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The Cellar

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,175 ratings  ·  409 reviews
From the internationally bestselling, award-winning crime writer Minette Walters, The Cellar is a harrowing, compulsively readable novel about a family of African immigrants, the Songolis, and the dark secret they keep hidden in the depths of their seemingly respectable British home.

On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s young son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-o
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Hardcover, 177 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Mysterious Press (first published January 1st 2015)
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Michelle Baughman I think you have to assume that the letter was mailed to the police right before/right after the move. I assumed that the investigation into the…moreI think you have to assume that the letter was mailed to the police right before/right after the move. I assumed that the investigation into the allegations contained in the letter would have come after the book ended. This leaves the reader to guess what may happen to Ebuka and Muna as a result of that investigation.(less)

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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,175 ratings  ·  409 reviews


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Phrynne
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
This is a short book, a novella really, but Minette Walters packs all her usual punch into it anyway.
The story is gripping, about Muna, a young girl abducted by the Songoli family and kept as a slave inside their house. She is brutally treated by all members of the family and when the youngest boy mysteriously disappears we feel hope for her as the police and other outsiders become involved and Muna has to be seen to be well treated by the family. However things are not quite how they appear, Mu
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Kaora
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Darkness speaks.
It whispers words of comfort in the walls and the webs that spiders weave.
Darkness breathes.
Softly. Quietly.


3.5 Stars

I have read enough Minette Walters to know that this was not going to be a happy read with a happy ending. Gillian Flynn reminds me of her in that there is a darkness to her characters that is terrifying and this is no exception.

I am what you and Princess have made me, Master. The feelings I have are ones you've taught me. If they aren't human the fault is yours.

Wh
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Sophie Hannah
Walters hasn't published a book for a while. This was gripping and sinister, but I didn't understand what happened on the last two pages, which prevents me from giving it four stars.
Blair
(2.5, rounded up to 3.) Minette Walters' entry in the Hammer Horror novella series is a tale of domestic horror rather than the supernatural sort - although a pinch of the latter is added in to spice it up. It tells the story of Muna, an orphaned girl brought to the UK illegally and forced to work as a slave for a relatively wealthy family. Having endured terrible abuse, she finds her fortunes changing when her captors' son goes missing. She's finally allowed to masquerade as their daughter, and ...more
Marianne
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cellar is the thirteenth full-length novel by British author, Minette Walters. Fourteen-year-old Muna’s life changes the day that ten-year-old Abiola fails to return home after school. The presence of the white police detective investigating the disappearance of the Songoli’s youngest son, as well as the family liaison officer and Hausa-speaking interpreter means that Muna is not beaten, abused, dressed in rags and forced to sleep in the cellar.

Muna knows that Yetunde Songoli stole her from
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Kaethe Douglas
Walters consistently creeps me out. In a good way. Like DeNiro in a 70s Scorsese film. Months, years after finishing one of her stories, the title alone will make you feel that you must go and wash your hands right now.

This book deals with modern international slavery. That's all you need to know. Psychological horror at its finest.



Library copy
Nick Imrie
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, fiction
What a very sinister exploration of the banality of evil.

When Mrs Songoli forges the papers to adopt little Muna from an orphanage, she has no sadistic intentions. She just wants someone to boss around so that she can feel more important and better about herself. In the same vein, when Mr Songoli rapes little Muna he's not deriving any particular pleasure from her suffering – it's just that his wife doesn't put out and a man has needs. What's so particularly bleak and horrifying about the Songol
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Deborah
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On a positive note, Walters’ novella offers something very different.

The Songoli family migrated from western Africa to the UK (six or so years before, we gather) bringing orphaned Muna along for the ride.

