A Stranger's House
When death comes knocking, there's nowhere to hide ...
by Clare Chase
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 12 Feb 2016 | Archive Date 26 Apr 2016
Choc Lit, Death by Choc Lit
When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.
But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious….
Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?
A Note From the Publisher
British Suspense novel.
Set in Cambridge, England
British Suspense novel.
Average rating from 31 members
I really enjoyed "You Think You Know Me" also by Ms Chase when I read that last year. I was impressed that it was a début novel. So, when I saw this one was available, I snapped it up and then proceeded to worry (as I always do) that it wouldn't live up to her first book. Once again, my fears were completely unfounded and this book was just as good, if not a bit better, than her first. Ruby is estranged from her husband. He's been a bit of a naughty boy, and she is currently between addresses. Her best friend then recommends her to her cousin, Nate, a former PI who now runs a house-sitting firm and, long story short, Ruby moves into, and starts looking after, the house belonging to one Damien Newbold. Strange things start to happen and Ruby umms and ahhs over how much she really needs to tell Nate but then, when Damien is found murdered, she fesses up. Being a bit of a nosey parker, Ruby then proceeds to investigate the death. Well, some of the stuff has happened to her so she has a right to know what is going on - yeah!?! When the new owner of the house agrees to keep them on as house-sitters, Nate moves in "to protect Ruby" (yeah, right!) and together they try and get to the bottom of the mystery, and in doing so, hopefully sort out their own lives too. This is not too complicated a story once it gets going. There are a few suspects, the obligatory red-herrings and a good amount of drip-fed clues that kept me intrigued and interested along the way. Pacing was good throughout, building up nicely to the climax at the end. The story was set in a lovely area and there was a fair bit of description, especially on the characters' walks, but I enjoyed that and it didn't distract me from the story. Characterisation was good too. I remember enjoying her characters in the first book. I also remember that I was in two minds about most of them! In this book, the characters are sharp and well defined. They come across as quite real insofar as they have their faults and inconsistencies, just like in real life. There were some instances that led me to really disliking certain characters but then, as things were explained along the story, I began to understand motivations and reasons for certain behaviour that then changed my mind about them. I believe that this is a stand alone book, but with Nate's PI background and Ruby's nosiness and ability to poke hers in where it shouldn't go, I wonder if we won't see these two teamed up again in the future. I know that I'd be up for that! Failing that, I'll be looking out for her next book as with this great addition, Ms Chase is definitely on my radar. I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This story kept me guessing throughout. I read a lot of crime fiction and can usually guess whodunnit early on, but not in this case. "When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution. But...Ruby’s new job takes an unnerving turn – one she cannot resist investigating herself. Ruby’s new boss...seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?" If you enjoy a gripping page turner of a book you'll love A Stranger's House. The writing style has a classic, cosy crime feel but some of the characters we meet are far from cosy. The author cleverly introduces each of them in a way that puts everyone under suspicion. The only slight criticism I have is that occasionally the change in point of view between Ruby and Nate felt a little clunky. This might be because I'm more used to authors splitting up the points of view into separate chapters, clearly marking who is "speaking". Highly recommended to all crime fiction fans and I'm happy to have found a new (to me) author. Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book to review.
I received this book through Netgallery and thouroughly enjoyed it, it wasn't your typical boy meets girl story and there was plenty to get into
I love it! I love the characters and the story. Couldn't put it down until I found out what happened next, a real page turner. Will recommend to anyone looking for a good book to read over the holiday season or a long plane or car ride. Excellent!!
I absolutely loved this book. Gripped from start to finish, I found the storyline completely plausible and the characters realistic and likeable. The depth of background information about the main characters left you genuinely caring about what happened to them. The romantic element was enough to make you want them to get together, but not so much that it took away from the grittiness of the story. Despite Ruby's vulnerability, she was still an admirably strong character who didn't spend all her time feeling sorry for herself or being a victim. Nate offered all the aspects of a traditional 'hero' without being cliched. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and truly hope that Clare Chase is planning a follow up where Nate and Ruby investigate Susie's death. I would be first in line to read that. In the meantime, I fully intend to download 'You Think You Know Me' now!
