- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: Michael Joseph; 1 edition (3 July 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780141043098
- ISBN-13: 978-0141043098
- ASIN: 0141043091
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 440 g
- Customer Reviews: 969 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Mystery of Mercy Close Paperback – 3 July 2017
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The Mystery of Mercy Close is the tale of strong and sassy but vulnerable, private detective Helen Walsh who is looking for a missing person - but can she find him before she loses herself?
'I have a habit of taking instant dislikes to people. Simply because it saves time . . .', from the publisher's description
When it comes to writing page-turners that put a smile on your face and make you think, Keyes is in a class of her own, Daily Express
Zips along with engaging characters, fabulous plotting and spot-on dialogue. Marian Keyes: what a genius, Daily Mail
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Top international reviews
Marian Keyes is a prolific and phenomenally successful author, and someone I've always found interesting, funny and immensely likeable. I follow her on Twitter, I've read and seen countless interviews with her and I've found her to be perceptive and articulate on all manner of issues. Despite this, while I've read plenty of her non-fiction, I've never read any of her novels. I'm now wondering if the aforementioned cover art has subconsciously put me off, but that's by the by: I've now read The Mystery of Mercy Close and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I've mentioned before that I like Nick Hornby, Helen Fielding and John O'Farrell and if I had to categorise this book I would put it in a similar category - very funny, intelligent and astutely perceptive on all manner of serious issues. At the start of the book, private investigator Helen Walsh has fallen into financial difficulties during the recession and is forced to abandon her Dublin flat and move back in with her parents while she undertakes a job for her shady ex-boyfriend, Jay Parker.
Parker is the manager of an Irish boy-band, Laddz, who are about to embark on a high-profile reunion tour which could make him an awful lot of money. But one of the band, Wayne (the wacky one - as Helen points out, "in all generic boy bands, you have five types. The Talented One. The Cute One. The Gay One. The Wacky One. And the Other One") has disappeared, and it's up to Helen to find him. The investigation then expands to involve a large cast of characters, all of whom seem to leap fully-formed from the page no matter how small a part they play in the story, thanks to Keyes' ability to build a full picture of a person with just a few perfectly chosen details.
What really made this book stand out for me is, however, is one particular thing about the main character: she is severely depressed. She's not simply sad because she's lost her flat. She's not sad because she's worried about her boyfriend's infuriatingly close relationship with his ex-wife. She is clinically and severely depressed - suicidal, in fact, and this isn't glossed over.
Marian Keyes has been very open in the past about her own experience of depression and I think it will help some people to know this when they read the book - particularly if they don't feel that Helen would be capable of functioning as effectively as she does while going through a depressive episode. Helen's depression isn't, perhaps, quite what some readers might expect of someone in that mental state, but I personally found it to ring very true. "I've heard people say that having depression is like being hounded by a big black dog," says Helen. "Or like being encased in glass. It was different for me. I felt more like I'd been poisoned. Like my brain was squirting out dirty brown toxins, polluting everything - my vision and my taste buds and most of all my thoughts."
Marian Keyes is particularly good at capturing the sheer absurdity of depression, from the constant sense of impending doom to the incessant pressure to take up yoga. It's a myth that people with depression are constantly serious, and Helen is more than capable of being flippant and wry about her illness, as many of us are. I don't think, in fact, that I've ever read an account of depression that matched so closely with my own experience - and yet at no point did I find it uncomfortable to read.
I don't think there are many writers who would be capable of writing a book about someone suicidally depressed in a way that's laugh-out-loud funny but never insensitive or crass, but Marian Keyes manages to do so with remarkable warmth, honesty and charm. I loved this book, and I'll definitely be reading more of her fiction.
I was really looking forward to the final Walsh sister's book, having fallen in love with their whole family and I was not disappointed here. Helen has never been my favourite character, as despite being hilarious she always seemed a little superficial, but I think that is because she has always been a background figure. This book changes that and brings new dimensions to her character that make her much easier to relate to and shows depths that I was really surprised by.
The story itself will give long-term Marian Keyes fans a thrill as it brings back Mammy Walsh who is always a winner and provides some proper laughs. It also gives a really honest portrayal of depression, and doesn't pull any punches in showing just how bleak and hopeless it can make you feel. I think this is handled really well, and sensitively. Although Marian isn't shy in describing how wretched it is to have depression, as per usual the really heart-rending moments are interspersed with some light comedy and therefore it isn't too heavy a read as the humour lifts the darkness and gives it a good balance. Helen's thoughts are also hilarious as usual despite some of their blacker moments. She really is a great character and I am glad that she finally got her turn. The mystery element was also fun and took away some of the glamour that I'd imagined private detectives having!
I would recommend this book to most people, especially Marian Keyes fans. She really has a knack of writing about difficult subjects with flair and I think this is probably a mixture of her natural talent and having to navigate herself through similar difficulties. Her books remain well written despite her own problems and I think this is a testament to how good a writer she is. She is still able to bring the reader right in to the story, even after all these years.
Sadly, I found it very disappointing and it was very hard to get through. The storyline about Laddz was farcical and didn't hold my interest and the story about Helen's depression, was, well depressing.
Having come on holiday to relax from my own stressful time, I really, really did not want to read about depression and suicidal thoughts.
I found the relationship between Helen and Artie to have little dynamic and the whole Walsh Family was just irritating.
I gave the book 2 stars because I managed to get to the end but Marian usually tackles serious issues so well in her novels, I found that this was not the best way to approach the subject of depression.
Helens bizarre love life is also chronicled, and of course, many of the humorous sayings of " Mammy Walsh " .
A lot of truth is wrapped up in humour and the irascible Helen does things many of us would like to , but wouldn't dare.
A really good read, enjoyable page turner.
I have to say I wasn't disappointed. As always with MK, the writing is fantastic and the storyline evolves naturally.
I went through depression myself, but it is hard to talk about it with people that they want the best for you, but it's impossible for them to empathise. Even though Helen is totally different to me as a character, reading her journey was totally real to me. There is no hiding, or begging for help or attention as many people thing. There is just the dark cloud that takes over and takes control, no matter how strong you are. Only MK could describe it, while keeping the book funny and easy to read. The best Walsh sister's book so far.
I have bought all of Marian's books, including Mammy Walsh's Ebook and Saved By Cake, I have found that I have started to rely on all of her books as a kind of therapy as I am completely ga-ga, loopy, "not playing with a full deck "if you like ....and when I am feeling low I always reach for a Keyes novel, works for me every time. Thanks Marian x
Helen Walsh is a real woman: addicted to Diet Coke, bossy with her long-suffering parents and with a spikiness that comes as naturally as breathing, and so, so funny.
The story meshes with the background of the economic downturn in Ireland in a heartbreakingly real way.
"Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married" and "This Charming Man" leave the reader under no illusions about what it means either to live with, or to be, an alcoholic. "Mercy Close" does the same for depressive illness. Not that that should put anyone off reading it -- it is a cracking good story, brilliantly written.
I would say this book is my favourite so far. Superb, well thought out plot, story and characters. I think Helen, the main character, is now my favourite Walsh sister (though Mammy Walsh remains my icon!).
Thank you Marian Keyes. You've made this bookworm a happy girl :)
The story is one of her best so far in my opinion. I was going to wait for the price to drop but could not resist and am so glad that I didn't wait well worth full price.
This book gives Helen a more rounded profile, she has featured in many of her previous books and this is finally her story putting a reason to her previous strange behaviour. Trust me you will love this book, for new readers there is a whole walsh saga and you must read them all and no need to read in order.