The Other Mrs Walker review: When the reader plays the detective
April 22, 2016
IN SHORT FICTION
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Other Mrs Walker
Mary Paulson-Ellis’ accomplished novel is described as “a detective story with no detective”, but that isn’t quite accurate: the detective is the reader, who finds out more about the Walker family than its members or any other character ever does. This story is a balancing act, stretching over almost a century and piecing together clues to the identity of an old woman found dead at Christmas in her freezing flat, with only a small handful of objects to show who she might have been. Toggling between 1925 and 2011 with several moments of history in between, Ellis expertly unravels her story while at the same time painting an unforgettable portrait of her home city, Edinburgh: cold, grey, socially impenetrable, geographically dramatic, and unforgiving in many ways, but teeming with life and secrets.