I seriously enjoyed this! After leaving her long-term partner, Ruby finds herself in need of accommodation so her best friend's suggestion to take on the role of temporary house-sitter working for an agency run by the best friend's cousin and former PI, Nate, seems perfect. Settling into the house in Cambridge, which belongs to the rich and mysterious Damien Newbold, Ruby is hesitant to tell Nate the full extent of some weird goings-on because she doesn't want to lose the roof over her head. But then Damien Newbold is found murdered and Ruby's natural inquisitiveness leads her deeper and deeper into an intriguing mystery about family, relationships and love. The tension builds up slowly in this, as a number of characters are introduced and relationships are established. But through the brilliant and meticulous characterization and the measured revelations you get further and further absorbed into the story and halfway through the book, I couldn't put it down anymore. There were plenty of suspects and lots of intrigue, but I just couldn't work out how it all fitted together. After a very suspenseful and exciting showdown, it all made perfect sense though and was totally believable. I loved the authenticity of the characters, and having lived in East Anglia years ago, the descriptions of the locations made me want to book some flights and go. The story is written in first person perspective from Ruby's point of view and third person perspective from Nate's point of view, which worked well, but it would have been great to have some indication when the POVs were suddenly changing, like a heading or something similar. This was my first book by Clare Chase, and I have just discovered that she has published another mystery, which I am very pleased to add to my wish list. Highly recommended for anybody who likes clever mysteries with a touch of romance. 4.5 stars Many thanks to Choc Lit for providing me with a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A Stranger's House, Clare Chase Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Women’s fiction, Mystery and Thrillers I don’t read mystery/thrillers that often but I do like to mix and match my reading – I find it stays fresher for me that way, rather than sticking to just one genre..or maybe its just my butterfly mind! Anyway I saw this was from Choc-lit (and I’ve enjoyed several great stories from them now) and that it was set in England. As a UK reader its always a treat to get a novel that's set here, US seems to dominate most books in all genres, and there’s not so many UK ones. I feel at home reading them, and this one is set in Cambridge, which is only 60 or so miles from me ;-) So, poor Ruby, her partner of ten years has done the unforgivable, and she’s run..staying in a cheap motel for now but she knows she can’t keep that up. She just can’t face going back and seeing him yet though. Then her long time friend tells Ruby that her cousin Nate, who runs a house sitting business, needs someone ASAP. That would be great for her, and for him. Its a contract that's come in at short notice and all his usual people are tied up. Ruby moves in and quickly finds that the owner is one strange man, a real control freak from the detailed list of petty instructions he’s given her. Then odd things start to happen, minor ones but she reports them to Nate and he deals with them. She meets the neighbours, a group of students, and finds out that they really don’t get on with the owner Damien. As the days pass more people who know him pop up, she finds out more and more about him, that he’s really not a nice person, that he’s dangling women on a string, setting them up against each other and taking pleasure it seems from upsetting them and making them dance to his tune. Then – wham, he’s murdered. Ruby’s always been inquisitive, so even though Nate tells her not to, to leave it to the police she can’t resist investigating. Nate used to be a PI till a tragedy made him change to the house sitting. After the murder and the events that follow it he moves in with Ruby to help with the house, its a kind of limbo while finances and implications of the owner's death is going through legalities, but the new owner, the man’s brother, wants them to stay on. He’s equally as unpleasant as his brother. Its looking dangerous though and that’s why Nate stays. He knows Ruby wants to stay as she has no-where else, but he can’t just leave her alone when there's danger. Of course he hadn’t factored in the attraction they’d both feel, when a relationship is the last thing he wants. There’s a good cast of characters, that all tie in to a neat group of connected people. Life is like that isn’t it? You meet someone, talk about friends, family, workplace and then find you’ve mutual acquaintances or something. Go far away on holiday and find a distant relation or someone from the local town is there. Life is full of oddities, and in this story they all serve to confuse the reader ( well, me anyway!) who is really behind the murder and the other events. I like to try and guess, and as always get it wrong. I’d be a useless PI but it makes for some great reading, where the big reveal comes as a complete surprise. What I like too was that Clare doesn’t leave loose ends, doesn't leave you wondering “ ok but what about? Where did X go? Why was that done?” I don’t like that kind of frustration. Its a stand alone read – Hurrah – but I really hope Clare’s got plans to make a series from it based around Nate and Ruby, I think they’re a great duo and would work well together if he returned to the PI business. Clare’s got a very easy to read writing style, doesn’t over sell the events, you know – books that ram a point home with a sledge hammer. she sows a few seeds and lets the reader work out ( or not..) where its going. Its the kind of mystery I enjoy, one where its realistic, and not tech heavy, wordy in a way that I simply lose track of the main plots, or full of events and types of people I’ve no knowledge of. Stars: Five, a fun mystery and an easy to read story. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for honest review
After Ruby finds out her partner has betrayed her, she storms off in a fury. With no place to live, she jumps on the chance to housesit in Cambridge. When the property owner turns up dead under mysterious circumstances, Ruby uses the chance to investigate as a way to take her mind off her own problems. Her new boss, Nate, warns her off the case. Ruby’s not sure if it’s because he’s concerned about her safety or if he has a secret he wants to keep hidden. An atmospheric read with a bright and spunky heroine
A wonderfully suspenseful, page-turning crime novel, with social faux pas, mystery, and a whole lot of love (some obsessive, some romantic) thrown in. Ruby, running from a bad breakup, grasps at the opportunity of a house-sitting job for her best friend's cousin, Nate. She hopes to be able to collect her thoughts, but finds herself trying to unravel the mystery surrounding her host's, Damien Newbold's, life, and that of the (apparently many) women in his life. And then Damien turns up dead... With pace, beautifully written prose, tension and romance, this is crime with a lot of heart. The characters are all perfectly flawed, the circumstances scarily real, and the emotion and unveiling of secrets wonderfully portrayed. Read it!
