The Crime Readers' Association

‘The Downstairs Neighbour’ by Helen Cooper

7th January 2022

In a converted Georgian townhouse in south west London, three families live under one roof.

The large flat that takes up the top two floors is home to the Harlow family: happily married Paul and Steph, and their bubbly teenage daughter Freya. The smaller first floor flat is rented by Emma, who spends most of her time alone, listening to people coming in and out of the building. And the basement flat belongs to Chris, a local driving instructor, who prefers to keep his personal life private from the neighbours.

But their lives are all upended when Freya vanishes. As the police become involved and a frantic Paul and Steph desperately search for answers, they begin to realise that the truth behind their daughter’s disappearance may lie closer to home than they were expecting.

When everyone has something to hide, can you ever really know those closest to you? Or will some secrets be taken to the grave?


“The unrelenting tension of this well-crafted debut kept me whizzing through the book. Loved the tension, the secrets and the satisfying, unexpected conclusion. Recommended!” ― KL Slater

“I can’t remember the last book that made me guess and long for answers quite as much as The Downstairs Neighbour. The story was always one step ahead of me, catching me out. Gripping, teasing, intricately plotted, an accomplished debut that’s impossible to put down.” ― Cath Weeks

“Lock your doors, close your curtains, and sink into this claustrophobic tale of families, neighbours and buried secrets. Tense and perfectly paced, this emotionally charged novel will keep you guessing right to the very end” ― Emma Rous

 “If you want smart writing and a book that dashes all your theories on ‘who dun it’ The Downstairs Neighbour is your bag. I adored this book! So clever, so engaging, such heart.” ― L.V. Matthews

“A gripping read with plenty of twists, Cooper’s debut will keep you guessing throughout” ― Heat

“The air is thick with the sound of chickens coming home to roost in this promising domestic noir debut” — Mark Sanderson ― The Sunday Times Crime Club

“A heart-pounding debut . . . Even avid suspense readers won’t be able to predict all the twists. Cooper is off to a strong start” ― Publishers Weekly

“A compelling story about secret pasts and private lives” ― Waitrose Magazine

You can read more about Helen Cooper and her books here.

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