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
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.’
IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES is reviewed by Geoffrey Wassell in the BOOKS FICTION CRIME section of the Daily Mail today. I’m thrilled that he says ‘Lena’s tenacity and common sense illuminate this engaging story.’
IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES
by Elizabeth Mundy
THE heroine of this debut novel is a Hungarian Immigrant, Lena Szarka, who works in fashionable North London, cleaning rich people’s houses. When her fellow cleaner, another migrant named Timea, goes missing, Lena immediately suspects that one of their clients is to blame. They all seem to have secrets to hide.
At first, the police do not seem interested, so Lena starts to investigate herself. Then Timea’s body turns up and the case suddenly takes a darker turn.
Lena’s tenacity and common sense illuminate this engaging story by the granddaughter of a Hungarian immigrant to the U.S., who now works at a London investment bank.