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The Mystery of Mercy Close: A Walsh Sister Novel Hardcover – April 9, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 407 customer reviews
Book 5 of 5 in the Walsh Family Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Keyes brings back the popular Walsh family, this time in a decidedly different kind of novel. Instead of the laugh-out-loud women’s-fiction milieu in which the other Walsh sisters appear (Watermelon, 1998; Anybody Out There? 2006; etc.), Keyes goes for a darker tone and tosses in a bit of a mystery. Helen Walsh is a depressive private investigator on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Her flat has been foreclosed, her clients are leaving her, and she’s not quite sure where she stands with her new boyfriend. When ex-boyfriend Jay, a music producer, hires her to track down the missing member of a boy band, she reluctantly takes the job. After all, a girl’s gotta pay the bills. What seems like an easy case gets twisty when Helen discovers just how many people stand to lose money if the reunion doesn’t go off as planned, and everyone from bandmates to neighbors to shady con men becomes a suspect. Not quite a mystery, not quite standard women’s fiction, this will still appeal to Keyes’ many fans. --Rebecca Vnuk


Praise for Marian Keyes

The Mystery of Mercy Close
“Keyes’s portrayal of depression is nuanced and authentic. Helen’s vibrant voice is spot-on….”
Publishers Weekly

The Brightest Star in the Sky

“Keyes manages to stuff a smorgasbord of genres into one tasty tale….The real joy is in the journey itself; watching Keyes' quirky characters as they change partners, reveal battle scars and command your attention on every page.” —People

“THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY is a well-crafted novel with engaging characters and a gripping plot.”—Christian Science Monitor

“…a pleasure to read….a sharp and honest exploration of a favorite Keyes theme: resilience.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Product Details

  • Series: Walsh Sister
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670025240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670025244
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (407 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Like many other Marian Keyes fans, I love the stories about the Walsh sisters. Helen was always my favourite, even though we only ever saw her in small doses in the other sisters' stories, so I was really looking forward to Helen's story.

However, I just didn't feel like this was the Helen that we had come to know and love. I know that she is "battling her demons" and she is now older than she was in the other books, but I was disappointed in her. I thought this story would be more fun. Keyes has the unique ability to mix humour with often very painful and difficult situations, but in the case of "The Mystery of Mercy Close" I felt that the humour was really lacking. The whole book was really just missing a lot of the charm that made the other books so good.

Also, the 'mystery' is not very mysterious. I look forward to being surprised in Keyes books, usually I feel a real 'oh yeah!' sensation as the penny drops and my whole perspective changes. However, in this case, I'd be pretty surprised if people don't work out what happened to Wayne pretty early on in the book. I would say that this book is less subtle and nuanced than the other books and more straight forward and thus less intriguing and less interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What I loved about this book:

The plot is a good old-fashioned mystery. Helen, a PI, needs to find Wayne Diffney, a boyband member, before his band reunites to go back on stage. There is a real sense of mystery about it and it's built on very well. We're right there with Helen as she makes different conclusions and discoveries. What I love about Marian Keyes's writing is that the answers are never obvious until the main character figures them out. And then, you feel like smacking your head, going 'of course!' I had the exact same experience with Anna and Aidan in 'Anybody Out There?' and it's so satisfying when everything clicks.

Helen's depression rang so true, it was painful to read. I've battled my own demons in the past and there were times when I could very much identify with her. Despite that, the story moved on without being dragged down, and is very funny in places. Very skilfully done, and most writers would struggle to do it so well.

Mammy Walsh. She's just wonderful. I'll just leave this one exchange here which should tell you what you need to know:
'That's no boy, girlfriend. That's definitely a man!'
'Why are you talking like that? What shows have you been watching?'
'Ah, you know, the usual. America's Next Top Model. Whatever is on.'

What I disliked:

The reason I couldn't give it five stars is that it just didn't feel like the Helen we'd met in other books. I know she is/has battled depression, and I understand only too well how that changes you, but there were elements that just didn't ring true. Like Helen listening to Newstalk or liking bric-a-brac stalls. In fact, there was a lot that she seemed to like which just felt like Marian talking rather than Helen.
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Format: Paperback
I have been waiting for this book for 6 years at least, since I read Anybody Out There, although I've probably been waiting since I read the first Walsh sisters novel. Actually, that's not true, since I read the second one and realised that in all likelihood there would be a book about each of the sisters.

I was not disappointed and I'm here to tell you that it's well worth the wait. It is a wonderful, wonderful book. For people who might have seen that it is a 'mystery' story, worry not. That is just the tool that Marian Keyes uses to tell Helen's story. I have always loved Helen, entertaining the notion that she is a more beautiful, slightly meaner version of me (this sounds pretty narcissistic, but what I mean is that I loved reading about her, and wanted to find out more). But if you didn't love her, or had no interest in her, then I would urge you to read this book anyway.

It's as sad as it is happy, as tragic as it is funny. The other sisters are in it, but not too much. And if, like me, you've been hoping to find out which fella Anna ended up with since the end of Anybody Out There...well, I'm not going to say anything more about that. Finally getting into Helen's head and finding out what goes on in there was everything I had hoped for, and to finally go through all of her stuff through her eyes was amazing. She's a great girl.

If you've never read any of the Walsh sisters books then I suggest you go out right now and start with Watermelon and read all five until you reach this glorious and epic finale.

Thank you, Marian Keyes.

NOTE: Sorry if this review is frustratingly vague about the book's content. I hate spoilers when I read reviews and didn't want to put in any of my own. Enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
I love the Walsh family. I wish I was a member of the Walsh family even though they are SO DYSFUNCTIONAL, still they love each other and they are hilarious. Marian Keyes' latest Walsh sister's novel is "The Mystery of Mercy Close" and it revolves around down-on-her-luck Dublin Private Investigator, Helen Walsh. The mystery is about the disappearance of a semi-famous singer who is part of an aging "boy band" trying to have a reunion tour.

The plot and the mystery are engaging and entertaining, but what is most compelling about this novel is Helen's descriptions of her past bout with clinical depression, and her looming dread that she is sinking into another abyss. Marian Keyes herself has suffered debilitating depression so I'm certain that these vivid descriptions and details are very authentic; they are heartbreaking to read. By letting her readers into this dark world of depression, Keyes generously shares her affliction while doing a service for the many who suffer this way by putting into words what they are feeling.

Make no mistake, this is NOT a depressing book. It's witty and sardonic and most of the characters are people you would love to meet and spend time with.
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