Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Author Marian Keyes is back with a book featuring the Walsh sisters, The Mystery of Mercy Close. Four of the authors prior novels have featured the Walsh sisters - Watermelon, Angels, Rachel's Holiday, and Anybody Out There - each focused on one on this sisters and this last one focuses on the youngest, Helen.  A private investigator in Dublin, Helen's business has been suffering due to the tough economic climate in Ireland. She has gotten behind on her mortgage payments and ends up having to move back in with her parents. She is feeling pretty low because of her change in fortune when an old friend asks for her investigative assistance in finding the lost member of a reunited boy band.

Wayne Diffney from the boy band, "The Laddz", lives on Mercy Close in Dublin. He mysteriously disappears a week before the band's big reunion. Jay Parker is producing the reunion show and he contracts Helen to find Wayne urgently. Helen put aside her own personal struggles to try to focus on the mystery of the disappearing "boy band" member. In an effort to try to understand Wayne's state of mind before his disappearance, Helen spends a lot of time in his house on Mercy Close looking through his records and generally trying to determine what was going on with Wayne before he left or was abducted. Having recently lost her own home, she develops an unusual attraction to Wayne's home and starts to feel very comfortable there.

In between searching for Wayne, Helen is spending time with her boyfriend Artie. Unfortunately, things with Artie are also a bit complicated. With three young children that spend a lot of time at his house, there is very little along time for Artie and Helen. In addition, Artie's ex-wife is on very friendly terms with Artie and is constantly there. Although Helen likes her, she could do with seeing a little less of her. The undercurrent to all  these problems is Helen's state of mind. She is grappling with depression and it colors her view of everything including her relationship with Artie and her job as a private investigator.

My Thoughts
I have long been a fan of Marian Keyes and especially her Walsh sisters series; I wrote in this post about Marian Keyes's "skillful chicklit". So I was excited to learn that the author was back with a new book and it was about the youngest Walsh sister, Helen. Unfortunately, however, this book just didn't work for me. Helen's hi-jinks all seemed contrived and where I usually find wit in these books, I found that the jokes fell flat. The book also seemed inconsistent - at varying points in the book, Helen's issues with depression would come up but they didn't seem authentic and, at times, I felt she trivialized a very serious condition. There is even a suicide attempt in the book that seems very ill-placed. The author has been very public about her own struggles with depression so I am surprised at the lack of authenticity in the sections of the book dealing with depression. Or maybe this genre is just not conducive to such a serious topic. Either way, I am disappointed that this book didn't wow me as the others have done.

Not everyone felt the same as I did - you can check out other opinions at Chick Lit Central and Novelicious.

I received an e-galley for review via Netgalley


  1. The rev

    Have a good week Colleen.iews do seem mixed on this one, but I may still give it a try this summer.

  2. Ooo sounds like a pass. Thanks for your honest review. The cover is nice.

  3. Sorry this one didn't meet the author's standards.

  4. I haven't read it, so I shouldn't really comment. I will say that I normally love Marian Keyes work and I am looking forward to reading this one. The reviews have been mixed for it. I have found that depression does tend to be treated lightly in chick lit, I think because almost every heroine in chick lit will go through some event and be "depressed". I don't think it is a good genre for a serious discussion of depression.

  5. Nice review -- have never read Keyes at all but I know folks really like her stuff!

  6. I love mysteries and this seems like something I would read. You might like a book I am finishing up right now called "Life's Blood" by Gordon Gumpertz. It's a really great read, here's his website if you're interested, http://www.tsunaminaturaldisaster.com/. Thank for the honest review, I hope you're next read is better!