milena Livingstone. Everyone comes
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Ellie hears a knock on her door, and it's her worse nightmare, 2 sombre policewomen with sympathy in their eye. Husband Greg is dead, a road fatality? It can't get any worse? That's when they tell her that a female body was found in the car too!

And tada... time for the Nicci French treatment - despite each and everybody accepting Greg must have been having an affair, Ellie refuses to believe it without proof. What to do when someone dies? And in almost Kafka meets Hitchcock reality Ellie does
Kaethe Douglas
That was a wonderful diversion from real life.
I love the idea of the French novels being written around and between and during family life. Sort of the opposite of work/life balance, or a return to an earlier version along the cottage industry model.And now I picture all the kids having their regular novel-production chores to do: and it's very silly, along the lines of gathering up the fresh supply of adjectives every morning, or by analogy with film making, doing the establishing shots without
Mar 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My first Nicci French novel, and will be my last, unless I'm stick in a snowed in airport for a day and there's absolutely positively nothing else to read except the signs. Formulaic and plodding, very few aspects of this story were interesting let alone thrilling, were plausible let alone truly believable.

The main character was clearly out of her mind, suffering from head trauma or just not very intelligent. Some of the characters around her made a little more sense, although what one of them,
Dec 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I always love Nicci French's novels. The narratives walk a line between horrifically unimaginable and absolutely plausible, so that you find yourself locking every door a bit more attentively when you've finished a book and watching for the details of daily life that can so easily turn against you.

One of the things this writing team does so well is show the survivor of crime as the only person with a true grasp on reality, while the rest of the world goes about its business, quick to label the
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is the first time I've read one of Nicci French's book, and I really enjoyed this book. It took me completely by surprise how the book finished. When Ellie started looking into the death of her husband, Greg, I really thought he was having an affair with another woman. What was interesting how the book explains what someone goes through when someone experiences a sudden death in the family. Yes, we can all come across as a bit mad and crazy when really it's grief. She clearly loved her ...more
Natasha May Anderson
I'm not entralled by the ending at all. I feel like I've just read words on a page, and it has been a waste of my time. I don't think I will pick up a Nicci French book up again.
Catherinehaine Haines
An interesting read about a women's husband dying in a car crash with an unknown women. This is the wife's quest to prove that her husband was not having an affair.
As a grieving widow I feel she was more worried about her husband not having had an affair. A bit concerned she fell into bed with somebody she hardly knew , so I can only assume she was in shock.
I feel it is worth reading ,and would say pick it up and decide whether it's for you.
Vincent de Paul
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What to do When Someone Dies by Nicci French is a gripping read, right from the beginning. When Eleanor Faulkner's husband dies in a fatal car accident, she doesn't believe that the woman whom he died with in the car was his mistress despite all the evidence staring at her that her beloved husband was having an affair. She becomes a sleuth, and a sloppy one at that, to prove to the world that her husband was not the man death was painting to be. As she goes on to unravel the truth, she is at ...more
Lorna Gilder
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Ellie's husband dies in a car crash with a woman who she has never heard of. She refuses to accept he was having an affair and dedicates her time to proving this.
Some twists make this a readable crime story although not always believable in parts.
Eden Thompson
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
From my book blog
Written by Nicci French, What To Do When Someone Dies is a very light mystery, more of a whats-going-on than a who-done-it.

Ellie Faulkner is told at her front door by two policewomen that her husband Greg has died in a fiery car crash. Shocking enough, but then she finds out there was another woman in the car named Milena. Who was she?
We follow Ellie as her friends comfort her, she plans the funeral, and goes through Greg's belongings for the
Rachael Hewison
For a thriller I didnt find it very thrilling. There wasnt really any suspense, excitement or even much of a suspicion of murder. I think it was mentioned briefly by Ellie about half way through but the rest of the novel just concentrated on her obsession with her husband and Milena, the woman he died with.

It was very slow going and not a lot was covered in the story. Ellie wavers between believing her husband hadnt cheated to thinking he had, does a bit of investigating and then the story is
This is only my third Nicci French novel and it's completely different to the first two books I read.

