That’s not the beginning of an obituary, that’s a book title. It’s one of the books I read over summer – well, actually, I already read it somewhere around May or June, but you know how it is once it gets hot and the brain collapses and you simply don’t get around to reviewing stuff. I feel mighty guilty about that, what with it being an intelligent and absolute fun read. Here’s hoping that blogging about it will make up for such shameless neglect.
A tiny warning first: If your mood tends towards a serious, life-altering read full of grandiose deep thoughts, leave Mrs. Maginnes for another day. Okay, given that there’s a goat on the cover you might have already guessed that. I may be wrong – I’m as prone to that as anyone else – but I suppose Maeve Sleibhin wrote this story with precisely one aim in mind: to make you laugh. Which doesn’t mean that this book is just a cheap and easy breeze-through. Quite the opposite.
Nonsense isn’t as easy to write as it looks, and there are authors out there who try too hard to be funny, and desperately cling to any joke until all you can do is roll your eyes and hope they’ll get on with it. Maeve Sleibhin is not one of them. Her nonsense actually does incorporate quite a few of those serious, deep thoughts I mentioned earlier, complete with a hefty dose of Shakespeare, complex human relationships, and superstitions. The plot – crime, mystery, treasure hunt and all – is borne on the fragile and powerful shoulders of characters ranging from down-to-earth to flamboyant, who show a remarkable set of motivations, dreams and desires, along with a great sense of dry humor.
There’s also the goat, who may or may not have something to do with the unfortunate Mrs. Maginnes’ recent demise, but either way definitely is a character of its own.
Here’s an Amazon link: Mrs Maginnes is Dead
And the blurb:
Arriving at her rented accommodation in Edinburgh, music student Socorro de las Torres finds herself sucked into the exhilarating, madcap world of her new neighbours: the five Aspenall sisters. From them she learns that her landlady, Mrs Maginnes, is dead—pushed off a cliff—and that the sisters are the prime suspects. Of more concern, however, are the contents of the old lady’s will: one million pounds-worth of Byzantine gold coins left to whoever finds them first. The search is hampered not only by the whole town searching for the gold as well, but also by Mrs Maginnes’s other bequest: a troublesome, Welsh goat with a penchant for escape and Marks and Spencer’s sandwiches.
Have fun reading it!