Posted 20 hours ago

The Apartment Upstairs: The addictive and twisty new thriller from the bestselling author of The Rumour

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The Apartment Upstairs is what I would regard as a ‘quiet mystery/thriller’ but with a sinister undertone running through. The story also includes a strand featuring that of a missing woman, a best friend of the two women who run the funeral business, Fond Farewells, engaged by Scarlett to deal with her aunt’s funeral.

The Apartment Upstairs – Lesley Kara - My Reading Corner The Apartment Upstairs – Lesley Kara - My Reading Corner

I loved The Rumour by Lesley Kara and have read everything she has written since. Her latest is not only an intriguing mystery of a murder/suicide and a decade old disappearance, it is also an intense character study with two unusual females at the helm. The family dynamics are done so well, with the male members of Scarlett's family assuming that her illness makes her weak, at times almost manipulating her to believe that herself. Dee and Lindsay's relationship is an interesting one to watch play out, often long-term friends will put up with much more from each other than they would from a newer friend. At times they become bitter towards each other, yet at others they are so very close.Unfortunately, as the narrative progressed, so the style and content deteriorated. By the final third of the story, what had, until then, been a reasonably entertaining mystery with hints of cosiness, descended rapidly into something that was just plain silly. The plot and the characterisation became simplistic to the point of being puerile and developments were unrealistically convenient. It was almost as if the author suddenly realised that she had a deadline looming and just needed to get it finished. She even decided to introduce some totally pointless references to the global Covid pandemic in the final stages of the book, which added no value at all and were totally unnecessary and avoidable. Disappointing. The plot was far too slow and predictable with too little development. I also think that Scarlett and Dee, the two main characters, had far too little interactions. The author hinted that they become friends or even more in the future, but we'll never know. When Scarlett meets Dee she connects with her straight away and soon it’s clear they have someone in common.

The Apartment Upstairs - Penguin Books UK

Scarlett's aunt lived - and was brutally murdered - in the apartment upstairs. But Scarlett is determined that life should return to some kind of normal, even if that means living with just a ceiling between her and the scene of such a devastating crime. After all, this is her home. She's safe here. Isn't she?

I have now read all four of Lesley Kara's novels and none of the most recent three have come close to living up to the impressive promise of her debut, "The Rumour". Sadly, I would have to say that this latest offering is the weakest of the lot.

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