The Boy at the Keyhole
by Stephen Giles
Pub Date 04 Sep 2018
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For fans of Shirley Jackson, Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier, an electrifying debut about a boy left alone in his family’s English estate with a housekeeper he suspects has murdered his mother
Nine-year-old Samuel lives alone in a once-great estate in Surrey with the family’s housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother has been abroad for months, purportedly tending to her late husband’s faltering business. She left in a hurry one night while Samuel was sleeping and did not say goodbye.
Beyond her sporadic postcards, Samuel hears nothing from his mother. He misses her dearly and maps her journey in an atlas he finds in her study. Samuel’s life is otherwise regulated by Ruth, who runs the house with an iron fist. Only she and Samuel know how brutally she enforces order.
As rumors in town begin to swirl, Samuel wonders whether something more sinister is afoot. Perhaps his mother did not leave but was murdered—by Ruth.
Artful, haunting and hurtling toward a psychological showdown, The Boy at the Keyhole is an incandescent debut about the precarious dance between truth and perception, and the shocking acts that occur behind closed doors.
"A fiendishly efficient, gorgeously written, nasty little thrill ride of a psychological thriller. I couldn't put it down, and it's entirely possible that I'll never sleep again. A true tour-de-force of a debut novel."—Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gothamand Jane Steele
"The Boy at the Keyhole is sinister and tight, amusing and intense, an emotional story of a sweet boy in a precarious psychological place. A fun and wicked read that is impossible to put down!”—Matthew Sullivan, author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
“At the heart of this gripping, perfectly paced story is a lonely nine-year-old boy consigned to the often brutal control of his absent mother's housekeeper. A relentless, claustrophobic tale about the constancy and opacity of love, where the truth must be terrible in order to be believed.”—Charles Lambert, author of The Children’s Home