What a fantastic read this book kept me up all night flipping the pages with suspense and mystery this book has it all I loved it.
This book is very good and flows well. There is a good mix of characters too. Ruby leaves her husband. She has nowhere to live so her friend Steph recommends that she try house sitting. The house sitting company is owned by Steph's cousin Nate. Ruby gets the job as someone is needed quickly. The house is in Cambridge and seems to be the home of an eccentric man named Damien Newbold. There is a lot of rules and chores to complete. As Ruby finds out more about Damien she and Nate grow closer and when there is a murder Nate has to protect Ruby.
I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. The twists and turns were not predictable and I could not put it down.
This was a really fun, interesting mystery. First off, this book has one of my ultimate pet peeves, and that is the synopsis giving away WAY too much of the story line. I thought it was totally unnecessary for the murder to be mentioned in the synopsis. I think it would have added a lot more to the story if I didn't know going in that the owner of this house has been murdered. Having said that, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the chemistry between Nate and Ruby a lot and I thought the author did a great job at slowly building up their relationship. I did guess the killer and I found the ending to be a little too tied up in a little bow for my liking but overall I thought this was a really enjoyable mystery and I would recommend checking it out.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Choc Lit Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest and open review. I enjoyed this book. It had just the right ratio of romance/mystery. I liked the way that the point of view was swapped between Ruby and Nate, the two main characters. It was a book in which the mystery was slowly built up. Although this was a stand-alone thriller, I would love to read more about Ruby and Nate. If you enjoy cosy mysteries that aren't heavy on romance then this is definitely for you.
I really enjoyed Clare's first book and this one is just as good. The descriptions of the villages around Cambridge are very well-evoked and the characters could all be people that you or I know in everyday life. It's a thriller with a twist and Clare is excellent at building up suspense, leaving the reader wanting more. Her real skill is in making you empathise with her protagonist until at the end when you realise she's in danger, you just want to scream 'Be careful'. I read this book in two sittings and just love Clare's easy-ro read style. http://www.allthingsbookie.com/422775765
This is my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. I thought this had the perfect blend of mystery and romance and I found it enjoyable to read. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to review this.
When "talking" with Clare about her interview, I mentioned I was previously reading one of the current big name thrillers. She said hers was "at the cosier end of the mystery genre", and I really couldn't have said it better. And that's not intended as a criticism in any way - I really enjoyed this book - but if you approach it expecting edge-of-your-seat thrills, chills and buckets of blood, you could conceivably be just a little bit disappointed. And that really is a ridiculous thing to say, because there are dead bodies, people behaving (very) badly, lots of unexpected twists and turns, and some quite wonderfully done moments of real tension and impending disaster. The focus of this book really was the two main characters, and I really liked both Ruby and Nate, two very real people with their own pasts and secrets, caught up in a really well-crafted mystery. I particularly loved Ruby's irresistible urge to investigate - but never to the point that you get irritated with her for putting herself in danger. The supporting characters are excellent too - I adored her chatty and indiscrete friend Steph, Maggie is quite superb, and Damien totally fascinating despite the fact we never actually meet him. The backdrop of Cambridge and the surrounding villages works so well - really vividly drawn, and easy to picture the scenes in which the action takes place. The gentle love story that underpins all the investigating is well done too, with all the "will they, won't they" and awkwardness - and I really liked the first person/third person narrative that let you get inside their heads a little. Although 100% present day - with 21st century issues and problems - there's an extremely endearing old-fashioned quality to this book, a bit Jessica Fletcher, another bit Miss Marple, full of clues and red herrings that have you close to working out whodunnit but then push you down another path. I really enjoyed it, and I'm delighted to hear we'll be seeing more of Nate and Ruby - I'm really looking forward to spending more time with them.
