Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Red Door

Rate this book
What would you do if you began to suspect one of your tenants could be the perpetrator
of a vicious double murder committed over thirty years ago?

It is 1983 and the grand old Victorian mansion ‘Rosalind’, nestled in the inner city village of Glebe, Sydney has been refurbished and converted by the new owner into four apartments, and a coach house in which she lives. Between her obligations as landlady to her odd assortment of tenants, and employment as fashion illustrator for the exclusive magazine Marie Claire, she yearns for a busy but peaceful existence, intent on burying memories from her devastating past.
However, her peace of mind slowly erodes as she begins to believe she is being watched by the mysterious Ahsan in Number Three, a reclusive man who happens to share his surname with the teenage sisters, Zahra and Amirah Billah, victims of a sinister and brutal double murder.
Her unwelcome enquiries yield far more questions than answers: What is Mr Ahsan hiding in Number Three? Who was the young man sighted with the beautiful Zahra underneath the Tanglewood Trees? What hold does the vile Monique have over her dear friend Annie and why does this objectionable woman’s name keep cropping up in her investigation? And do the residents of Cambridge Terrace even realise they are being watched? Her incessant probing begins to unsettle and disturb everyone around her; a fascination with the unsolved crime which becomes obsession - consuming her life, shaking relationships with her newfound friends and leaving a trail of devastation.
This is a spellbinding tale, as much a mystery novel with an immigrant’s tragedy woven into its centre, as a portrait of women who carry dark secrets but also persevere through the strength of friendship.
The Red Door will take hold of your imagination and never let go.


First published October 1, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Rosa Fedele

2 books12 followers
“For me, every painting and every book is a new adventure, started with a thrill of excitement and anticipation.”

Artist and author Rosa Fedele, daughter of Italian migrants to Australia, was forbidden from pursuing an artistic career. Finally able to follow her vocation in adulthood, she studied at the prestigious Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney.

Unconstrained by conventional expectations, her work is genre-defying – slipping between portraiture and still life to vintage cars, often veering off into the world of whimsy. Her preferred medium is oil, her style a blend of figurative and modern realism, indulging in the dramatic use of light and colour.

A member of Portrait Artists Australia, Australia’s largest industry association for professional portraitists, her work has been exhibited in NSW Parliament House and Parliament House Canberra, as well as numerous galleries and exhibitions in Australia and worldwide.

Rosa fell avidly in love with books at a very young age. Her favourites were those by C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, and later on Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey and Frank Herbert; in fact, anything with beautiful and spellbinding words and imagery that would allow her to escape into other worlds.

Taking a leap from creating pictures with a brush, Rosa transitioned to conveying images with words, publishing two illustrated suspense novels, both set in Sydney of the past. Both Rosa’s art and writing is sumptuously decadent and wickedly eccentric: blurring the line between reality and truth, she challenges the viewer and the reader to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the melodrama.

Her debut illustrated suspense novel THE RED DOOR was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream, to interweave a story with pictures and draw the reader into her own bewitching, and slightly dark-edged, world. The sequel to her modern gothic mystery THE LEGACY OF BEAUREGARDE was released 10 July 2018.

Follow #australiannoir for news/illustrations on the next novel.

You can found out more about Rosa Fedele at http://rosafedele.com/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/rosa.fedele.... or https://instagram.com/rosafedele/

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
6 (17%)
4 stars
25 (71%)
3 stars
4 (11%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
Profile Image for Suz.
1,097 reviews565 followers
June 28, 2016
What a refreshing road this book took me on! Debut author Rosa Fedele is not only just that but is what appears, to the most uncreative person in Australia, to be an extremely talented artist! She has treated us to a handful of her drawings throughout the book. These were fantastic additions and give the reader a sense of the foreboding, with serious drawings showing lots of emotion with what I thought to be really very spot on with the imagery of the era.

