The Key In The Lock

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 13 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 02 Feb 2023

Talking about this book? Use #TheKeyInTheLock #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


The Key in the Lock is the perfect gothic novel. It has secrets, guilt, brilliant characters, and a grand old house built on a terrible past. An absolute corker’ Stuart Turton



I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unfurling out of an upper window and a hectic orange light cascading across the lawn.

By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the death of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose murder decades ago haunts her still.

For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

Brimming with secrets, this lyrical yet haunting historical thriller is perfect for fans of Sarah Waters' Fingersmith, Diane Setterfield's Once Upon A River and Stacey Halls' The Familiars.

‘A Cornish landscape evocative of Daphne du Maurier . . . brilliantly plotted’ Louise Hare

‘Deliciously intriguing from the very first sentence, with shades of du Maurier and Dunmore. I was hooked by this exquisitely written tale of secrets and lies’ Sara Collins

‘I was completely enthralled by this poetic, beautifully conceived and executed mystery full of secrets and subtlety’ Imogen Robertson

‘Reads as if a classic. Eerie, immersive and compelling. This is a book to savour’ Essie Fox

'The Key in the Lock is an absolute triumph! Dark, clever and utterly enthralling, this is historical fiction – and storytelling – at its absolute best. I can’t wait to read whatever Beth Underdown writes next' Elizabeth Macneal

'A masterclass in atmosphere… haunting, vivid and urgent, like The Witchfinder’s Sister, The Key In the Lock demands to be devoured whole' Stacey Halls

'This is a novel of true elegance, deftly and satisfyingly plotted. I expect impeccable prose from Beth Underdown but The Key In The Lock is also wise, thoughtful, and profoundly moving' Imogen Hermes Gowar

'Everything I enjoy in a gothic mystery’ Rosie Andrews

‘Captivating and elegant and undoubtedly a future classic’ Lucie McKnight Hardy

‘Brilliantly twisty, dripping with mystery and utterly heartbreaking’ Emily Koch

‘I was captivated by the characters, the story and the sinuous, seamless plotting’ Sarah Hilary

The Key in the Lock is the perfect gothic novel. It has secrets, guilt, brilliant characters, and a grand old house built on a terrible past. An absolute corker’ Stuart Turton


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9780241503300
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)

Average rating from 248 members

Featured Reviews

A beautifully constructed, classically gothic tale, told via a time shift narrative which was eerily compelling.

To write too much about the plot would be to risk spoilers. Instead I'll say that anyone who appreciated a finely crafted story with elements of mystery alongside a intricately woven emotional journey, all placed firmly in a richly painted landscape should DEFINITELY read this book!

Was this review helpful?

Truly brilliant and compelling writing. A dark and poignant Cornish tale of grief, love and the unpicking of long-buried secrets. Set in 1888 and 1918 with shades of Du Maurier and Sarah Waters.

Was this review helpful?

Excellent gothic/historical thriller set both in the late nineteenth century and during the Second World War. With themes of love, loss and grief it's the tale of Ivy Boscowan who we first meet as a spirited teenager and then as a embittered middle aged woman with much to mourn. Switching between the two timelines we discover the incident that changed the course of her life and find out if she can ever take back control.

Was this review helpful?

A wonderfully evocative,atmospheric novel set at the end of the 19th/ beginning of the 20th century, simmering with hidden love, betrayal, burning homes and a bereaved mother's pain.
The writing is so elegant but captures IB's heart breaking loss and seething resentment so well. A fantastic story about the strength of women in a society where they had very few rights. If you love Stacey Halls, then you'll love this book too.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: