2023 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery · suspense · thriller

Book Review: The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas

Title: The Couple at No. 9

Author:  Claire Douglas

Published: November 30th 2021

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 432

Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $22.99

Rating: 5 stars

It was the house of her dreams. Until the first body was found. A new emotionally dark and unsettling thriller from the Sunday Times bestseller

An inherited cottage. A body buried in the garden. And a secret spanning three generations.
When Saffy’s beloved grandmother, Rose, goes into a care home, Saffy learns that she has inherited her Cotswolds cottage.
But as work begins on much-needed renovations, the body of a young woman is uncovered in the garden.
Who is she? During Rose’s more lucid moments, she reveals snippets of information that Saffy pieces together.
And then another body is discovered.
As she delves into Rose’s past, Saffy uncovers dark secrets, calling into question everything she thought she knew about her family.


An absorbing, dark and compelling domestic mystery, The Couple at No. 9 is a 2021 release from British author Claire Douglas. Addictive, gripping and surprising, this twisted story of family, secrets, lineage and deceit will draw you in from page one.

A young couple get much more than they bargained for when they embark on a series of renovations at their new home. Under the patio at Saffy and Tom’s new home lies two bodies, which have been discovered by workmen on the site. The police are called in to investigate the remains and it is revealed that the bodies have been on the site for more than three decades. The ensuing investigation sees the police turn their attention to the former owner of the cottage, Saffy’s grandmother Rose. However, this case is compromised by the fact that Rose is now suffering from advancing Alzheimer’s disease. Rose’s ramblings are unreliable at best. But as the police continue on with their efforts to uncover the identity of the remains and the perpetrator of this crime, Rose gives them some information about the past that could prove crucial. But is Rose telling the truth?

Claire Douglas has remained one of my favourite authors in the domestic thriller genre. I always recommend Local Girl Missing to anyone that shows the slightest interest in the domestic mystery range. I’ve had a few of Claire Douglas’ backlist titles sitting on my groaning shelves to read and a recent break away afforded me some time to catch up on The Couple at No. 9. What a riveting read this title proved to be, I was hooked from the start to the finish line.

A chilling and compelling premise is presented in The Couple at No. 9. The hairs on the back of my neck were immediately raised when I read about the discovery of two bodies underneath the patio of a young couple’s new property. I don’t know how I personally would respond to such an unnerving situation. Douglas sets up this situation with authenticity and deep feeling. There is a darkness that immediately surrounds you when you delve into the murky waters of this one. I know I was prepared for almost anything Douglas threw at me, and so she did! There are twists, corners, turns, shocks, surprises, revelations, unreliable sources, shadowy figures and the constant feeling that someone is watching you from afar in this novel. The pace is evenly spread, the chapters all end with a hooking moment and atmosphere is tight throughout. The multiple perspective technique is used to its maximum in The Couple at No. 9. I really loved being immersed in the lives of the present-day characters and the world of the past cast members. The transitions from the past sequences to the present day happenings are seamless in The Couple at No. 9, ensuring that a vital final connection is made in the closing sequences of the novel. I was consumed by the stories of a wayward fertility doctor and a convicted child killer in this one, these were my favourite parts of the book. With themes of family, love, fear, loneliness, friendship, sexuality, memory loss, pregnancy, motherhood, ancestry, abuse, escape and murder, Claire Douglas has produced a pure thrill ride!

The Couple at No. 9 is a superb domestic chiller, five stars!

The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas was published on November 30th 2021 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Couple at No. 9, Claire Douglas, visit here.


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