This story of intrigue leads us through the inner city of Sydney in the 1980’s, which I’ve always thought to be the daggiest time ever! Simon Le Bon, lining up at Ticketek after your parents dropped you off at 4am or some crazy time, and Mumm champagne – who knew that existed?! That’s probably got my name on it so that’s my next little mission.

I digress, what's new?! After what I began to assume was a bit of a case of ‘too much going on’ (I’m easily confused) all these happenings were really leading somewhere, and that somewhere was really very good. It was dark yet with light moments of lovely female friendship, where Madeline our stoic leading lady had some very troubling moments of her own. She is quite the woman who knows how to care for all those around her – but what about herself?

A theme I haven’t given much thought to since my own school days was featured a lot here, a culture gap that is quite wide from some immigrant families where male dominance and control is all mixed up, the women in these families are treated appallingly and have no socialisation outside of the home.

This is a quirky mystery, one that I enjoyed watching up to the finale where all the intricacies were tied up in the end. The writing was excellent and I look forward to the author’s next book. I enjoyed this just as much for the setting, the pop culture references and jargon, just as I enjoyed the story. They complimented each other.

A little tid bit that I loved: "So this kiss is for Christmas Eve." Kiss. "This one is for Christmas Day". Kiss. "This one is for New Years Eve". Slow kiss."

With my sincere thanks to the author for sending my hard copy book to read and review.
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
445 reviews286 followers
October 12, 2015
Glad to have found another Aussie book by an Aussie author to add to the list! I have been extremely unpatriotic through my life and have avoided Australian books. Only recently am I beginning to hugely regret this, as I have found some incredible books. I have wasted a lot of my life not reading Aussie books!! I am really enjoying the Australian settings, especially my home city Sydney - so I was glad to review this book as it is set in Glebe.

The main character (who we don't know by name until the very end), bought the mansion "Rosalind" after a troubling event from her past. She is in the process of renovating and refurbishing the whole place. Its going smoothly with exception of some strange events on the upper level, and the fact that the tenant in number three wont let her in, and she begins to suspect he may be watching her. She does a little digging only to find her tenant may be connected in some way to the vicious murders of two teenage girls that occurred twenty years prior. Her quest to find out what happened leads her to some stunning realisations that will shake up the comfortable life she has created for herself, and her new friends. Has she found a killer? What happened in her past to make her run away to Rosalind? And why is it so cold upstairs?

I must be honest. When I first started reading this I didn't think it was going anywhere. It felt quite disjointed, went around everywhere and I was a bit confused about who was who. I failed to see the significance of all the characters and parallel storylines. And the writing, with the small sections that ended without an explanation, began to frustrate me. However I stuck with it and was extremely pleasantly surprised as the story began to unfold and I couldn't put it down! Having finished it now I can appreciate how cleverly refreshing the writing was.

I loved the characters, especially Monique and Claudia. The main character and Anne annoyed me at times, but overall all the characters had their appealing qualities. I liked the main character a lot more after we learn of her back story. I enjoyed the romances and especially the complex - sometimes destructive friendships in the novel. And there were quite a few character twists to keep me satisfied! Especially towards the end of the book.

I would call this novel more of a mystery than a thriller, although it did have a few thrilling moments. However it was completely engrossing, especially in the last two thirds of the novel. The author also did the illustrations throughout the book which are beautiful, and definitely give the novel more character and texture. I only wish there was more of them, as they seemed to randomly appear at the beginning of some chapters but not others.

It was set in 1983, the year I was born, so perhaps I'm a bit too young to appreciate a lot of the early 80's references, however this didn't matter in the slightest. I have seen Duran Duran live (admittedly only because they were opening for Robbie Williams), so at least I wasn't completely clueless!

Would I recommend it?

Yes for any mystery and thriller lovers and fans of 1980's Sydney.
Many thanks to author Rosa Fedele for a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.

