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A dark, creepy and compelling story of a nine-year-old boy and his housekeeper, who he begins to suspect of murder . . .

England, 1961. Samuel’s mother has been away for 113 days.

Now it’s just Samuel and Ruth, the housekeeper, alone in the once-great house. His mother is abroad, purportedly tending to her late husband’s faltering business. Samuel yearns for her return, but knows she must have had her reasons for leaving in the middle of the night, without saying goodbye.

Although Samuel receives occasional postcards from his mother, her absence weighs heavily on his mind. And when his friend plants a seed of suspicion about strict Ruth, who rules the house with an iron fist, a dangerous idea is born. What if Ruth is responsible for his mother's disappearance?

Samuel is soon obsessed with finding answers. Is Ruth the one person in his life who truly cares for him? Or is she a killer with a murderous plan? And will Samuel be able to uncover the truth before it's too late?

Artful, haunting and deliciously claustrophobic, The Boy at the Keyhole is a story of truth and perception, and of the shocking acts that occur behind closed doors.

Formats & editions

  • Audio Download


    September 17, 2018

    Penguin Random House Australia Audio

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Audible AU
    • Google Play Audio AU
    • Kobo Audiobook
  • Hardback


    September 17, 2018

    Michael Joseph

    272 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    September 17, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

    272 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks



The morning light was disappointing, spilling faintly across the stone floor and making very little of the shattered bowl or its contents. It was hard to know for certain, not without checking, but there were probably clouds overhead, because now and then a great beam of sunlight would push through the mullioned windows, spotlighting the kitchen table and the boy sitting on it. Samuel looked into these brief flares of honeycombed light with a kind of spellbound curiosity – the dust particles churned around the bleeding wound on his leg like a swarm of bees. It was confusing more than anything. She hated dust; everybody knew that. Yet Samuel was forced to consider the possibility that Ruth’s kitchen wasn’t really as spotless as she claimed.

‘Didn’t I ask you to stop running about?’

Samuel nodded. Ruth had asked that question three times already and each time he had answered it the same way. She was like that sometimes, asking the same thing over and again. Did she really suppose his answer might change from one moment to the next? That he’d suddenly say that she hadn’t asked him to stop running about? He wasn’t stupid.

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