We never really know Yetunde Songoli’s motivations for ‘rescuing’ (then) eight-year old Muna from an orphanage by posing as her aunt. She had two sons, so those with rose-coloured glasses could possibly believe Yetunde was keen for a daughter. The more cynical of us could think she planned fr
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Susie  Price
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cellar is a Hammer novella and whilst short it still manages to grab your full attention and pull you into the storyline. Dark, gruesome and downright creepy in places it's certainly one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The cellar is cleverly written and the plot features Muna who was kept in a cellar and treated abysmally as a slave, and how she gets her revenge on her captors. A very intruiging plot and whilst certain parts make an uncomfortable read it had me hooked. Muna's charac ...more
Kim
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, net-galley, 2015, n
A novella from Minette Walters. Muna was ‘rescued’ from an orphanage by someone posing as her aunt. She’s brought back to England and has been kept as a slave and abused. She doesn't know any English

When one of the sons goes missing on his way home from school her life is set to change.They start treating her as a daughter- but she’s plotting to get revenge. At times a very good read- but the ending lets it down.
Nicole
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sommerchallenge Aufgabe #10.
200-250 Seiten 

Munas Leben ist die Hölle. Und niemand kommt ihr zu Hilfe, denn keiner weiß, dass die Familie Songolis ihr Hausmädchen behandelt wie eine Sklavin. Dabei muss sie sich nicht nur Tag für Tag bis zur Erschöpfung um das Wohl der Songolis kümmern, sondern wird auch noch jede Nacht in einen dunklen, fensterlosen Keller gesperrt. Doch dann kehrt eines Tages der jüngste Sohn der Familie aus unerklärlichen Gründen nicht mehr nach Hause zurück. Damit die ermitte
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Joyce
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new novel of psychological suspense from Minette Walters is always cause to celebrate! In The Cellar (which one review calls a retelling of Cinderella--maybe, but with a serious revenge twist), the Songoli family from Africa live in north London. There's the father, mother, two teenaged sons, and Muna, the young slave girl they keep hidden in the cellar. When the younger son disappears and the police are called, Muna must be transformed into the brain-damaged sister who knows nothing and speak ...more
Emily
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very creepy tale! A fast read, I thoroughly enjoyed this story of a slave girl who gradually enacts sweet revenge on the family who enslaved and mistreated her. A few scenes were hard to read, but it was well-written, unique, and engaging. The ending was a bit abrupt and perplexing and left me with more questions than answers, so I knocked off a star.
dianne
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cellar is a rapidly moving story of creepy, unusual revenge. Revenge so overdue, so specific and so general - a class story written from within the good-witch-bad-witch brilliance of the ‘brain damaged’ Muna. Our protagonista is absolutely defined by the other players in this morality tale, as lower (lowest?) class, unworthy of notice, choice, respect - if human at all. There is little i can say without spoiling things, so i won’t. Say things; except - Muna is from the school of turn the oth ...more
Anna
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, rwyw-2016, horror
The story was original but the execution was terrible. The characters were all one-dimensional, usually evil, and I had no sympathy for any of them. The writing wasn't great. I could tell who was speaking and when but the author's decision to never use quotation marks ever made no sense and didn't add anything to the book. This is was my first Minette Walters and it will probably be my last too.
Lynn
Jun 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Minette Walters writes novels to make her readers uncomfortable....I think all of her books have made me cringe at unsympathetic characters. This novella pulled the curtain back on a repulsive family in turmoil and their house slave. I devoured it, but took little pleasure in it.
Bobbi D
Well...it wasn't what I waited years to read.
Kerry *Soulcaster*
*2 stars*
I loved Minette Walters earlier works, especially The Sculptress and The Scold's Bridle. Her first four novels were every bit as horrifying as those written by Gillian Flynn. In fact I enjoyed (to varying degrees) all of her novels up to and including Fox Evil, but after that, pfft, I've been extremely disappointed with every sporadic thing that she's penned.

I've reached the end of my rope. I waited a long time for The Cellar to be published, but I'm now convinced that the earlier mag
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Janet
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: abuse
3 out of 5 stars

(Warning: Triggering for Child Abuse)

This novella had such promise but ultimately failed to deliver on what started out as a great premise.

This is the store of Muna, a child slave who lives in the Songoli household. Stolen from an orphanage when she was 8, she has lived with them and been systematically abused by them for six years. Muna is kept in the cellar where she draws comfort from the house as she hears it speaking to her.

A ray of hope appears to her when the youngest son
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CallMeSensei
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an impulse read for me. I saw it at the library under staff picks and it looked short and sweet (in a creepy, disturbing way). And for the most part, I really enjoyed this story.