For more reviews visit my blog
Find me on twitter
Profile Image for Christine on hiatus, see “About me”.
589 reviews1,137 followers
February 21, 2016
I wish to thank Ms. Rosa Fedele for the kind gift of a copy of her debut novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

I went into this book cold, just recalling that the protagonist is the landlord of a beautifully renovated red-doored, four-flat mansion with a mysterious boarder. I thought I was starting a mystery, but the first many chapters consist of woven vignettes giving us a front row seat to the lives of numerous colorful characters living in Sydney, Australia in the mid 1980s. Those expecting to be captured immediately into the throes of a whodunit may feel some impatience with this section of the book, but I really enjoyed meeting these characters and anticipating where they were going to take me.

We do get to the mystery, which is actually deliciously complex, with questions and clues galore, but this story is much more than that. It is chock full of dark secrets. We see heartbreaking loss and tragedy striking good people, and their personal struggles to survive and move on. Ms. Fedele also writes about people who find themselves essentially alone in the world, but are able to bond with others through generosity, loyalty, friendship and love. Cultural differences and repercussions are explored, as are difficult themes like jealousy, hatred, revenge and, of course, murder.

Because of all the characters and their respective viewpoints of the goings on, each chapter contains multiple well-demarcated scenes, ranging from one paragraph to several pages in length. Some reviewers found this method of storytelling rather jolting, but I found it an interesting technique that worked well for me. I think Ms. Fedele deserves kudos for pulling off the very difficult task of tying together all the players and all the issues in the latter, very pacey, chapters. She gets even more accolades for not putting a big pretty red bow on the ending. I believe Ms. Fedele is planning a sequel, which I will seek out. Of note, Red Door does not end in a cliffhanger.

Let me not fail to mention that the author is an accomplished writer, both of prose and dialogue. The tinges of humor are great. I also need to gush a bit over Ms. Fedele's own illustrations included in this book. They are beautiful and add depth to the story.

I highly recommend Red Door to anyone interested in a tale with intriguing characters and a multifaceted complex mystery. Patience with the buildup and the many players is necessary but to me, easy to come by. I look forward to more from this very talented author.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,097 reviews2,664 followers
September 30, 2015
Glebe in Sydney, 1983 and Madeleine was happy with the renovation work of the project she had taken on. “Rosalind” was a beautiful old residence, elegant and serene, but the work required was daunting. All the rooms were being spruced up – all that is, except Number Three. The tenant was determined to stay put even during the noisiest construction; he also didn’t want any work done in his flat. Madeleine was uneasy around him, but fortunately she didn’t see him very often…

Anne lived in the coach house on the property and had fast become a good friend. It was to Anne that Maddie voiced her opinion and concerns about the resident in Number Three. And when she discovered the murders in the 50s of two teenage sisters who bore the same surname as her resident, she was sure he must be connected. With the brutal murders never having been solved, Maddie was sure she would be able to discover who killed them. Slowly she became obsessed; so much so that she drove her friends mad. Her suspicions and innuendos became cruel and unkind. She was completely focussed on her research; her friends suffered deeply.

What was wrong with the upper level of “Rosalind” – why was it always so cold and why did lights blow all the time? Did the feeling of someone watching her mean Maddie was in danger? And would the dark secrets of the past ever be revealed?

I very much enjoyed The Red Door by Aussie author Rosa Fedele. A tale of mystery and intrigue, it grabbed me from the start. The pace was brisk, but then it slowed – I found myself having trouble keeping up with all the characters. I also felt there was a little bit too much going on; but having said that, the story kept me enthralled to the end. Highly recommended.

With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Jennifer S. Alderson.
Author 30 books647 followers
July 16, 2017
The Red Door is a well-constructed series of complex mysteries set in Australia. I enjoyed the author's style, in particular her use of short fragments which slowly reveal more and more clues about the characters' dark pasts and their connections. Several characters have disturbing stories to tell; this is not a cozy mystery.
There are plenty of red herrings and I admit to not solving all of the mysteries before getting to the end!
I would recommend this book to murder mystery fans.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews404 followers
May 23, 2019
This is so not my kind of book. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started this, certainly not what I got! Yes it was quite slow at the start but my patience was rewarded. By the time I got to the point I would chuck it in (if I were going to chuck it in) I was so mesmerised by these quirky characters I just had to keep reading. I think my five stars is partly due to the fact that is really isn't my type of book and its so, so different that when I enjoy a book like this, I really, really enjoy it. If I read this stuff all the time I think I would get picky very quickly. Anyway, its such a subjective thing, these stars.