From the moment Ruby stepped across the threshold of River House I knew this was going to be a great read. Glad of a place of refuge while she sorts out her life following husband Luke's betrayal with a much younger woman, house sitting seems to be the ideal solution. Unfortunately she soon finds living in the mysterious Damien Newbold's house is far from peaceful. Strange things begin to occur; a mysterous package is delivered, an ex-lover arrives and Ruby becomes involved with the students next door, one of whom had fallen under Damien's spell with disastrous results. And then the unthinkable happens. I warmed to Ruby straight away and also her friend Steph. The house sitting was suppose to give her space to sort out her life but instead she found herself pulled into a lot of strange and sometimes quite scary goings on. Then to add to her problems she finds herself dealing with Luke, who has become the subject of hate mail. Nate is lovely - dependable and undeniably attractive , he has his own past to deal with. There is an immediate and strong attraction between him and Ruby and moments when I was convinced they were going to get together. But it didn't happen. For those who remember, it reminded me of the will they - won't they situation in the 1980s series Moonlighting between Maddie and David. (Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.) The book is cleverly written from the two central characters' viewpoints. As the story progresses more people become suspects as the body count increases and we are supplied with a good few red herrings to confuse and distract. I have to confess I did work out whodunit but not the why. Maybe I'm wrong but the ending did give me a feeling we might see more of Nate and Ruby in the future. A fabulously entertaining read and a well deserved five stars from me.
Loved this novel. This is the second Clare Chase novel I have read and she knows how to tell a story. The opening page had me gripped and managed to conjure up so many questions I needed answered. Highly recommend.
My Thoughts This is my first book by Clare Chase and definitely won't be my last, I absolutely loved it. I devoured this in one afternoon I simply couldn't put it down. A Stranger's House starts off where we meet Ruby who has done a runner from her partner Luke after doing the unforgivable after living with him in BrookMans cottage for 10 years. Best Friend Steph suggests she house sits for her cousin Nate who owns a house sitting business.After taking the housing sitting job on the River house in Cambridge, it soon becomes clear to Ruby that something isn't quite right about owner of the house Damien,with strange findings and goings on around the house. And becomes clear Damien hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate.But is she in danger?! I liked how the points of view of this story swapped between Ruby and Nate.and loved the chemistry build up between them. I have to say rough and ready Nate seemed quite the hottie for me. And the touch of romance worked well with this old fashioned agatha christie style story, set in the modern day.Which is the easiest way to describe this story. This is what I call an easy read that moves in a steady pace. The author clearly knows how to build up the suspense dropping clues out to build the pieces of the jigsaw. And kept me guessing until the end. If you enjoy a mystery-suspense, this is one hell of a page turner with lots of twists and turns that kept me on tenterhooks throughout the story. I highly recommend giving it 4.5 stars. Thank you to Choc Lit and Brook Cottage Tours for an advanced reader's copy
This is the second in the Cambridge mysteries series, and they just keep on getting better! In the process of dealing with her partner's deceit, Ruby decides to house-sit for a guy named Damien, as a favor to a friend. Damien is then found murdered and Ruby decides to play detective and investigate the murder herself. The book was a nice detective story, without too much blood and gore, a nice change! Highly recommended.
