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What to Do When Someone Dies by Nicci French

What to Do When Someone Dies (2008)

by Nicci French

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This started out with much promise. For the first half it's on solid NF territory, where a relatively normal fear (losing one's spouse) escalates into something much more sinister. The question is, what would you do if your spouse were to be killed in an accident, alongside someone you've never heard of, and it starts to become apparent that you've been living a lie without realising it? So far, so very NF. But the problem is that the things the heroine does do are just too far-fetched. While it might be that someone in the throes of grief might well do these things, it is too much of a stretch to believe that those around her would be complicit.

( )
  Melanielgarrett | Apr 2, 2013 |
This is the first Nicci French book I have read for a long time. It grabbed me straight away and I liked the main character very much. I found the story to be quite believable - in an odd sort of way. All the characters felt real to me, they had strong personalities and were convincing.

The story was very well done too, with all the twists and turns. ( )
  Fluffyblue | Feb 1, 2013 |
This book is sort of back to front. The main character loses her husband in a car crash and the story is what follows. Usually if a book has this type of thing in it, it is about the recovery of the character, but not in this one. Ellie is looking for answers to her husbands death, the way she finds them is an enjoyable read. ( )
  cookiemo | Mar 29, 2012 |
The book of the recent television adaptation 'Without You', which looked interesting but too stylised (although I did keep imagining Marc Warren as Greg while reading!) The story itself, by husband and wife team Nicci French, is a strange mishmash of a realistic study of grief, The Turn of the Screw style psychological narrative, and an average murder mystery. And in that order, I found myself touched by the tragedy of Greg's death, convinced and repelled in equal parts by Ellie's reaction to her sudden loss, and gripped by the occasionally far-fetched twists of her unofficial (and slightly bonkers) search for the 'truth'.

Ellie Falkner's life is turned upside down one morning when two policewomen come to her house and announce that her husband Greg Manning has been killed in a fiery car crash. The shock and bereavement would be enough for anyone to deal with, but there is an added complication - Greg wasn't alone. A mysterious female passenger also perished with Ellie's husband, and not knowing who the 'other woman' was instantly pitches Ellie into doubt and suspicion. Was Greg cheating on Ellie? Was his death an accident? Who was 'Milena Livingstone'?

The first part of the story, describing Ellie's thoughts and feelings after she learns about her husband's death, is very realistic and powerfully told. Ellie and Greg are a very middle class, bohemian pair - she still goes by her maiden name and restores old furniture for a living, he was a health-conscious accountant - but her grief is universal. The ordinariness of her confusion and loneliness is strangely sympathetic - how every action after his death somehow makes him 'deader', or more of a memory and less of a person, and the basic human need for company and comfort Ellie feels when she is alone at night. Her fixation on the woman in Greg's car, and the tangled web of lies Ellie creates, is less understandable, and the sudden descent into a full-on murder investigation is definitely jarring - yet I never lost interest in the story or characters, even if my faith in Ellie's sanity wavered more than once! Well-paced, despite the number of times Elllie wanders out into a torrential downpour, and well-plotted throughout. ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Dec 18, 2011 |
What to do indeed. At home making dinner, Ellie is unprepared for the police at the door, or the news that her husband has died in a car accident. She is even more unprepared to learn that he wasn’t alone, there was a woman, also dead, with him in the car.

Everyone assumes he had been having an affair. Everyone but Ellie that is. She sets out to find the truth, going to extraordinary lengths. Her intensity causes her friends to doubt her sanity and eventually the police label her as suspect number one in this bizarre case.

The husband and wife team of Nicci French are known for their edge-of-the-seat thrillers and have long been favourites of mine. While What To Do When Someone Dies may not be their best book, I was still glued to the pages, wanting to know what was going to happen next. Grief is a powerful emotion, and I was at times feeling deep sympathy for Ellie while at others quite creeped out by her strange actions.

I had a slight difficulty with the believability of this book. There were a couple of small plot holes that ate away at me and, at times the story drifted into the implausible. But overall What To Do When Someone Dies is a well written, taunt, easy to read book with some emotional moments that I enjoyed. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Apr 1, 2011 |
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To Rachel, Callum, Jack, Martha, Toby and Cleo
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Moments when your life changes: there will always be a before and an after, separated, perhaps, by a knock at the door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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What do you do when your husband dies suddenly in a car accident? How should you react when you learn a mystery woman was by his side? Where do you turn when your perfect marriage is now lying in tatters? For grieving widow Ellie Falkner there is only one option. Find out exactly who Milena Livingstone was & why she was in Greg's car.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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