Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs

""A highly enjoyable read..." "


In a large house in London's fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. They've been dead for several days. Who has been looking after the baby? And where did they go?

Two entangled families and a house with the darkest of secrets.

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I am always a sucker for a rambling house where deaths have occurred decades ago. With 'The Family Upstairs' there is something slightly Barbara Vine about the scenario that Jewell conjures here – a cross between 'A Fatal Inversion' and 'The House of Stairs', and although not on Rendell's acute psychological level, Lisa Jewell does deliver an enjoyable story. Jewell weaves three different strands to tell her story, which to begin with could be a little confusing and I wasn't entirely bought on Lucy's story, despite it tying in with the other two. Jewell takes us back to Chelsea in the late '80s/early '90s which was really enjoyable and to be honest I would have liked to read more about the disintegration of this household in Chelsea which had once been one of the jewels of Cheyne Walk. Out of all who populate Jewell's book, Henry was the most enigmatic and interesting. This is a slow burner to start with, but once it gains momentum, I really couldn't put it down. There is no major twist, but a satisfying ending to a sad series of events. A highly enjoyable read that will keep you entertained till the final page.

Reviewed By:

Chris Simmons