Synopses & Reviews
From the internationally bestselling, award-winning crime writer Minette Walters, The Cellar
is a harrowing, compulsively readable novel about a family of African immigrants, the Songolis, and the dark secret they keep hidden in the depths of their seemingly respectable British home.
On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songolis young son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Munas fortunes change for the better. Until then, her bedroom was a dank windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. Over the years, she had grown used to being abused by the Songoli familyto being their slave.
Now that Scotland Yard has swarmed the Songoli house to investigate the disappearance of the son, Muna is given a real bedroom, real clothing, and treated, at least nominally, as a daughter. But her world remains confined. She is not allowed to go outside, doesnt know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least thats what the Songolis believe. Before long it becomes clear that young Muna is far clevererand her plans more terrifyingthan the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine.
In this haunting short novel from Edgar winner Walters (The Chameleon’s Shadow) Ebuka and Yetunde Songoli a well to do African immigrant couple live an unremarkable life in London except that they keep a 14 year old girl Muna locked in the cellar. It’s only after their 10 year old son Abiola disappears on his way to school and the police are called that the Songolis are forced to pretend that Muna is their actual though mentally disabled daughter and move her to a real room. But Muna who previously was only allowed to address the Songolis as Princess and Master is quite able despite not knowing how to read or write. As the police investigation grinds on it becomes clear that Muna has plans of her own that don’t involve cooking cleaning or being sexually abused by Ebuka any longer. The violence in keeping with the grim underpinnings of the tale might be too much for some readers but Walters nails a perfect blend of psychological suspense and social commentary that resonates long after the book is over. Agent: Jane Gregory Gregory amp; Company Authors’ Agents (U.K.). (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
Praise for The Cellar:
"A compulsive (and gruesome) read."Independent (UK)
"Creepy . . . a domestic horror about punishment and retribution."Sydney Morning Herald
Praise for Minette Walters:
"[Walters] takes the suspense novel into new territory."New York Times Book Review, on The Devil's Feather
Walters has established herself as Britains leading writer of thought-provoking and chilling psychological thrillers . . . A powerful, acute and vivid work from a staggeringly talented writer.”Guardian (UK), on Disordered Minds
"Walters is a rare breed: the kind of author who can concoct believable characters and set them down in the middle of entertaining plots that address timeless moral issues."Denver Post, on The Devil's Feather
Fans of Edgar-winner Walter will welcome this collection . . . everything falls into place to produce a shockingly different picture than expected.”Publishers Weekly, on Innocent Victims
About the Author
Minette Walters is the critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling author of suspense novels including Innocent Victims, Disordered Minds, and Acid Row. She is the recipient of the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Macavity Award for The Sculptress, two CWA Gold Dagger Awards, and the CWA John Creasey award for best first novel for The Ice House.