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The Boy at the Keyhole

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,334 ratings  ·  339 reviews
An electrifying debut in the vein of Shirley Jackson and Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, about a British boy who, after his mother is abruptly called away to America, begins to suspect that perhaps she did not leave, but was murdered—by the housekeeper who cares for him in the family's isolated country estate.

Nine-year-old Samuel lives alone in a once great estate in Surrey w
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Hanover Square Press
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Average rating 3.13  · 
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 ·  1,334 ratings  ·  339 reviews

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May 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfectly serviceable suspense novel that takes place within the confines of a manor house. A housekeeper is charged with the care of a nine year old boy during the absence of his mother. Needless to say things between them become rather tense and play out psychologically and otherwise until both reach their breaking point. The comparisons to Du Maurier and Shirley Jackson seem about right but I would add a whisper of Thomas Tryon.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Push pins on an atlas are the only way nine year old Samuel Clay can track his mother's trip to America. That, and eight postcards sent from various locales. Mrs. Clay was seeking a large investment to jump start the sagging business she runs since the death of her husband. Samuel aches for his mother but also resents her. Why has she been gone one hundred thirteen days? Why did she abruptly leave in the middle of the night without saying goodbye? After school, Samuel races home hoping to find h ...more
Nine year old Samuel Clay lives with his housekeeper Ruth on an English estate. Samuel's father has died and his mother abruptly left in the middle of the night to America to help with their failing family business.

It has been over 5 months since Samuel has spoken to his mother and he desperately is missing her. Samuel receives random postcards from his mother that he keeps in an atlas to map his mother's locations across America. Samuel is hoping and praying that his mother will return from Ame
DJ Sakata
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite Quotes:

Ruth could do that. Make a decree, like a queen or something, that certain topics had reached their end and that would be that.

Now that he stood on the precipice of this wrongdoing, he felt the fluttering in his chest that made every breath sound as if he were sitting on a rattling train.

The same wine his mother said made his father prone to unsettling fits of national pride and falling asleep midsentence.

Part of the reason Samuel was sent to the local school and not somewhere m
While, The Boy at the Keyhole promises a psychological horror showdown, it falls flat on its delivery. It's the early 1960s, and nine year old Samuel lives in this beautiful spacious estate in England, where he is being taken care of by his housekeeper Ruth. Samuel's father had passed away, leaving the family in financial disarray. Samuel's mother has ventured to America in pursuit of work so the family can get stable again—before the family loses their house. In the mean time, Ruth is Samue ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A suspenseful psychological thriller involving Samuel, a 9 year old boy and his, and the estate homes’ caretaker, Ruth. Honestly, I could not put this book down!

Ruth is a questionable person at the get go. No one really knows of her personal or professional background. She is brusque, she is a perfectionist, very strict and runs the home with an iron will and fist. She also runs 9 year old Samuel, her charge, with that same controlling manner. This woman, while she cooks and cleans impeccably a
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
The Boy in the Keyhole has all the elements of a great thriller - a decaying estate in England, an abusive housekeeper, and a curious boy trying to figure out what happened to his mother. I could not put this book down, but the big, pivotal moment I was waiting for never materialized. I was extremely confused about the ending. It definitely kept my interest, but left me unsatisfied at the end.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A staggeringly good psychological thriller.

Stephen Giles' THE BOY AT THE KEYHOLE is being marketed as his "first work for adults". This is one hell of a debut.....

Coming from a background of children's fiction, Giles perfectly captures the voice and mindset of his main character, nine-year-old Samuel Clay, a lonely child who comes to believe that his housekeeper has murdered his mother. The novel is told completely from Samuel's point of view, and his story is both compelling and heartbreakin
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Thank you to Harlequin - Hanover Square Press and Stephen Giles for an advanced copy of The Boy at the Keyhole. This was a psychological brain teaser to say the least! There was much to be enjoyed with this book but also a little slow in places. If you are a big fan of slow burns that tease through plausible outcomes until the final reveal, this is a book that may appeal to you.

