Book Review: A murder mystery inheritance

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Flipping between past and present, this weaving mystery and thriller follows the story of a beautiful mansion in Chelsea and what happened behind closed doors. On Libby Jones’ 25th birthday, she receives an inheritance from her dead parents -- a multi-million dollar mansion in Chelsea. Shocked at her reversal of fortunes, she excitedly takes possession only to discover a series of unsettling mysteries surrounding her birth parents and the people they kept in their home.

Twenty-four years prior, her parents had been found poisoned along with an unidentified body while Libby’s 10-month-old self lay happily cooing in a crib. 

Who was the unidentified body? Who reported the dead bodies? Who was taking care of baby Libby while her parents lay dead? As these questions begin to be answered, more questions arise! The Family Upstairs keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through with unreliable narrators, misdirection and suspense. As the story weaves between past and present, and between character story lines, Jewell leaves just enough of a cliff hanger that you are desperate to get back to that thread thus making for a very fast read!

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I loved how this book started with what seemed like four or five completely unrelated stories, each interesting on their own, and managed to work them together tighter and tighter until they all connected. A well crafted mystery, in my eyes, ties up all the loose ends in a satisfying way, and I feel that happened in The Family Upstairs.

If you like this style of mystery thriller, I would recommend The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, or anything by Liane Moriarty.

Chelsea Iversen is a library technician at the Steveston Branch of the Richmond Public Library. I recently enjoyed Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness and have Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe on my bookshelf for later.

The library’s Book Review Team is a diverse group of librarians and library technicians who each have unique reading interests and writing styles. The library’s book reviews provide interested readers with a sneak peek into the characters, the story and the most interesting elements of the book they have chosen to review.

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