Book review:The House of Four by Barbara Nadel

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The House of Four by Barbara Nadel (first published in 2017 by Headline)

Barbara Nadel has a horde of other books available, and yet The House of Four was the first of her lit babies I ever picked up, and I adored it! I am kicking myself (figuratively) as you read this for never having treated myself to her writing before. 

Inspector Ikmen is called to a derelict house which contains the bodies of four dead siblings. All four were well into their nineties, and all were stabbed through the heart. Across the city, random stabbings and sightings of an odd and shadowy nature are reported with increasing frequency, and Ikmen and his team begin to wonder if the incidents are related. 

What could four reclusive nonagenarians have in common with devil sightings and madmen? Apart from a sordid history of alchemy and the dark arts, the siblings appear to have much in common with the (aptly named) Devil House which holds their corpses. 

In an effort to understand the four recluses, who buried themselves away from society as well as each other, Ikmen requires the assistance of everyone in his team, as well as a language specialist to decipher decades-old Ottoman letters, which flowed between the siblings where words failed.

All the while, the team begins to realise that evil has no timeline and that a frail body does not necessarily hide a frail heart.

Barbara Nadel is truly talented and her stories are thrilling, unique and deeply satisfying. Her settings and characters are varied and nuanced, and she has a knack for providing the unexpected (read: no predictable plots here, ladies and gents). 

My suggestion is that you read The House of Four, and then (like me) become a fan and source all her older work. 

WATCH: Barbara chats about her previous novel A Private Business

Read more of Samantha’s reviews on her blog.

Purchase a copy of the book on takealot.com.

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