The Dearly Departed

Elinor Lipman

An unexpectedly joyful comedy of manners that encompasses amateur dramatics, drive-by shootings, political campaigns and golf.

When Sunny Batten hears from a brusque, ill-mannered stranger that her beloved mother Margaret has just died in a freak household accident, understandably she thinks that things can’t get any worse. But when she discovers that her cranky informant is the son of the man who died alongside Margaret, and that the pair, unbeknownst to their offspring, were engaged to be married, matters take a distinct downward turn.

As even-tempered, reasonable Sunny and arrogant, wise-cracking Fletcher take their positions at the funeral, the eyes and ears of the sleepy New Hampshire town of King George are fixed upon them. What excites the graveside gossips more than anything is the mourners’ identical, prematurely grey hair. Mere coincidence, or the inescapable workings of shared DNA?

With its vivid evocation of small-town life and a cast of unwittingly hilarious characters, ‘The Dearly Departed’ will prompt as many belly laughs as it will tears – and leave you hoping for more despatches from King George long after you’ve turned its final page.

Reviews of The Dearly Departed

    • ‘Elinor Lipman is that rarest of things, a charming and funny writer who is also very wise.’ Arthur Golden, author of ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’
    • ‘Excellent…vivid characters, shrewd observations, superb dialogue and a strong plot.’ Leo McKinstry, Sunday Telegraph
    • ‘Even though “The Dearly Departed” is shot through with divorce and infidelity, one carries away a feeling that love, intimacy and shared DNA are at the heart of a good life.’ William Sutcliffe, Independent on Sunday
    • ‘As joyously funny as Lipman’s bestselling “The Ladies Man” but more deeply felt.’ Good Housekeeping