The Late, Lamented Molly Marx

This was another selection of my local book club. When I first finished reading The Late, Lamented Molly Marx, by Sally Koslow, I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it — about the family and friends. It led me to ponder whether my parents and my brother, now deceased, can now understand things they didn’t before. In other words, can they now see “the big picture”?. Molly’s story was funny, sad, happy, maddening, and more. At first blush, I thought, “What could be funny about someone’s death?” Then I read the first page.

At first, Molly doesn’t realize she is dead, or that she has died under suspicious conditions, but when she does, she still has her quirky sense of humor. My favorite quip of hers was that she now has gained a “bullshit detector” which she used quite often when listening in on conversations on earth; especially conversations about her.

Molly was the wife of Dr. Barry Marx, a philandering husband, the parent of Annabelle, an adorable four-year-old daughter, who is seeing Stephanie, a  woman who has presented herself as a child psychologist, but is not.

The story was well-written, and moved along at a comfortable pace. Some of my fellow book club members had difficulty with the fact that the story jumped back and forth between events in the present and events in the past, as Molly, in what she calls “the Duration”, thought back over things that had happened to her and her family, or things she had done when alive.

The entire cast of main characters is Jewish, with the exception of the police detective who became close to the family. Because of this, I learned a lot of Yiddish words I had never heard before. A few of them were self-explanatory in the context in which they were used. Others were not.

This story is a who-done-it that leaves the reader guessing who-done-it. Most of our book club members felt sure we had identified the person who caused her death, but one member was convinced it was someone else. She changed some of our minds, but I and one or two others have now changed back. Who did it?  We’ll never know for sure. I have since read other books by Koslow that I also enjoyed, and they did not leave me guessing at the end.

I prefer books that tie up all the loose ends. How about you? If you have read this book, please share who you thought did the dastardly deed.

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