This was a book about love and loss but overwhelmingly about the power of friendship and human connections. It was also about new beginnings and the value of diversity, a community spirit and the dangers of gossip. The writing was just gorgeous, The narrative so textured and the characters so richly drawn and alive.

Set in Sydney in the early 1980s it describes a different Sydney to the one I know (and tolerate when I have to go there). Maddie's house has been renovated into four flats an she lives in the carriage house. Her place becomes a hive of activity as things kick off. There is plenty of drama to be going on with - the mysterious tenant in flat 3 who is never to be seen and avoids Maddie like the plague. There is a renewed interest in a 30 year old murder case, a possible stalker, strange goings on, a fire, a body found and a mad woman hell bent on revenge. A wonderful story through and through.
Profile Image for Jennifer (JC-S).
2,864 reviews197 followers
June 13, 2018
‘He’s watching me.’

Glebe, Sydney, 1983. ‘Rosalind’ is a beautiful old mansion, divided into apartments, gradually being restored by its new owner. The new owner, a woman whose name we don’t learn until near the end of the novel, is herself a bit of a mystery. One amongst many. Renovation of the mansion has challenges, some inexplicable occurrences, as well as a reclusive resident in Apartment 3.
And when the owner discovers that the man in Apartment 3 has the same surname as two teenage sisters brutally murdered over thirty years earlier, she is concerned. Can he be connected to the murders? They’ve never been solved. She becomes obsessed with the crime, obsessed with the tenant, and in danger of destroying her own newly-formed friendships.

I needed to concentrate while reading this novel: there is a lot of action, there are many different characters, with different perspectives to follow. The perspectives change frequently and can be confusing, especially as some of the characters have secrets to hide. All of this serves to heighten the suspense. I thought I’d worked out key parts, such as who had murdered the sisters, only to find that I was wrong. Sigh. I did work out other elements, though, and I found the actual solution more satisfying.

One element of the novel frustrated me: I could see no reason why the reader shouldn’t know the name of the protagonist much earlier in the novel. Why did that need to be a mystery, or was it simply a distancing technique? Overall, I enjoyed Ms Fedele’s debut novel, beautifully enhanced by her original artwork. Most of the different threads are brought to a satisfying conclusion. And, for those who wondered what the future might hold for some of the characters, Ms Fedele’s second novel ‘The Legacy of Beauregard’ is about to be published (in July 2018).

If you enjoy mystery novels and novels set in Sydney with more than a few interesting twists, you may well enjoy this.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Profile Image for Theresa Smith.
Author 5 books162 followers
March 11, 2018
The Red Door was an intriguing novel, a gothic mystery set in Sydney during the 1980s. I found myself gripped by this novel, utterly immersed into the world of ‘Rosalind’ and the people who lived in and around it.

There are a lot of things going on within this story and a lot of character perspectives to follow; you need to read closely and pay careful attention as the change in perspectives are not labelled and they occur frequently. There’s also a lot of ambiguity; a fair few people with secrets and unsavoury habits that are hinted at but not fully disclosed until crucial moments. Overall, this heightens the dread and suspense, and it also leads the reader on a merry dance in the wrong direction – more than once. There were a few times where I felt sure I knew where the story was headed, only to have to rug pulled out from under me. The sophistication of all of these plot lines weaving together in the end was quite remarkable and I really did enjoy seeing how it all panned out.

