Samuel Clay, a 9-year-old boy whose father has just passed away, has been left under the care of the strict disciplinarian housekeeper, Ruth. But not everything is as it seems in this once grand estate in Cornwall. Ruth said that Samuel’s mother left in the dead of night to travel abroad to America, but can Ruth be trusted? His mother has been gone for months, and all that Samuel has left of her are the sporadic postcards she’s sent on her travels. Samuel can’t help but begin to suspect that something awful has happened to his mother. Is it just his imagination, or is Ruth really a cold-blooded killer? This gripping novel is filled with the “Did she, or didn't she?” emotional tension that all mystery lovers crave.
"A fiendishly efficient, gorgeously written, nasty little thrill ride of a psychological thriller. I couldn't put it down, and it's entirely possible that I'll never sleep again. A true tour-de-force of a debut novel."--Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham and Jane Steele For fans of Shirley Jackson, Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier, an electrifying debut about a boy left alone in his family's English estate with a housekeeper he suspects has murdered his mother Nine-year-old Samuel lives alone in a once-great estate in Surrey with the family's housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother has been abroad for months, purportedly tending to her late husband's faltering business. She left in a hurry one night while Samuel was sleeping and did not say goodbye.Beyond her sporadic postcards, Samuel hears nothing from his mother. He misses her dearly and maps her journey in an atlas he finds in her study. Samuel's life is otherwise regulated by Ruth, who runs the house with an iron fist. Only she and Samuel know how brutally she enforces order.As rumors in town begin to swirl, Samuel wonders whether something more sinister is afoot. Perhaps his mother did not leave but was murdered--by Ruth.Artful, haunting and hurtling toward a psychological showdown, The Boy at the Keyhole is an incandescent debut about the precarious dance between truth and perception, and the shocking acts that occur behind closed doors.