Nosy Neighbours – Freya Sampson | Book Review | #NosyNeighbours | @SampsonF @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

You can choose your home, but you can’t choose who lives next door . . .

Twenty-five-year-old Kat Bennett has never felt at home anywhere, especially not in crumbling Shelley House. The other residents think she’s prickly and unapproachable, but beneath her tough exterior, Kat is plagued by guilt from her past and looking for somewhere to belong.

Seventy-seven-year-old Dorothy Darling has lived in Shelley House for longer than anyone else, and if you believe the other tenants, she’s as cantankerous and vindictive as they come. Dorothy may spend her days spying on the neighbours, but she has a closely guarded secret herself – and a good reason for barely leaving her home.

When their building faces demolition, sworn enemies Kat and Dorothy become unlikely allies in their quest to save their historic home; and even less likely detectives when they suspect that foul play is coming from within Shelley House . . .


My thanks to Tracy of Compulsive Readers for the tour invite and to the publisher for providing a review copy via Netgalley. Nosy Neighbours is published by Zaffre and available in ebook, audio and paperback formats (28 March 2024).

I do love books with older characters, especially awkward ones, and not having read anything by Freya Sampson before, this immediately appealed.

The story is set around an imposing Victorian building known as Shelley House. It was once a much desired property in the area but now in its later years has fallen into a rather dilapidated condition and there are plans for its demolition and redevelopment. However it is still home to several people, one of which is 77 year old Dorothy Darling. Dorothy has lived there for several decades and has no intention of moving out – despite the eviction notices that come through the door.

Dorothy could be regarded by some as the neighbour from hell. She keeps a notebook and records the comings and goings of everyone in and out of Shelley House and the immediate area – a one woman neighbourhood watch. Her inspections and complaints are a regular part of life at Shelley House and mostly the other tenants try to keep out of her way.

When 25 year old Kat with her pink hair arrives at Shelley House enquiring about a room advert, she is rudely sent on her way by Dorothy. Luckily for Kat, elderly neighbour Joseph comes to the rescue so begins Kat’s relationship with Shelley House, Joseph and his dog Reggie.

I do love a cantankerous character and Dorothy is one of the best. However with so many of these residents here there is more to their story than you might think with more than one person having their own secrets and regrets. I was keen to know what Kat was hiding as she seemed determined to stay off the radar but when danger comes to Shelley House it is time to come together and fight.

This may have been my first Freya Sampson book but certainly not my last and I can’t wait to read more. With the feel of a cosy mystery, it was a joy to read with an eclectic mix of characters, each with their own backstory and troubles, including long held festering resentments.

I also learnt my favourite new word from Nosy Neighbours. ‘Rapscallion‘ (disreputable person; rascal or rogue, or to put it into context here, a scoundrel!).

Nosy Neighbours is a fantastic read with superbly drawn characters and a sense of community spirit. Definitely one to recommend.

Freya Sampson works in television as a creator and executive producer. Her credits include two documentary series for the BBC about the British royal family as well as a number of factual and entertainment series. She studied history at Cambridge University and in 2018 was short-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize. She lives in London with her husband, two young children, and an antisocial cat.

Follow the author: Website | X/Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon UK


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