There’s a realistic edge to this story that cuts deep. Not everyone gets a happy ending, indeed, for many characters, there are grim tidings ahead, much like life itself. This kept the story real for me, establishing the issues Rosa tackled within the serious framework they were intended for. If I have one criticism, it’s that throughout the entire novel, I had no idea of the name of our protagonist. No one ever referred to her by name when they said hello, talked to her, or thought about her. It wasn’t until the last pages when we read a letter addressed to her that we find out her name. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it did put up a barrier to my connection with her. I like to know who I’m championing.

One of the very best features of this novel was the original artwork set throughout at key points. Rosa paints beautifully and I loved seeing her words come to life in these original illustrations.

All in all, I enjoyed The Red Door very much. I must have looked quite comical reading it at times, with my shocked face at all of the twists. The resolution is fairly open ended, not enough for a sequel, but certainly enough to leave you wanting. I’m looking forward to reading more from Rosa Fedele in the future.

Thanks is extended to the author for providing me with a copy of The Red Door for review.
Profile Image for Babus Ahmed.
792 reviews44 followers
January 29, 2016
Set in Glebe, Sydney, The Red Door is a book of intrigue as we follow the owner of mansion, Rosalind, which has been converted into flats. The resident in number three is mysterious and keeps to himself, rarely allowing anyone into the flat. However, on the lease paperwork the name is Billah, the same as the victims of a double murder thirty years ago. This leads to much speculation about the man in number three, which slowly does unravel as our protagonist and her friends delve into old newspapers and speak to a retired police officer who was on the case.

Much of the book revolves around the life of the owner of Rosalind and her friends, which packs it with characters and more intrigue about them. You have Claudia, a young girl who hangs around and is often covered in bruises, Anne who is a popular character and links us to the rather unlikable Monique and a host of other characters. This is also one of the elements that made the book a little hard to read as there was just so much in addition to this central story about the unsolved murder of two teenagers years ago that I felt my attention wrenched away from one character and situation to another too many times.

Despite the fact my attention was diverted to so many characters, I really enjoyed this book and I became so invested in the characters I couldn't put it down The last 60% was utterly gripping as we read the conclusive and loose ends to all the different stories and characters.

If this book had been better edited, so that the storyline was tighter and the narrative more linear, I think it would have possibly lost a bit of charm, however, it definitely could do with editing to make it easier to read and potentially a five star read.
Profile Image for Thebooktrail.
1,581 reviews283 followers
February 29, 2016
Booktrail the locations here: the Red door booktrail

Imagine this – a lovingly restored and renovated mansion spanning four floors and containing individual flats. The front door is red, red and mysterious and Maddie, the friendly artist in charge of it al knows most of the people who live within its walls. All apart from one man – pone reclusive man behind the door of number three.

This mansion contains many stories within its walls – what does on behind closed doors is the ultimate question and here we see exactly what goes on. There are stories from many residents, stories from women, men, and the various colourful and varied characters who find themselves living in close proximity with one another.

Short chapters, choppy vignettes and many voices blend with the author’s illustrations to create an intriguing setting of so much to look at.

The mystery of number three – the man who wants no part of the renovation – preferring to live how things are. But Rosalind seems to have a mind of its own with the ever cold corridors and rooms, the light bulbs which never seem to last very long and the apparent link to a brutal murder years ago.

