Daily Mail


- Patricia Nicol

WHO hasn’t made a WhatsApp blunder? Recently, my husband messaged with a suggestion for our teenage son’s birthday present. I responded querying the expense. Then our younger son got involved — to chide us for posting on the family chat. Luckily, the birthday boy seems oblivious to the hastily deleted exchange.

Still, there are ‘sorry, wrong thread’ boobs, and then there are gargantuan errors of judgment, like Matt Hancock sharing a pandemic’s worth of threads with his ghostwrite­r Isabel Oakeshott.

We are all living on WhatsApp now. So no surprise that several contempora­ry novelists, alive to that, have used the messaging app to nudge plots along. One clever example comes in brilliant crime writer Janice Hallett’s The Mysterious Case Of The Alperton Angels. The novel begins: ‘You have a key that opens a safe deposit box. Inside is a bundle of documents, archive research material for a book…’

The documents include the correspond­ence of true crime author Amanda Bailey and chronicle her attempts to track the survivor of a Satanic-inspired crime. Her WhatsApp chats with rival Oliver Menzies are particular­ly incautious.

The capacity for family and friendship WhatsApp groups to wind people up is gamely skewered in Claire Powell’s At The Table. It opens with Nicole arriving at a grand London restaurant for a belated Mother’s Day lunch she has badgered her family to attend via WhatsApp.

Last year, in Again, Rachel, Marian Keyes treated her millions of readers to a family reunion with the lovable, rambunctio­us Walsh clan.

Recovering alcoholic Rachel Walsh receives news that her former mother-in-law has died. Should she go to the funeral, she wonders? And messages the Walsh Family WhatsApp group to convene a summit.

Her sister, Claire, meanwhile, wants Rachel’s advice about whether she should get involved with a swinger. Now, imagine, if Claire had posted that on the family thread by mistake? Always read your own small print.

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