When Libby Jones turns 25, she inherits the house in which she was found as a baby, alone in a crib. Three people were dead in the kitchen, two of them her parents. Although it was evident that the bodies had remained untouched for a few days, baby Libby seemed to have been cared for during this time. Her diapers were dry and she was not hungry or crying—a will was found by the police.
Libby was adopted and later told that her parents had died in a car accident. Not until she is much older does she learn that she is to inherit the upscale, imposing mansion in the heart of London. The house is worth millions of dollars even though it is in poor condition. Libby, working as an assistant at a kitchen design store and living in a modest apartment, knows that her life is about to change dramatically.
When Libby is given the keys to the house by the attorney she marvels at the home’s grandeur. She is intimidated by its size, its evidence of former opulence, and uneasy about its unexplained and lurid history. She becomes frightened when she hears human noises from upstairs during her first visit.
A journalist, Miller Roe, relentlessly covered the story of the murders and the baby for two years after the horrific events, and Lilly knows nothing about a cult that inhabited the house—one her parents belonged to—until she tracks down Roe. He reached a dead end in his search 25 years ago. But with Roe’s renewed interest, he and Libby uncover the mystery of her parents’ death and the life they led before she was born.
The author tells this story from three points of view, one of them Libby’s, and the other two from people who lived in the house during the years before Libby was born. It’s a harrowing tale. The link between the three narrators is revealed. The reader will suspect the connections, but surprises are in store.
Lisa Jewell also is the author of “And Then She Was Gone.” Both that book and this one are mystery thrillers with themes of good and evil. I highly recommend “The Family Upstairs” for those who are drawn to realistic, chilling suspense stories.