Maddie and a friend start to investigate the case, taking apart Rosalind brick by brick until the truth starts to reveal itself, revealing the social changes and the history of Sydney and Australia at the same time.
Profile Image for marlin1.
642 reviews18 followers
November 1, 2015
The Red Door is a difficult book to describe. It was an enjoyable and interesting read as it meandered amongst a small group of people living in and around the house 'Rosalind' in Glebe, a suburb of Sydney in the 1983.
This book describes it's self as a mystery and while the thread is interwoven though out the story line, it really only takes centre stage in the last third of the book. I found the book well paced but not sure at first what direction is was really headed in, although that didn't deter from my enjoyment as we got to know the characters.
The the last third of the book was compelling reading, I think this is because I had become invested in the characters and not really knowing what part they played in the story, I had to know more. All becomes clear in the end and ties up well.
I must admit, I requested to read this as I lived in Sydney a short time in the 1980's and drove through Glebe everyday to work, so for me it was a bit of reminiscing of Sydney and the pop culture of that time. A lot of times I find books are obviously dated when set 'pre technology' but I think this could easily have been read as set in the present as well, especially as it does touch on racial issues and domestic violence.
Thank you to the author and The Reading Room for a copy to read and review. I also enjoyed the illustrations through out the book, it just gave another dimension.
October 4, 2015
I was worried about being frightened. I was more intrigued, caught up in all the mystery. I certainly didn't expect to cry. I need to know the fate of Claudie and Elanora. Bring on the next book please.
Profile Image for Sue Watts.
1 review
March 5, 2016
Christmas holidays, whilst sitting on a sun lounger by a pool, seemed the ideal opportunity to get ‘stuck into’ The Red Door. After a bit of a slow start, I hardly moved for 2 days in my quest to find out who committed the brutal murder of two teenage girls and why was the occupant of No 3 such a reclusive.

The Red Door by Rose Fedele requires both stamina and focus from its reader, as initially the plot and the characters are somewhat complex and confusing. However, something draws you in and the combination of the characters and the wonderful descriptions of “Rosalind”, the beautiful Glebe mansion lovingly renovated, soon engrosses the reader’s attention.

Fedele’s combination of involving complex characters and the way she weaves together their present lives and historical events is excellent.

In the second half, The Red Door gathers pace and as you start searching for clues and in your determination to find the answers, you cannot stop turning the pages.

The clever and unexpected ending to this intriguing story leaves you wanting more and eagerly awaiting a sequel.
Profile Image for Simon.
Author 2 books9 followers
September 13, 2016
On the whole, I found this a really enjoyable story. The plot was complex and intriguing, and I found myself wanting to keep picking up the story. In the end I was creating time for myself to read it.

I enjoyed the style of writing too- Ms Fedele clearly has talent as an author. Her narrative was engaging and placed me in every scene.

I struggled a little with the many voices in the story though. It was occasionally hard to follow, but more importantly I found such short snippets a little irritating on occasion. It would have been nice to hear from each character for longer, to be inside their heads for a decent period, rather than the odd, short paragraph. I found this a little disruptive, and that is why I rated the novel 3, rather than 4.

Having said that, I did enjoy The Red Door and would certainly encourage others to read it.
Profile Image for Brian Wutz.
Author 2 books6 followers
March 2, 2017
Several of the other reviewers have plot summaries so I will forgo the same.

Rosa's writing style, much like her art, will literally reach up off of the page and hold you in a warm embrace. Reading the work satisfied a longing I didn't even know was there - nostalgia for better writing craft.

I highly recommend readers in the states to try something new and give this book a shot. Stick with it, enjoy that it isn't American english, it pays off as you continue right to the end.

Fantastic writing. I echo the other reviewer comments regarding structure and point of view shifts however this work is superbly presented with excellent plot and pace.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get an autographed copy. This is a book I'll keep and display on my bookshelf, and I bet you may want to do the same.
Profile Image for Blythe.
2 reviews1 follower
October 16, 2015
Overall the book was really good. It started out a bit slow but once things started to unfold I couldn't put it down. I loved how crazy Monique was and the main character was very likeable.

It jumped around a bit and there were parts where I was confused and I would also question why some characters were necessary (i.e. Jo..).

For a first time author I was truly impressed and looking forward to another book from this author!
October 12, 2015
Beautifully written - it was a joy to imagine the gorgeous houses described so well.
Certainly kept me turning the pages - well imagined characters, with lives come to life on the page.

Something for everyone in this book, a bit of history, murder mystery, bedroom action and architecture!
Profile Image for Terry Tyler.
Author 29 books567 followers
January 8, 2016
3.5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's Review Team

The main character in this dark mystery set in Australia is artist Maddie who has bought a mansion, 'Rosalind', letting out apartments to tenants. As she completes her renovations, she begins to have suspicions about the tenant in number three, who won't let her in. This is all linked to some local murders that occurred in the 1950s. There are unanswered questions surrounding Maddie herself, too.

