My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m always excited to read stories that bring something new to the table and when a book is introduced that has a protagonist with an unusual job, it grabbed my attention right away.
Now, Grace McGill is a cleaner…. and not of the daily clean your house kind.
THIS IS THE DEATH KIND…
THE CLEANING UP AFTER DEAD BODIES LIE UNDISCOVERED AND DECOMPOSED FOR MONTHS KIND.
So, right away is the warning to readers who cannot abide reading about leaking fluids and flies and blood, stay away from this riveting story but if you are one of those that can stomach reading them for the sake of an unusual thriller, then just HANG ON, this one is definitely a SIXER, as in parlance of cricket.
Grace McGill is an odd narrator…lonely and with no social skills, with only a cat called George rescued from, of all places, a cemetery for company, she accepts the weirdness of her job with equanimity but believes if someone’s gotta do it, it might as well be her. She is compassionate and sad for all those lonely souls who have had no family or friends to check up on them and thus lay undiscovered for varying lengths of time. Grace’s monologue is morbidly funny, what she says and then what she does are exactly opposite and create light humor in this stark and bleak tale of death and loneliness.
Grace has OCD yes, she does know that but the first half of the book confuses the reader as to her compulsion in chasing a mystery of a photograph she discovers in Tommy Agnew’s apartment. The daisies or gowans left at the site of deaths are not just a coincidence but when the police refuse her theories, Grace takes it upon herself to unearth the hidden secrets to the extent that she organizes a ‘wake’ for Tommy. There is a feeling of disquiet as we discover her fascination is such that she creates stunning dioramas of the place of her client’s deaths. It is this unhealthy obsession that gives the readers the first inkling that nothing is as it seems.
As Grace follows the footsteps of a girl missing since 1964, the readers are given insight into her upbringing with an alcoholic abusive father and the lengths she could go to for reasons that could be altruistic or not. The shocking twist in the story left me breathless, and of course, had me ripping thru the story after that. It is then that title of the story becomes more than what it is. C S Robertson’s fluid writing gives a sense of Glasgow, Rothesay, and Bute, making me long to take the ferry from Wemyss Bay.
The ending of the story is melancholic but fits right in with the plot but by and large, the Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill talks about the loneliness that affects our older generation having no one to care or worry about them, thus facing the ultimate indignity of lying dead for months and years. It is a thought that bears contemplation, as Grace says, it is a CRIME!
Many thanks to Net Galley, Hodder & Stoughton, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Some people die alone, and someone has to clean what’s left behind – houses, bodies, memories, and old, dark secrets.
Grace McGill is an insular, friendless woman, living in Glasgow in her 30s. She has her beloved cat, and she has her own business – deep cleaning the houses of Undiscovereds. People who die alone and stay that way until they are found weeks, sometimes months, later.
While working in the home of a man named Tommy Agnew, her suspicions are aroused by a hidden photograph and a stack of newspapers, all from the same date over many, many years.
Grace can’t get the mysterious life and sad death of Tommy Agnew out of her head, and she soon begins an investigation that could cost her her life. The past has stayed buried for many years already, but Grace has never been one to brush things under the carpet . . .
A STAND-OUT NOVEL WITH A UNIQUE NARRATIVE VOICE AND AN UNGUESSABLE MYSTERY. YOU ARE GUARANTEED TO REMEMBER GRACE MCGILL.
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