THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow
“Eternity is an endless comfort, settling like a baby’s breath or a sweet dusting of confectioner’s sugar. In the Duration, I fly through time like a jet does clouds. Time piles up in snowdrifts, pristine and endless. We do not measure in days or decades. We do not measure time at all.”
Thirty-five year-old Molly Divine Marx finds herself watching her own funeral. She thinks to herself, “I’m dead, but I have not lost my “joie de vivre.” Death is a new experience for our protagonist, so she is surprised to find she has the ability to observe life as it continues on without her. She watches the people she left behind and listens to their thoughts.
Molly is in a place called the Duration. Here she meets Bob, a snappy, well dressed, well pressed, clean-cut type. He shakes her hand and welcomes her warmly. Bob makes it clear that he prefers to be thought of as a “personal trainer, a seeing-eye dog, a big brother,” rather than an angel – a bit too far-out and “woo-woo” a label.
So, Mr. Big Brother lays out the rules for the newbie. He tells Molly that it is pointless to attempt to contact a loved one, or anyone, from the hereafter – “It’s like talking to a wall.” As Molly has already noticed she possesses newfound abilities. She is able to “flit around, ” allowing her to be in her daughter’s room one minute and at her husband’s side the next. She is advised to take it slow before she “relocates,” to conserve her energy and reserve her powers for where they are needed most. Also, she is asked to listen to only one person’s thoughts at a time. If she abuses this privilege, it will be taken away. Much of the time, she finds herself watching over her beloved three and a half year-old daughter Anabel, and realizing that motherhood was her most rewarding role in life.
Stunned by recent events, Molly thinks to herself, “I’ve never believed in heaven. For that matter, I have never believed in hell. Most Jews are like that, planning vacations to Patagonia and Prague, but never making long-term celestial plans.” She is bewildered by her extremely premature demise and has absolutely no memory of what happened. She knows she was biking through New York City’s Riverside Park, and then…. “WHAM!!” Her battered body was found lying on the banks of the Hudson River. Was her death an accident? A suicide? A murder? She spends much of the novel searching for clues – exploring the thoughts of everyone who knew her, and some who did not, trying to discover who might have had a motive to kill her.
Molly is not the only one who is investigating. NYPD Detective Hiawatha Hicks is determined to find the cause of Molly’s death. This is the first case he is handling as “top dog,” and he really wants to succeed. There are various suspects, and non-suspects who may know something, to be interviewed, and he interviews them all, many times over. Number one on the list is Dr. Barry Joshua Marx, Molly’s philandering husband. Luke Delaney, a colleague and lover, is also a top contender. While alive, Molly ran a magazine’s decorating department. Luke, a former fashion photographer discovered he was better at shooting decor, especially when working with Ms. Divine. So she left the magazine and the two formed a successful collaboration, in more ways than one. Molly’s twin sister Lucy, with her sometimes erratic behavior and jealous streak, is a possibility, as are a bevy of Barry’s former and present lovers. The reader also meets Molly’s best friend, Brie, Kitty her catty, controlling mother-in-law, her parents, etc., etc. The author describes and develops these characters in a most entertaining way, though not in real depth. This is successful chick lit, after all, not literary fiction…so expect to be entertained not enlightened.
The narrative alternates between Molly’s reminiscences of her former life, which she reviews with refreshing candor and much humor, the present actions of those left behind, and the murder investigation. The author has a terrific wit and there are some really funny scenes and dialogue. The pace is fast, the writing tight, and while I couldn’t wait to find out the details of Molly’s death, when I finally did, I realized that the mystery is not the point of the novel.
The Late, Lamented Molly Marx is a quick, light read, which certainly absorbed me. This is the perfect novel to take along when you are traveling or want something to get you through a rainy weekend…other than chores. It is most definitely NOT a chore to read this delightful novel.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 123 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (May 19, 2009)|
|REVIEWER:||Jana L. Perskie
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Sally Koslow|
|EXTRAS:||Reading Guide andВ Excerpt|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||If you like this one, try:|
- Little Pink Slips (2007)
- The Late, Lamented Molly Marx (2009)
- With Friends Like These (2010)
- The Widow Waltz (June 2013)