Claire Douglas | The Couple at No. 9

The Book: 

The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas
Published  August 2nd 2022 by Harper Paperbacks
Date read: January 25, 2022

The Characters: 

Saffron and Tom

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

The Victims . . .

When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations, the last thing she expects is builders uncovering human remains. The remains of two bodies, in fact.

The Investigation . . .

Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years. Saffy has nothing to worry about–until the police launch a murder inquiry and ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner. Her grandmother, Rose.

The Witness . . .

Rose is in a nursing home and Alzheimer’s means her memory is increasingly confused. She can’t help the police, but its’ clear she remembers something.

The Killer . . .

As Rose’s fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched.

The Truth . . .

What happened thirty years ago? Why did no one miss the victims? What part did her grandmother play? And is Saffy now in danger?

Click here for book spoilers for The Couple At No. 9
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Couple At No. 9, I suggest you turn back now.

*Please excuse name misspellings, I listened to an audiobook!

Daphne and Sheila were the same person. Sheila had faked her own death and stole Daphne’s identity (she had recently died of cancer). She then showed up in Rose’s town and became her lodger.

Daphne was on the run, and eventually her past caught up with her. Neil Lewisham found her eventually and told Rose that she was really Jean Burden, a child murderer (as in, she killed another little girl when they were both 11). When she was released from prison she was given a new identity and never heard from again.

Theo’s father Victor was also Lorna’s father. Glen Davies is his henchman. Victor commited fertility fraud (inseminated his patients with his own sperm) and had killed Theo’s mother. He was convicted.

Rose tried to break up with Daphne, and in anger Daphne hit her with a cast-iron kettle and killed her.

Saffy’s grandmother was Daphne/Jean/Shiela. She took Rose’s identity and kept Lorna as her own.

The Ending:

Daphne died a few days later of pneumonia. Saffy forgave her, but Lorna couldn’t yet.

The Review: 

Thank you to Harper Audio for the ALC in exchange for an honest review.

I binged The Couple At No. 9 right on the heels of Just Like The Other Girls, thanks to Harper Audio. I guessed the big twist fairly early on, but the story was very well-written so I enjoyed the journey anyways. There were many other small twists along the way to hold my interest, and the book moved at a good pace. I actually think I enjoyed The Couple At No. 9 a little more than Just Like The Other Girls.

The story is told in the past and the present through many different POVs, but Rose’s perspective in the past was the most interesting to me. I thought she was strong and interesting. I liked Saffy a lot, and I couldn’t wait to see how Theo’s storyline tied into the rest of them. These were all very well-rounded characters that grew throughout the storyline. Some characters that I wasn’t the biggest fan of at the beginning became my favorites at the end, which is certainly a sign of excellent character development.

I love the home renovation setting, and imagining this unfinished house was the perfect creepy backdrop to the events that unfolded for Saffy and Tom. The house also had personal meaning, as it was where Rose raised Lorna as a young girl.

I’m a big fan of Claire’s writing, and can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

QOTD: Have you ever found something strange left behind while old owners while moving?

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