Ruby has left her partner Luke of ten years. Her best friend suggests Ruby house sit for her cousin Nate who has a house sitting business. That solves ruby’s initial problem of nowhere to go. The owner of the house Ruby is to watch is Damien Newbold. Ruby soon discovers that something isn’t right about the owner Damien. There are odd paintings in his bedroom and broken glass in his bathroom. His neighbor is mad at Damien. Also Damien seems to enjoy getting revenge on those Damien feels has wronged him. Damien also seems to hurt anyone he gets close to in one way or another. Ruby gets all the repercussions from all the people Damien has hurt or got revenge on. Nate is also curious about Damien and together Nate and ruby try to get to the bottom of the mystery of this man. I liked the story it was a good read. I also enjoyed the plot. I loved the twists and turns of this story. A lot of what happened and was discovered surprised me . The mystery in this story slowly builds which keeps you reading to see what happens next which I also enjoyed. I like the chemistry between Nate and Ruby also. I recommend . I received an ARC of this story for an honest review
Set in the beautiful surroundings of Cambridge this was a really engrossing page turning mystery. Ruby wants to get away from her village gossips and when she is offered the chance of a house-sitting job owned by her best friend's cousin Nate she is delighted as it solves both her problems: she now has somewhere to live far away from her boyfriend and his indiscretions. Spoken by Ruby, she starts to discover things about the house owner, he has weird paintings in his bedroom, broken glass in the bin, a neighbour he has upset. Other strange happenings occur. She has a curious nature, she tries to find out more about the mysterious Damien Newbold, she finds clues in his house about his life, he was a man who liked to get revenge. The owner of the house-sitting business, Nate, also seems to be hiding information about himself, but he too is also curious about Damien. As the tension builds and they start to build a picture of this man, they are drawn together in a will they-won't they situation, which was a nice part of the whole story, two likeable characters trying to piece together a mystery. This was a fabulous read with plenty of twists that I didn't see coming, I loved the partnership of Ruby and Nate and how nosey they were! Perfect for fans of gentle sleuthing.
‘A Stranger’s House‘ is Clare Chase’s second novel. I was very happy when I heard that it had been published, as I really loved her first one. Therefore setting the scale of my hopes for her second! Clare’s first book ‘So You Think You Know Me’ was brilliant. The lead character in this book is Ruby, after splitting with her partner finds herself in a difficult situation with nowhere to go. She takes on a job as a house sitter. I have often thought a house sitter would be a great job – paid for living and keeping an eye on a house that you don’t have to pay any bills for, and usually really nice houses! After reading this book, I am a bit more sceptical! This house led to a lot of stressful encounters for Ruby. Great idea for a crime mystery though! This book leads us through Ruby and Nate’s point of view. Ruby is a great character, the Author has put enough detail and thought into Ruby that I could understand her thoughts and movements. Ruby is a writer and her investigations about her books show through in her interest into the mysteries she encounters in A Stranger’s House. She is brave yet emotional. If she weren’t emotional after all she had been through, the character wouldn’t have worked I think. Nate is a great character too, I didn’t understand him as easily as I did Ruby. I think the Author did this on purpose so that we are left guessing throughout the story. A side line character is Ruby’s friend Steph. I wasn’t as keen on her. I don’t think she was there for Ruby as much as she should have been. But as a side line character maybe we were only supposed to see glimpses of her? I like that this story was based in Cambridge, you can tell the the Author is writing where she knows very well. I haven’t ever been to Cambridge, but I would re read this book if I were to visit. Although I enjoy crime books set in America, I always find the British based ones that tiny bit more relate-able. There were twists and turns of suspense throughout this novel. It is a page turner to make me suspect everyone. But I didn’t guess until the last few chapters, just before Nate and Ruby. However, I had the insight of hearing the surrounding story which Nate and Ruby did not, despite Ruby’s investigating. As I think back over the book there are clue’s throughout, which made the ‘light bulb’s’ go on in my head as I considered them. The Author’s imagination to create full rounded characters and great plot lines is what will keep me reading Clare Chase’s books even without knowing the synopsis. The expectations are set high for your third book Clare! Keep writing please!
Published by: Choc Lit (7 February 2017 - paperback) ISBN: 978-1781893470 Source: NetGalley Rating: 5* Synopsis: When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution. But it's soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby's faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it's a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she's curious... But Ruby's new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated and potentially dangerous at play? Review: Clare Chase really impressed me with her first London & Cambridge Mystery, You Think You Know Me, and the author's skill at weaving together intricate levels of intrigue and romance are displayed brilliantly again here. With a solid plot and marvellous characters, A Stranger's House is a fantastic read that is hard to put down! Ruby is the perfect mix of feisty and vulnerable, and a great amateur sleuth to boot! She's so well written, as are all the other characters, they spring to life from the pages. Village life is described in idyllic detail too, I could just imagine myself sitting in the pub garden facing the river. Thanks to Clare Chase, Choc Lit and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review. The third book in the series, One Dark Lie, is out now. I, for one, will be grabbing a copy!