The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph Ltd)

Marian Keyes takes the story of the Walsh family, introduced to readers in her first novel Watermelon, to a new level in The Mystery of Mercy Close , which finally gives the limelight to the youngest sister.

Don’t be fooled by the light, airy tone adopted by the talented Keyes.

This detective novel packs a powerful emotional punch as our heroine Helen Walsh starts to unravel and sink back into the claws of the depression she beat a year ago.

Vulnerability combined with a biting tongue and tough exterior create a character at once so real and so moving, that it becomes almost irrelevant to wonder what the outcome of the case she is investigating will be.

For the record, though, Helen is a highly professional private detective, who won’t rest – in a bed, at least – until she finds Wayne, the missing pop star whose big comeback concert is due to happen any day.

When she’s not planning her next suicide attempt, Helen is dedicated and persistent, even when someone is clearly trying to stop her, even so far as physically attacking her.

Committed Marian Keyes fans are sure to be satisfied, while the uninitiated will realise she cannot be clumped together with other female authors in some sort of fluffy chick lit club.

Her voice is unique, sincere and profound while remaining highly readable and entertaining.

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