The beginning and end are the page turners that I've come to expect in a Nicci French story. Towards the end I became confused when Ellie's narrative turns into a stream of consciousness. It took me a few re-reads of the paragraph where this begins before I realised that Ellie is talking to her dead husband.

I found the middle of the story almost boring at times, and felt it wasn't grounded in
Andrea Hickman Walker
Sep 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I saw this as a movie and decided to see what the book was like. The book of course was different and better and more complex.

A very happily married couple say good bye to each other in the morning- he promises to be home in time for dinner. He isn't. She leaves him some scathing voice messages since he won't even pick up his phone. Then......

The police turn up at her doorstep, saying there has been an accident and her husband in dead and there is also a woman in the car with him (whom they
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
A competently written thriller undermined by the fact that after 5 pages you can pretty much figure out what will happen an 100 pages in you know with certainty. I guess the lack of surprises could be a surprise. But for much of book it's like there is a purple imp screaming from the pages it's me I did it look at me!.

In short the story starts when a woman is informed that her husband has died in a car crash and what appears to be worse is that there was a woman in the car with him. Everyone
Melanie Garrett
This started out with much promise. For the first half it's on solid NF territory, where a relatively normal fear (losing one's spouse) escalates into something much more sinister. The question is, what would you do if your spouse were to be killed in an accident, alongside someone you've never heard of, and it starts to become apparent that you've been living a lie without realising it? So far, so very NF. But the problem is that the things the heroine does do are just too far-fetched. While it ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd have given this 2 and a half stars if possible but since it's not worth three I went with this rating. It's different from other NF novels in my opinion.

The first few dozen pages are ok and interesting but the entire middle part bored me endlessly. I love Nicci French novels so this was quite the let down. In the end, I thought the plot was actually good and liked the way everything folded out. It was just getting there that was too painful.
Annette Rothery
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rather different scenario. More a "find the truth" than "solve the crime" story that I really enjoyed. I was as keen to find the truth as Ellie the principal character and Nicci French really did create tension, although I didn't know whether I was more frightened for her or by what she was doing and the trouble she could get herself into. If you like a mystery but want a change from the detective and whodunnit murder stories I can certainly recommend that you give this one a try.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a good story - husband killed in car accident with unknown woman in the car with him - his wife is then left to work out if her husband was having an affair and was her marriage all she thought it was. It is ruled as an accident but Ellie decides to believe in her dead husband and thinks it is murder. Off she goes sleuthing! I guessed before the end but still quite an enjoyable read.
Misha Fitt
Nicci French never let me down. i had read some bad reviews of this book, but those people were clearly on crack. it is everything i look for in a nicci french novel. the characters are always so interesting and appealing and ellie was all that and more. read it in a day and a bit.
J.A. Kerr
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book and love the way French weaves the story around tragic circumstances in a way that has you hooked from the start. Believable characters that you warm to and a plot that keeps you guessing although a little predictable at the end it makes for an enjoyable read:)
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book which is a real page-turner with a very good plot and a true insight in people's mind and feelings . I'd recommend it

Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific fast-paced thriller about a woman trying to find out
the truth about her recently dead husband.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Couldn't put down. Excellent.
Shayla Morgansen
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My uncle and cousin bought this for me a few years ago and I only just got around to reading it. I enjoyed this read, and found myself engrossed and wanting to know what would happen next. On the very first page, Ellie learns that her husband has just been killed in a car accident. What follows is a highly detailed account of her paralysing grieving process, as she first learns that he died with another woman, struggles to accept that he could have been betraying her, and then sets out to try ...more
Ellie's husband Greg was killed in a car accident - a very illogical car accident - and he wasn't alone. Ellie's grief is tempered by doubt (could he really have been having an affair?), anger (how could he leave her like this?) and a big dose of embarrassment that everybody thinks she must have been a fool to not know he was 'playing away'. But Ellie's not convinced about the open-and-shut-case that the police have presented. Surely she would have known. Surely she'd have sensed something.

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Note: (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French also write separately.)

Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.

In the early eighties she taught English Literature

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