The Mystery of Mercy Close
Publisher: Viking Adult
Number of Pages: 400
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Helen Walsh doesn’t believe in fear – it’s just a thing invented by men to get all the money and good job – and yet she’s sinking. Her work as a Private Investigator has dried up, her flat has been repossessed and now some old demons have resurfaced.
Not least in the form of her charming but dodgy ex-boyfriend Jay Parker, who shows up with a missing persons case. Money is tight – so tight Helen’s had to move back in with her elderly parents – and Jay is awash with cash. The missing person is Wayne Diffney, the ‘Wacky One’ from boyband Laddz. He’s vanished from his house in Mercy Close and it’s vital that he’s found – Laddz have a sell-out comeback gig in five days’ time.
Things ended messily with Jay. And she’s never going back there. Besides she has a new boyfriend now, the very sexy detective Artie Devlin and it’s all going well, even though his ex-wife isn’t quite ‘ex’ enough and his teenage son hates her. But the reappearance of Jay is stirring up all kinds of stuff she thought she’d left behind.
Playing by her own rules, Helen is drawn into a dark and glamorous world, where her worst enemy is her own head and where increasingly the only person she feels connected to is Wayne, a man she’s never even met.
If you are not familiar with her work, Marian Keyes has been writing about the Walsh sisters periodically for the past several years--the first book, Watermelon, was first published in 1995. Since then, she has written about each of the Walsh sisters in turn (with other non-related titles sprinkled in throughout the years). For some reason, Helen has always been my favorite sister. Sharp-tongued, beautiful, and a bit self-centered (ok, a lot self-centered, but I like her anyway), I've just always enjoyed it when she came into the picture in her sister's stories. So I was so excited when I saw it was finally her turn.
Helen, now in her early 30s, has spent the past few years working as a private detective. The beginning of the novel finds her moving back in to Mammie Walsh's house after she loses her own beloved apartment due to non-payment of her mortgage. Times have been hard on the PI business and she has found her once burgeoning career dwindling fast.
Within days of moving back into her parent's house, Jay Parker, her much detested ex-boyfriend shows up asking for her PI services. He is the manager of the once-famous boy band, Ladz, and he is desperate to find one its members, Wayne Diffey, who has suddenly gone missing days before their scheduled reunion concert. Helen is wary of working with Jay, but is desperate for work--more to keep her busy than for the money--and so reluctantly agrees to take on the case.
Like I said, this novel is as much about Helen's missing person case as it is about Helen's personal demons. She has been struggling with depression for years and the loss of her house and the dwindling of her career has thrown her back in a black abyss. Even though she is a loving relationship with the super-sexy and awesome Artie (who has his own baggage, mostly in the way of 3 children and a constantly hanging around ex-wife) and, of course, the loveable Walsh clan, Helen often wishes for it to all end. She takes her medication and fervently wishes for it to work. As she did with addiction in Rachel's Holiday, Keyes makes depression relatable and real. What could become cliche never does in her capable hands.
I truly cannot recommend this series of books enough. Each is its own entity and can easily stand on its own merits, but as a unit the books are unbeatable. Marian Keyes is such a prolific writer. I loved this novel with its crazy cast of characters (the other members of the band, Artie's family, the Walshes, etc) and liked both the mystery and the unflinching look at Helen's struggle. So good!
*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*