In The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, Libby Jones inherits a mansion in London’s exclusive Chelsea neighborhood when she turns twenty-five. Though the house is in disrepair, it is nevertheless worth millions of pounds. With her inheritance, Libby also learns the identity of her birth parents, owners of 16 Cheyne Walk, where, twenty-five years earlier, police arrived to find three bodies dressed in black robes, dead of an apparent cult-related suicide pact. A well-cared for baby was rescued from the scene, but four teenaged children living in the home were missing and never located.
Libby senses more to the story, and aided by her co-worker, Dido, an expert on Agatha Christie, and Miller, a journalist whose dedication to the story cost him his marriage, she attempts to find out what really happened at 16 Cheyne Walk. Libby, however, isn’t the only person who has been waiting for her twenty-fifth birthday, and as she comes closer to the truth, her safety becomes ever more perilous.
To be honest, the book started slow for me, but about eighty pages in, I was hooked at a shocking pivot point, and I ended up liking the book overall. It is told from the perspective of three different characters, and their overlapping and at times conflicting narratives kept me intrigued. Given the events at 16 Cheyne Walk, it was interesting to observe how the teenagers were affected. I do wish, however, that there had been a bit more context regarding the adults’ psychology.
Once I got into the groove of the book, I was highly invested and stayed up late finishing it! The Family Upstairs is my favorite Lisa Jewell book so far.