The plot is about a 9-year-old boy living in England. His family home is bankrupt with most of the servants having alr
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This sinister psychological thriller focuses around an age-old conundrum: if two people have conflicting versions of what is true, who is the unreliable narrator?

Young Samuel lives with his housekeeper Ruth in the crumbling family estate in Cornwall. His father is dead and his mother is an America trying to resurrect her husband’s mordant business. But is she really? Or has the housekeeper had a hand in her disappearance?

Ruth is responsible but harsh and her explanations seem to add up. And Samu
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nine-year-old Samuel has been left in the care of the housekeeper, Ruth, for over 100 days while his mother went to America to try to raise money to save the family steel business. The story takes place mostly in the mind of Samuel - suspense that builds very slowly until both Samuel and Ruth are at each other's throats. The story doesn't come out and say what actually happened, but you get a pretty good idea. Not what I expected and really not the book for me, but it was interesting enough to f ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, netgalley
Nine-year-old Samuel misses his mother. She’s left him alone with the housekeeper Ruth. Ruth as told Samuel that his mother had to go to America to try to save the family business. She didn’t even say goodbye and left in the middle of the night while he was sleeping. But she’s been gone months and he begins to suspect that something has happened to her. He begins to believe that Ruth has murdered his mother.

The comparisons of this book to the work of Shirley Jackson and Daphne Du Maurier convinc
Kimberly Dawn
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
What has become of nine-year-old Samuel’s mother? She has been missing for months after a trip abroad. Has she come to harm? Or does she simply not care to come home? I had to finish this book in one setting, staying up half the night to do so. Told from the nine-year-old boy’s point of view, I often felt his character as written was a little too clever and bold in his sleuthing and detective ability for his young age. However, it added to and made the story more compelling. Precocious though he ...more
Kelly Long
Aug 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, arcs
I read an ARC of this book.
This was a slow burn that turned into a dud. That ending... What a letdown.
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
This slow burn of a psychological mystery will leave you guessing what is true and what is not.

What else is a nine-year-old boy supposed to do when his mother leaves to go to another country in the middle of the night without even saying goodbye? Of course he's going to try and figure out why she would do such a thing. Enter his friend who starts putting ideas of murder in his head and watch the wheels start to turn!

Ruth, the housekeeper and now his guardian is not the nicest. She's strict, alm
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2019-read, mystery
Nine-year-old Samuel provides a great and unusual point of view in this claustrophobic historical story. Poor Samuel is pining for his long absent mother, who is supposed to be on a fundraising trip to save the family's steel mills. Meanwhile housekeeper Ruth is strict, and often physically abusive, and she constantly polices and restricts Samuel's access to areas of the house, and to his contact with others. Samuel is desperate for his mother to return, and eventually gets it into his head that ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"This house won't hold your secrets--it will betray them...This house tells its tales with anyone with sense enough to listen."

I enjoyed The Boy at the Keyhole more than I expected to. This is a slow-burning psychological gothic novel with tones of Shirley Jackson. Don't expect major twists and turns or anything crazy, but it's a good story about secrets and a crumbling house.

At some points, it feels a little drawn out. I think this could have worked better as a short story, but I still really l
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was sadly a letdown.

When I saw who the author was, I was thrilled to give it a read. I absolutely adored Ivy Pocket (she is sassy!!) so I was ready for an adult book.

Very very disappointed. The book was more or less plotless - you get the whole plot from the inner flap - and I for one thought Ruth was going to be more abusive than she actually was.

Basically here was the book:

Samuel (who btw I did not have one ounce of sympathy for): I want my mommy!
Ruth: She's in America
Samuel: But I
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
In 1961, 9 year old Samuel is being cared for by the family housekeeper Ruth. His mother was suddenly called away to America on business and has been gone for months. Samuel begins to suspect that Ruth has killed his mother, and he tries to prove it.