The book is illustrated by Ms Fedele, and these pictures are really lovely; I just wished my kindle was bigger so I could see them better. Honestly, they're gorgeous. She's a very good writer, too; her dialogue is realistic, sharp and often amusing (thank you for 'blessed are the cheese makers'!), with each character cleverly observed and clearly defined. I was immediately entertained by Maddie's friends, unconventional Annie and bitchy, self-obsessed Monique, and tenant Mrs Hewitson; her dialogue was excellent. Maddie has a young friend, a schoolgirl called Claudia; there is intrigue surrounding her, and her apparently unpleasant family situation, from the beginning. There's room for a secret love affair or two, as well...

Some of the writing is a real joy to read. The problem I had with the book is that it's very disjointed, with new characters/situations/locations appearing every few pages. It switches between points of view without any introduction, as though the author had stuck in bits in as she thought of them without any thought for structure. One minute I'd be reading from Maddie, in the first person, and then after just a tiny line of asterisks I'd find I was reading a third person conversation between Annie and Monique ABOUT Maddie, then it would be back to the main character in the first person talking to Jo about Monique and some other characters, then Birgitta would appear and talk about a lot of new people, and hang on, who are we with now? Oh, I see, it's Claudia, in the third person, and some more names to remember.... if my eyes missed the tiny asterisks, as they did on occasion, I'd be left thinking, eh? What's going on here?

Ms Fedele is clearly a very talented artist and writer; the plot's clever, the writing is atmospheric, intelligent and sometimes quite beautiful—for this itself the book is worthy of 4.5 or 5*. The problem was that it was difficult to read, with such a confusing and jerky structure that I couldn't enjoy it properly. If you can get past this it's great, and the chopping and changing does lessen after the first third. It just needs planning out better and a really good edit to streamline and perhaps trim out some of the unneccessary information. Then, I think it would be the really terrific book it deserves to be.
Profile Image for Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews.
1,914 reviews271 followers
November 2, 2015
How is the beautiful residence of Rosalind in Sydney connected to the unsolved murder of two teenage girls over twenty years prior? The Red Door, by debut Australian author Rosa Fedele, explores this murder mystery set in the 1980’s through her character Madeline, who becomes the new owner of the sprawling Rosalind residence. Since becoming owner of Rosalind, Madeline is determined to spruce the place up, embarking on a series of renovations on the ageing apartment. The refurbishment of Rosalind goes smoothly, until a long time resident of apartment number three refuses to partake in the renovations. Madeline has a strange feeling about the mysterious male resident of apartment three. After some investigation, it is discovered that the gentleman in apartment three shares a history, including the same surname with two teenage girls who were murdered, over two decades ago. The case remains unsolved to this day. Will Madeline’s digging into the past finally put this case to rest?
The Red Door was a book that ticked many of the boxes for me before I even began reading it. I am drawn to books that contain a mystery involving a residence. An Australian setting is an even bigger drawcard and I love to discover new Australian authors. The time frame in which the book is set - 1950’s and 1980’s Sydney, greatly appealed to this reader too. I found myself fascinated by the social and cultural issues that were prevalent at this time, which Fedele covers nicely.
I am very pleased to say I enjoyed The Red Door. Initially, it took me awhile to settle into the book, the first half of the book was a little fractured, but once I had a handle on the characters, I found myself flying through the book. The second half of the book had me captured until the very end. The book finished with in a more than satisfying conclusion to the murder mystery. I also appreciated the magnificent illustrations that adorn various pages of the book, completed by the very talented author of the book. The illustrations added a great edge to the book and complimented the overall reading experience of this novel.
All in all, The Red Door is a refreshing and different book, from a debut author who can write an intriguing Australian murder mystery.
Thank you to the author, Rosa Fedele and The Reading Room, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Verushka.
319 reviews12 followers
October 26, 2015
Two things interested me about this book: that it was set in a Glebe, a corner of Sydney that I have loved forever and that this comes with illustrations, haunting ones in fact.

