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
I’m so pleased with this lovely review from Mat Coward of the Morning Star. He tells us that ‘this debut novel begins a series featuring an appealing, and more believable than usual, amateur sleuth.’
When I wrote IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES it was important to me that I showed a different, more positive side to immigration, and I’m delighted that the socialist paper the Morning Star has chosen to review my book.
Let’s hope he’s right when he says that ‘it’s a long time before Mundy runs out of plots’!
‘LENA and Timea have know each other since they were children in a small village in Hungary.
In IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES by Elizabeth Mundy, a desire to see more of the world has brought them to Islington where they work as cleaners in private homes.
When Timea vanishes, Lena is convinced that one of her client has silenced her after she uncovered one too many secrets with her duster. The police don’t agree, so it’s up to Lena to find her friend
This debut novel begins a series featuring an appealing, and more believable than usual, amateur sleuth. The daily help set-up, along with the guest worker subculture, should mean it’s a long time before Mundy runs out of plots.’
The Morning Star
This review on www.lizlovesbooks.com might be the best one yet!
Barnsley describes IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES as ‘a wonderfully quirky, gorgeous crime drama with a main protagonist you can really get behind, some cracking dialogue, an intricately fascinating plot and really, despite the dark nature of some of the crime elements, a whole lot of fun.’
She goes on to say that ‘IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES has a beautifully immersive mystery element, a hugely refreshing change from your standard detective/Private Investigator/Lawyer route – Lena is like the Poirot of cleaners.’
You can’t ask for a better comparison than that!
Read the full review here.
IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES had a lovely 4.5 star review from Natasha Harding in The Sun today. I’m absolutely delighted with her judgement: ‘Beautiful writing, a fine debut.’
‘LENA SZARKA, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, takes huge pride in her job – even though the people she works for rarely notice her existence.
When her friend Timea disappears, she suspects one of her clients. The police don’t share her suspicions so Lena beings her own investigation.
She quickly discovers a whole world she didn’t know anything about – and it frightens the life out of her
Beautiful writing, a fine debut.’