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Elinor Lipman
The Dearly Departed

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.


The Dearly Departed


This book is dedicated to my son,



Cover (#u23d34fd1-db70-5733-bcd1-a285a2f5eb36)

Title Page (#uae608fdc-f3b9-5928-847b-446e1e5f1dfc)

Dedication (#u87bc8e8a-5623-5312-ac4a-fc75dd5d903f)

Chapter 1: Come Back to King George (#ue8fb33b2-b4e1-5106-a067-3e6d62fe77b2)

Chapter 2: Meet You at the Lake (#u64aee8ff-0f4e-51d9-9d65-5f624ae2146f)

Chapter 3: You Should Run (#u9007ba74-8c28-56c6-a249-311fbae4ac53)

Chapter 4: Harding (#u815f9409-ec84-5c73-8a9e-bf90127c183d)

Chapter 5: King’s Nite (#ue453ba47-b306-5d76-abb8-e422cf7f4602)

Chapter 6: The Dot (#ub71a4f9f-8b02-505b-bb29-e66218cf9c79)

Chapter 7: The Viewing Hours (#ud80aa3ed-f0fd-5c2c-8510-fcedcca50296)

Chapter 8: Meanwhile, at Boot Lake (#uf164a97f-0b53-5f07-9c7b-ff05f62c3616)

Chapter 9: The Flight (#udcc86bd2-1cdc-564e-ae47-dc180994a0b5)

Chapter 10: Graveside (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 11: After the Service, No Mourners are Invited Back (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 12: How Long has this Been Going on? (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 13: Checkout (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 14: Fletcher and Billy (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 15: Bungalow Blues (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 16: Nobody Slips anything by Winnie (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 17: Happy Hour (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 18: Fletcher Inherits the Bug (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 19: Company (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 20: The Missus (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 21: Life is Simpler than You Think (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 22: Advice (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 23: Emily Ann Recants (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 24: 9–1–1 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 25: A Place to Stay (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 26: No Hard Feelings (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 27: Things are Looking up (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 28: No Secret in King George (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 29: The Member-Guest (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 30: The Moms (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 31: Deal (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Other Works (#litres_trial_promo)

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER 1 Come Back to king George (#ulink_a958c8ee-a182-59a0-95e1-26c187ced9cd)

Sunny met Fletcher for the first time at their parents’ funeral, a huge graveside affair where bagpipes wailed and strangers wept. It was a humid, mosquito-plagued June day, and the grass was spongy from a midnight thunderstorm. They had stayed on the fringes of the crowd until both were rounded up and bossed into the prime mourners’ seats by the funeral director. Sunny wore white—picture hat, dress, wet shoes—and an expression that layered anger over grief: Who is he? How dare he? Are any of these gawkers friends?
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