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**** - The Couple at No 9



You can read more of my reviews for Claire Douglas' previous books here:

It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . .


When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body - two bodies, in fact.


Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years. Nothing Saffy need worry herself over. Until the police launch a murder investigation and ask to speak to the cottage's former owner - her grandmother, Rose.


Rose is in a care home and Alzheimer's means her memory is increasingly confused. She can't help the police but it is clear she remembers something.


As Rose's fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched.

What happened thirty years ago?

Why did no one miss the victims?

What part did her grandmother play?

And is Saffy now in danger?


When Saffy and Tom move into her grandmother’s house they are excited to start renovating. However, when 2 bodies are discovered under the patio, Saffy must confront her deepest and darkest family secrets…

Having previously enjoyed several books by Claire Douglas, including ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Then She Vanishes’, I was excited to request The Couple at No 9, which sounded like just the kind of twisty crime thriller I enjoy reading. The narrative alternates between Saffy, who discovers the bodies in her backyard, her mum Lorna, her grandmother in flashbacks and Theo, a man who is just trying to find out the truth about his father. Each perspective is well drawn and interesting, with their own narrative voice. I particularly enjoyed the flashback chapters and how they kept the pace up and drip-fed information slowly, not revealing too much in one go. It was a little hard to keep up with the number of names though and I think Lorna’s point of view could have been edited out and explored within Saffy’s chapters instead which would have made it a little more straight forward to follow.

The book itself is very well paced and there are plenty of twists and turns throughout to keep you hooked. I was initially a little confused as I’m sure I read in the opening few chapters that Saffy and Tom move into No 10 so I was expecting their neighbours at No 9 to come into the story at some point. The blurb says they move into No 9 though so perhaps I misread this or it was a typo! I do think as the bodies are so old and the case is cold, there is a missing element of danger facing the main characters. There is a side-character introduced who is there to up the stakes, but this didn’t really pan out as well as I’d hoped. I really enjoyed the main ending twist though and I did not see it coming at all which was nice and refreshing. I also liked how Theo and Victor’s story was intertwined with the events too. I have listened to a podcast about a very similar, real-life doctor recently so this seemed like a truthful and interesting development.

Overall, The Couple at No 9 is another great, twisty crime thriller from Claire Douglas. Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin – Michael Joseph for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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