Something to live for
This is Richard Roper´s first novel. In his biography inside the book we only learn, that he loves Ella Fitzgerald, which his protagonist Andrew does, as well. Probably the similarities do not end here.
42-year-old Andrew is a council worker in London, whose job it is to find out about people, who die alone in their home. He has to sift through documents to find out, if any relatives or at least friends exist and to find any money so that the council is not left with the funeral costs.
Andrew´s personal addition to his tasks is to attend the funeral service, mostly as the only mourner. To get the job he invented a family of his own and now has to live with this lie.
When Peggy starts to work in his department, he finds a friend for the first time in years, apart from an internet chat group, specialising in model railways.
The development reaches a turning point, when Peggy throws out her alcoholic husband and Andrew seriously falls in love with Peggy. He confesses about his imaginary family, the situation at work becomes more and more complicated, but in the end all is well that ends well, and all the skeletons in Andrew´s cupboard have left for good.
Roper endears himself to the reader by his easygoing and very creative style more than by the way the plot develops. It is just fun to read how he is putting thoughts into words.