Elinor Lipman

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Ms. Demeanor, a novel

The Dearly Departed

  • 2001 (Hardcover), 2002 (Paperback)
  • Random House, Vintage
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, iBook, Audio

When Margaret Batten and Miles Finn are found dead in Margaret's gray bungalow, all of King George, New Hampshire, is abuzz.

Is it foul play? (No.) Were they engaged? (Yes, if you believe the cleaning lady.) And why do Margaret's daughter, Sunny, and Miles's son, Fletcher—perfect strangers until the funeral—have the same corona of prematurely gray hair? For Sunny, the shock of her mother's death is compounded by finding out that her shy, sweet-faced mother was something of a late bloomer. Most helpful during Sunny's return is police chief Joey Loach, whose interest in Sunny has long since blurred the line between civic duty and his fondest hope.

Reviews and praise

"Nothing short of brilliant...A story so funny and so pleasurable that the reader can only wish it did not have to end." Booklist

"Witty and wry...this is summer reading at its best." The Atlantic Monthly

"Pitch perfectly hilarious...Almost nobody writes serious entertainment with more panache." Chicago Tribune

"The Dearly Departed contains a core of dark and mordant wit that distinguishes it, in delightful ways, from the norm." Washington Post Book World