The Boy at the Keyhole

The Boy at the Keyhole

by Stephen Giles


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335652928
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Edition description: Original
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 182,646
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Stephen Giles is the author behind the Ivy Pocket children's series, which has been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in Australia. The Boy at the Keyhole is his first work for adults.

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The Boy at the Keyhole 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
A gripping story and good setting and characters had me at the start. The narrative is well-told through the eyes of 9-year-old Samuel. But the ending brought up many more questions than answers; and since the central theme of the novel is about truth and intentions, I felt disappointed by its abrupt end.
Twink 7 months ago
The Boy at the Keyhole is the latest novel from Stephen Giles. 1961 Britain. A run down estate. A surly housekeeper. And a young boy dependent on that housekeeper while his mother is away. All the elements for a read with a gothic feel to it. But is his mother away? After many months, young Samuel is desperate to see his mother again. And then doubt begins to creep in and with his imagination in overdrive, Samuel begins to wonder if Ruth could have killed his mother..... Giles ups the ante by pitting a child against an adult. Ruth is more than surly - she rules the house with a heavy hand. A hand she uses against Samuel. The bulk of the book is a back and forth battle between the two over the whereabouts of the mother. I did find this got a bit repetitive over the course of the book. Clues as to his mother's whereabouts are slowly revealed through Samuel's narrative. As adults, we can read a bit more into the letters he finds than a child can. But Giles still caught me unawares with the final chapters, although I found the ending is a bit ambiguous. The Boy in the Keyhole is light gothic fare, perfect for a rainy night and a comfy chair, easily finished in one sitting.
EclecticBooks 7 months ago
I will be honest, this was not the easiest book to read, but I am very glad I did. This book surely expresses that not everything is as it seems and we need to dig a bit deeper to find out the truth. I can see someone possibly putting this book down and not finishing it, but that would be a shame. You might think you know what is going on through the story, but until the end, you really do not know. Why is Ruth so mean to Sam. Why did Sam's mom leave him in the middle of the night? Or did Ruth kill his mom and hide the body in order to keep Sam, the house, and the jewels. This is a very intriguing read that I highly enjoyed, especially after I was finished and thought back on the story. I am going to look for more books by Mr. Giles in hopes that this is his ongoing writing style, I am giving this book a 3.75-star review rounded to 4-stars.
BuriedUnderBooks 7 months ago
3.5 stars On the surface, this book would seem to have elements of a dark, gothic story, something like Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, with a looming, cavernous manse, a creepy, sinister housekeeper and a protagonist who becomes more and more suspicious about what’s going on. Really, the main difference is that the protagonist is a child rather than a new young wife being intimidated by the housekeeper while the husband is apparently distant emotionally. Certainly Samuel has reason to be suspicious, lonesome, baffled, all the feelings a child would have when one parent is dead and the other disappears, supposedly legitimately but without even telling him goodbye. Right there, my empathy went to this little boy who surely deserved better. How disappointed he must have been each day when she didn’t come home. Ruth is undoubtedly an unpleasant caregiver and it’s no wonder Samuel begins to have dark thoughts about this woman and her peculiar behavior. These feelings are exacerbated by Samuel’s friend who, intentionally or not, hints at nefarious goings-on and the suspense begins to build while Ruth understandably becomes more and more frustrated by this child who dares to snoop and raise questions. Is this all just a child’s imagination run amok? A promising beginning doesn’t quite succeed, as least not as fully as it could have, and the very slow pace doesn’t help. I also felt the ending was a bit lacking but, overall, I think readers who like a slow-building suspense will be satisfied.
LeslieLindsay 8 months ago