Madeline, the new owner of Rosalind, is settling in to her new life in Glebe. She’s developing friendships and meeting people, and she’s working on renovating Rosalind, save for apartment 3, which her tenant doesn’t want worked on.

As a result, Madeline is surrounded by a large cast of characters. The positives of this, is that the author works clearly on developing those characters and their presence and purpose in Madeline’s life. And, this cast is unique, funny and endearing and they add to the atmosphere of this story as a whole. They matter to Madeline.

There will be instances, I think when some readers might think too much time had been spent on them, detracting from the tension that a story like this needed in parts. But on the hand, this secondary of characters still does add a wealth of atmosphere to the book and to Madeline, so I am of two minds about them myself.

However, it is an intriguing mystery and Madeline pursues it, determined to find answers. I appreciate that the author does add some diversity to the story, which reflects Sydney as a whole.

An added bonus is the illustrations by Rosa Fedele, who is an acclaimed artist, and includes some wonderful illustrations that add so much to the story.
Profile Image for B.A. Spicer.
Author 14 books71 followers
February 5, 2016
I really enjoyed The Red Door. The language is beautiful, especially in the first third of the book, which includes the kind of descriptive imagery that brings a setting alive – and the setting is unusual in that it centres around a period house in an Australian suburb of Sydney. Maddie buys ‘Rosalind’ as a renovation project and one by one we meet the people who either live nearby or come to work on the house. I found the observational style reminiscent of Henry James’ novels – fine detail and expertly written dialogue. We learn about the people who inhabit Maddie’s world from a variety of perspectives and yet Maddie herself remains rather a mystery until later (we don’t even learn her name until the end of the book).

The plot is intricate. We gradually discover the history of the house and its local environment. A history filled with disturbing tales of child abuse and murder. Maddie becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to two young girls whose bodies were found in a local park – I was riveted. The bringing together of the sub-plots is nothing short of miraculous.

If I had to say what detracted from my enjoyment it would be that the second third of the book seemed to lose pace a little. But in the final third, the action picked up with a vengeance and I stayed up far too late, reading until the words swam on the page!

There will be a sequel, apparently, and I very much look forward to reading it.
2 reviews
December 16, 2015
The story parallels the renovations of a wonderful old Sydney house with the shifting relationships that surround it. The central character is a strong woman who seeks the truth and justice for two young migrant girls whose unsolved murder seems connected to the local community. The question is – will she solve the case that the police were unable to solve, without placing herself in mortal danger? And the icing on the cake? Rosa is an artist and has illustrated chapters with beautiful paintings that hint at what’s to come. A great read.
3 reviews
October 27, 2015
I was intrigued by this very unexpected mystery set in Sydney, I laughed with the colorful characters at first, then stopped laughing as the story gradually intensified, with the characters' problems touching on many uncomfortable social and cultural issues.

One character "Claudia" in particular interested me and I would like to know what happens to her next. It looks like there will be another in the series. I loved this book and am looking forward to the next. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Linnéa Ryan.
1 review30 followers
January 31, 2017
The Red Door abounds with mysteries. Every time a reader thinks one's been solved, another crops up to take its place. Full of death, stalking, lies, and abuse the novel sheds light on some of humanity's darkest desires. However, in everything there must be balance. Fedele infuses these dreary bouts with heart warming sentiments, great shows of resilience and strength, and touching bonds of friendship. A more in-depth review of The Red Door will be posted on February 21st at https://anewlookonbooks.wordpress.com/
3 reviews
October 27, 2015
I was intrigued by this very unexpected mystery set in Sydney, I laughed with the colorful characters at first, then stopped laughing as the story gradually intensified, with the characters' problems touching on many uncomfortable social and cultural issues.

One character "Claudia" in particular interested me and I would like to know what happens to her next. It looks like there will be another in the series. I loved this book and am looking forward to the next. Highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.