Release Date: June 8, 2021
First published in 1938, THE LISTENING HOUSE was the debut crime novel of Mabel Seeley, who came to be known as “The Mistress of Mystery.” I’m glad Berkley is reissuing some of her books, because before spotting this one I was not familiar with Seeley’s work.
The main character Gwynne Dacres is a young, independent woman, making her way through the Depression years. After losing her job as a copywriter, she moves into a creepy boarding house run by a grumpy, paranoid woman who’s convinced her tenants are snooping through her things.
Gwynne, too, feels like there’s something off about the house, that something or someone is always listening. Her situation becomes more precarious when back to back suspicious deaths occur at the house. Gwynne gets wrapped up in the investigation when someone targets her, and uncovers some sinister secrets tied to the past.
There was a big group of potential suspects, and I enjoyed their characterizations. I definitely felt like I was sitting among a group of real folks from the 1930s. The mystery was dark and intricate, though I think it dragged in some places. There was even a romance for Gwynne, and plenty of humor mixed in. I’d recommend to fans of mysteries who enjoy the golden age of detective fiction. — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.