I don’t know who is the intended audience for this book. It is told from the point of view of a child and its blandness and lack of suspense makes it feel like a middle school version of psychological suspense. However, the ending would be confusing
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed Giles' writing and the voice he gave to Samuel - the way he mimicked / repeated the words of his parents / Ruth - but I agree with other reviews... we went around in circles a lot before the final scenes and I didn't find Samuel particularly engaging or Ruth very consistent.

Given 4mths had passed since Samuel's mother had left it seemed a little strange that he was now suddenly becoming agitated.

As for the final scenes... they were a tad confusing and frustrating after such a slow bu
JE Owen
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. Its hard to write about this without giving away spoilers so I'll say nothing at all about the plot except that it is a nail biting read, your belief about what is going on twists and turns as the story develops.
Wonderful characters that just seem so real.
5 out of 5!
Diane Hernandez
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Boy at the Keyhole is a suspenseful psychological thriller by a debut author.

In 1961, nine-year-old Samuel is at home in England with his housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother is searching for business investors in America. Samuel is concerned because his mother has been gone four months. Her only contact are bi-monthly postcards from America. Ruth tries to cut expenses as much as possible but the home’s artwork is being sold to pay the bills. Where is Samuel’s mother and why isn’
Audra (ouija.reads)
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller
A young boy's mother goes away in the night without saying a word, leaving him under the care of a stern housekeeper. But so much time passes that Samuel begins to think she didn't leave him at all, but rather something more nefarious happened—and someone is covering it up.

I love the idea of this book, but it didn't work for me. The good news is that it is a very quick, one-sitting type read that doesn't ask to be drawn out.

The comparisons to Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier lean solely on
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a physiological drama told from the point of view of a nine-year old boy. It’s a unique perspective to see young Samuel Clay’s view of his world, one where his mother Margot has been away for more than 100 days.

He receives no phone calls, no telegrams or packages. The only thing he waits for are the few postcards his mother sends from her travels across the United States and of course, his hope of her return. Samuel lives alone in a large estate in Surrey England with only the housekeepe
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin/Hanover Press for the advance copy of this tension filled novel of psychological suspense. I found myself riveted to each page from its beginning to the startling conclusion. I would have liked a short aftermath, but found it more compelling than other mysteries I have read lately. There is a small cast of characters in a deteriorating manor with little physical action but lots of mental stress and strain.

Samuel is a nine year old boy living in an impoverished
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This to me is the quintessential two star book. If you looked up "Goodreads two star rating" in a dictionary, there should be a picture of The Boy at the Keyhole.

Everything about this was fine. The dialogue, the pacing, the plot - all perfectly fine and serviceable. Nothing wrong with any of it, but nothing awe-inspiring - or even above average - either. This is a tight little psychological "thriller." I did not find it especially thrilling myself. I found it to be... fine.

At 268 pages this is
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Haunting and dark as hell. Memorable.

Only readalike I can think of without giving away any plot points is Iain Reid's I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
I am not sure what I thought I might find in the pages of this book but I don't think it is what I found. :(

It's about a young boy Samuel who is worried about his mother who has gone off on business and been gone for about 5 months. His housekeeper Ruth has been looking after him. Now she is not a very nice person but she is taking care of a little brat so I guess I might act like her

One of Samuels friends puts a little seed of doubt in his mind about how the housekeeper probably kill
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nine-year-old Samuel Clay lives with the family's housekeeper, Ruth, on a deteriorating English estate.  His father has died and his mother has traveled to America to secure capital for their failing business.

It's been over five months since Samuel has spoken to his mother; he receives random postcards from her and marks her locations in an atlas in the study.  He misses her terribly and is upset she left in the middle of the night without saying goodbye.

Samuel's imagination runs wild and all it
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: september-2018
Thank you Harlequin Press for an e-copy of The Boy at the Keyhole for review.
This short little novel was pretty dark. Nine year old Samuel’s mother left one night without a word for business in America. He is left with the housekeeper, Ruth, with only sporadic postcards to remember her by. As Samuel wonder if his mother will ever come back, he starts to suspect that maybe something more sinister is afoot. Maybe Ruth killed her, and he needs the proof.
Very quick little story, I liked the tone an
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