The Apartment Upstairs – Lesley Kara | Book Review | #TheApartmentUpstairs

Scarlett’s aunt lived – and was brutally murdered – in the apartment upstairs. But Scarlett is determined that life should return to some kind of normal, even if that means living with just a ceiling between her and the scene of such a devastating crime. After all, this is her home. She’s safe here. Isn’t she?

Dee is busy balancing her job as a funeral director with organizing an event to mark the disappearance of her best friend, ten years ago. So she’s got enough on her plate without worrying about the threatening messages that are appearing on her company’s Facebook page.

When Scarlett approaches Dee about planning her aunt’s funeral, an unexpected link between them emerges. Together, the two women could uncover secrets that have long been buried. Even while someone wants to stop them digging . . .


My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite and to the publisher for the copy to review. Having read and enjoyed two of Lesley’s previous books, The Rumour and Who Did You Tell, I was looking forward to this one.

Scarlett Quilter’s aunt, Rebecca, was brutally murdered in her upstairs apartment. Scarlett lives in the converted house ground floor apartment and upon her return home after the forensic formalities have been completed has to cope with the memories of her aunt living – and dying upstairs, as well as seeing the dying flowers of remembrance outside on the pavement.

The Apartment Upstairs is what I would regard as a ‘quiet mystery/thriller’ but with a sinister undertone running through. The story also includes a strand featuring that of a missing woman, a best friend of the two women who run the funeral business, Fond Farewells, engaged by Scarlett to deal with her aunt’s funeral.

Dee and Lindsay, the two funeral directors are unlike a traditional funeral service – their services are rather more sympathetically arranged and individually tailored to meet their client’s requests. Dee is the introvert of the two, with Lindsay enjoying life to the full on dating apps – something which causes disquiet and tension between the two friends. Whilst not overdone, I found some of the background and technical detail of what goes on behind the scenes quite fascinating – nothing gory I hasten to add, just an insight into procedures.

With fairly short chapters that leave you wanting more, this was a read that I enjoyed and raced through. Scarlett is an engaging character, suffering from illnesses, including ME, her health issues were highlighted sympathetically and if she wasn’t fully focused, it was quite understandable.

None of the characters here have an easy time. Friendships and family relationships are tested to the maximum by betrayals and mistrust. Unusually for me I wasn’t as surprised by part of the final conclusion as perhaps I should have been; I was already a little way ahead with my suspicions although there were still some surprises which I certainly wasn’t expecting. The Apartment Upstairs has some great characterisation with all the various strands being concluded in an entertaining and suspenseful thriller.


LESLEY KARA is the author of Sunday Times bestsellers The Rumour and Who Did You Tell? Her debut, The Rumour, was also a Kindle No.1 bestseller. She is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives on the North Essex coast.

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Reviews also on the blog:

The Rumour – Lesley Kara (2018)


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