There’s a very insightful review from Larissa Kyzer on Reviewing the Evidence. She describes IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES as “the perfect of-our-moment set-up that would be compelling even if it weren’t for the crime plot”.
“As a rule, the fundamental premise for most mystery series featuring an amateur detective is a shaky one. After all, elderly spinsters, small town librarians, and mystery authors don’t generally live the kind of lives that lead them to get mixed up with one violent crime, let alone many. This, then, is one of the fundamental delights of Elizabeth Mundy’s debut IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES: her protagonist—the plucky and ambitious Lena Szarka—literally goes through other people’s dirty laundry for a living.
Lena is a Hungarian cleaner in London, living a version of that all-too-common and none-too-glamorous immigrant experience. Namely, she works exhausting hours at an unskilled, low-paying job while living with multiple roommates and dreaming of the day that she’ll finally get a foothold in her adopted home. Add to that the fact that she’s an Eastern European in post-Brexit London, forced weather all manner of oblique microagressions and blatant discriminations (“You’re Romanian, too, aren’t you? You come here to beg”), and you have the perfect of-our-moment set-up that would be compelling even if it weren’t for the crime plot.” Read more