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The Couple at Number 9    by Claire Douglas order for
Couple at Number 9
by Claire Douglas
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've enjoyed previous mysteries by Claire Douglas - Just Like the Other Girls and Then She Vanishes - so expected something just as unusual in The Couple at Number 9, and was not disappointed.

A pregnant Saffron Cutler and her partner, Tom Perkins, have moved into Saffy's Gran's cottage at 9 Skelton Place in Wiltshire, England, and are renovating it as their dream home. All goes well until the builders unearth a body from the rear garden!

Saffy rings her father (chief reporter on a national tabloid) for advice and he warns them they'll be swamped by press. Then they learn that there were two bodies and the police want to interview Saffy's grandmother, Mrs. Rose Grey, who's in a nursing home with Alzheimer's.

The story moves back and forth in time to show Gran's earlier life in the cottage with small Lorna (Saffy's mum) and how she came to share her home with
another woman. Slowly, jigsaw pieces of the puzzle come together - from Lorna's childhood memories, the few things Gran mentions, and what Saffy manages to dig up herself.

Readers also meet Theo, who does his best to look after his unpleasant father, and Theo's wife Jen. We wonder where they fit in the picture that's growing. The father has hired an investigator - who's he looking for and why? When the full picture emerges, it's a fascinating one.

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