Muna is a slave. She does not remember where she came from or who her parents were, only that her "aunt" came for her one day and she'd lived with the Songolis ever since. Muna is responsible for all of the cooking and cleaning in the Songoli household and if she doesn't do it right, she gets the rod. Mrs. Song
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Lynn Mccarthy
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I have read every book this author has written and just love her so was really excited when she had a new book out after so long.
I really enjoyed this book right until the last few pages then the book just ended and I was left thinking what the hell she just cut the book off I didn't understand what happened there was not ending unless it was just me that didn't get it..
Gary Branson
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Disturbing short novel, very reminiscent of Ruth Rendell. Creepy and atmospheric.
Papierfliegerin
» INHALT «
Munas Leben ist die Hölle. Und niemand kommt ihr zu Hilfe, denn keiner weiß, dass die Familie Songolis ihr Hausmädchen behandelt wie eine Sklavin. Dabei muss sie sich nicht nur Tag für Tag bis zur Erschöpfung um das Wohl der Songolis kümmern, sondern wird auch noch jede Nacht in einen dunklen, fensterlosen Keller gesperrt. Doch dann kehrt eines Tages der jüngste Sohn der Familie aus unerklärlichen Gründen nicht mehr nach Hause zurück. Damit die ermittelnden Polizeibeamten nichts von Mu
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Mike
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Phew, one of Walters' nastier stories - actually, they're all pretty nasty at some point or other! It's a novella, so isn't long (even though the hardcover edition I read stretched to around 244 pages, through being a small format with larger type), but it packs a considerable punch. My wife had told me a good deal of what the story was about before I decided to read it, but it still had plenty of surprises, not least the way in which the dialogue is so sharp and ironic, and vicious.
An African
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Kathy
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a fan of Walters of old, that is...back when I was impatient for the next book to arrive at my bookstore. But then she took a break from writing. I would share her books with friends, happy to be the first to own, etc. I did not forget her during her absence.
I have absolutely no reference point or knowledge of what reviewers are calling this - Hammer Horror. What's that you say?
Walters is a talented writer, and in this short novel she has portrayed a believable mini-world of a different k
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Dana Stabenow
A horrific little homily on the dangers of slavery. "I am what you made me," Muna tells every member of the Songoli family, and indeed she is, and boy did they reap what they sowed. I also found it interesting how much lighter in color Muni is than her masters, which appearance Walters has different characters remark on. What did she intend by it, I wonder?
Susan
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Cellar by Minette Walters The Songoli’s youngest son Abiola has failed to come home from school and Scotland Yard is investigating. That means that 14 year old Muna is treated like one of the family for the time being, instead of the slave she has been all these years. She now has her own bed room (instead of a mattress in the cellar), her own clothes (instead of a cast off tunic), and ribbons in her hair. The Songolis still treat her atrociously in private, but Muna is more clever than they ...more
Susan
The Songoli’s youngest son Abiola has failed to come home from school and Scotland Yard is investigating. That means that 14 year old Muna is treated like one of the family for the time being, instead of the slave she has been all these years. She now has her own bed room (instead of a mattress in the cellar), her own clothes (instead of a cast off tunic), and ribbons in her hair. The Songolis still treat her atrociously in private, but Muna is more clever than they know, and bright enough to be ...more
Sandie
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
When the Songoli family moves to London, they have a secret. In addition to their two sons, there is another member in the family who no one knows about. Yetunde, the wife, made a trip to an orphanage before they left. There she claimed a young girl, saying that she was the girl's aunt. The truth is much more sinister.

Muna, the girl, has been taken in order to be the family's slave. She is forced to clean and cook all day, her only refuge a stained, ragged mattress in the cellar with no light or
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Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for tel
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“Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.’ Eric Hoffer” 1 likes
“Her worst terrors came during the night. She could believe in herself in daylight, but alone in the pitch-blackness of the cellar she doubted her very existence. However hard she strained to see the walls and the floor, even her hand before her face, there was only darkness. And the darkness was more alive than she was.” 0 likes
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