Sinister and intense story of melancholy and loneliness with an imaginative 9 year old boy at the center in THE BOY AT THE KEYHOLE. Locked doors. An atlas. Attics. Cellar. England. Mystery and, maybe murder. Samuel Clay is living in a crumbling old estate in England with his housekeeper, Ruth Tupper. He's missing his mother terribly, who has 'gone away' to America for the last 119 days (he's been keeping track). Mrs. Clay is now widowed and the family's finances have fallen to disarray--perhaps there's some money or bankers in American who will help her get the 'capital she needs.' What's worse, is Samuel's mother left in the middle of the night, without so much as a word of good-bye to her son, leaving him in the care of the housekeeper. Beyond sporadic postcards from his mother in America, Samuel hears virtually nothing of his mother. He's lonely, yet highly imaginative and inquisitive. Samuel's only friend is Joseph and a little rabbit in the garden he calls Robin Hood. I found the writing absolutely glimmered. I was immediately thrust into this drab world created by Stephen Giles and wanted to know what happened to Samuel's mother. THE BOY AT THE KEYHOLE reads like a very literary YA read so I can see both adults and ambitious readers 12+ picking up this book (in fact, the author has previously written for YA; this is his first book for adults). It's a fast read with just a few characters but overall, not a lot of action; it's a very interior read. There were a few pieces that reminded me of ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets THE SECRET GARDEN meets REBECCA (perhaps only in the setting). There was a good deal of set-up about the missing mother (and perhaps some mental health issues) that just didn't play out as I hoped. The ending left such an ambiguous note that I'm not exactly sure what happened...and maybe that's exactly what the author wanted.
jdowell 8 months ago
Nine-year-old Samuel has been left in the care of the housekeeper, Ruth, for over 100 days while his mother went to America to try to raise money to save the family steel business. The story takes place mostly in the mind of Samuel - suspense that builds very slowly until both Samuel and Ruth are at each other's throats. The story doesn't come out and say what actually happened, but you get a pretty good idea. Not what I expected and really not the book for me, but it was interesting enough to finish and I think the author certainly has talent - I just like a different type of story. Thanks to Stephen Giles and Harlequin/Hanover Square Press through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
diane92345 8 months ago
Boy at the Keyhole is a suspenseful psychological thriller by a debut author. In 1961, nine-year-old Samuel is at home in England with his housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother is searching for business investors in America. Samuel is concerned because his mother has been gone four months. Her only contact are bi-monthly postcards from America. Ruth tries to cut expenses as much as possible but the home’s artwork is being sold to pay the bills. Where is Samuel’s mother and why isn’t she sending money home? Why does Samuel suspect foul play and especially that Ruth is the killer? Boy at the Keyhole slowly builds suspense and dread about what happened to Samuel’s mother. The atmosphere is really the star here. A paranoid nine-year-old is an unexpected choice as an unreliable narrator. Are the clues he sees as facts really just his childish imagination? The penultimate twist is a true surprise. However, I hated the inconclusive finale. 3 stars but I am looking forward to the next book by this debut author. Thanks to Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for an advance copy.
PattySmith87 8 months ago
Thank you to Netgalley, Hanover Square Press, and Stephen Giles for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy. Poor Samuel has been left all alone with the housekeeper, Ruth, while his mother has gone off, in the middle of the night, without saying goodbye, on a trip to America, to drum up much needed funds. Set in the 1960’s, on a dilapidated English estate, Samuel has no one. His father has died, his mother gone for months, and the staff have all been let go except for Ruth and William, the gardener. He has only one friend in the world, Jacob, who loves a conspiracy theory, as any nine year old boy with an iota of an imagination does. Ruth is strict, often cruel, and full of secrets and lies. Samuel is convinced that she murdered his mother. Mothers love their children and would never have abandoned him like this. After all, he was “her little man” and Sam knows she loved him fiercely. But how can he prove it? Ruth keeps all the rooms locked and he is forced to spy through keyholes to uncover the truth about what Ruth has done to his mother. This did not do it for me. It wasn’t sufficiently creepy enough. I love the feeling you get when you are almost afraid to turn the page because you don’t know what is going to happen next and you are scared! The tension never reached an “on the edge of your seat” level. The suspense didn’t build. I figured out what was going on almost right from the very beginning and was disappointed when I was right. Where is the imagination? And I am not one to try and figure out what is going on, I rather just let the story wash over me and experience it as I’m reading. The characters were weak. I didn’t understand their motivation for anything they did, so I found them unbelievable. I really didn’t care what happened to Samuel, his mother, Ruth - not invested at all. The writing felt forced and contrived. It dragged for me quite a bit and all of that would have been forgiven if it had a great ending. But the ending was hardly great. I’m sorry to say, this is a pass for me.