I hope with all my heart that Irish people (legit Irish, not Irish-American like myself) are as ridiculously funny as Marian Keyes portrays them in her novels. Even the ones battling depression, like Helen Walsh in The Mystery of Mercy Close.
The Mystery of Mercy Close is part of Marian Keyes’ fantastic Walsh family series, highlighting the life of private detective Helen Walsh. Compared to her sisters — Rachel, Anna, Claire and Maggie — Helen is a bit “off”. She actually enjoys waiting around in ditches to take pictures of people her clients suspect are doing them wrong; she is anti-relationship, anti-children, anti-fun and generally anti-being-around-other-humans; and she recently lost her office and apartment due to severe lack of income, thus forcing her to move back in with good old Mammy Walsh. Helen’s bad luck streak turns around when an old flame shows up seeking her help on a hot new case: Wayne, one of the five Laddz (think Ireland’s version of the Backstreet Boys), has disappeared just one week before their big reunion concert series.
This being a Keyes/Walsh family novel, extreme hilarity ensues. Helen spends 90% of her time trying to locate Wayne and the other 10% reflecting on the past couple of years when her depression began and led to two comically failed suicide attempts. (You might be thinking that I’m really sick in the head, but I swear Keyes makes even the most serious of topics seem funny. I don’t know how, she just does!) While looking for Wayne and interviewing various figures in his life, including celebrities, Helen is also juggling old flame Jay with new flame Artie, whose children are extremely entertaining, while reluctantly accepting any and all help from the hilarious Walsh family. I won’t give away Wayne’s location, but I will say you as the reader figure it out approximately two seconds before Helen does.
Despite laughing at the bits about Helen’s depression, I did feel badly (I said that in an Irish accent in my head) — I just can’t imagine feeling that helpless against my own emotions. But if I were, I’d want Helen’s (or Keyes’) sense of humor about it. So if you can’t tell, I highly recommend this book, and now I simply must go back and read the first two Walsh series books: Watermelon and Rachel’s Holiday.