Non Fiction

The Lady in the Cellar by Sinclair McKay

This (hopefully) will be the last review of mine for the day, it is how I intended to make that sizable dent in my reading list and get my groove back. Considering that tomorrow is usually my busiest day of the week and I will not be getting much reading done, I do not know if I will be able to quantifiably gauge if I have achieved my purpose.

I initially was intrigued when I saw this book on NetGalley but did not have access to download/request it since I only had an option to ‘wish’ for it. Then I was luckily sent a pre approved widget for an E ARC by the publisher. I have read quite a few books from the publishers, most of which were also non-fiction but more along the arts and crafts variety.

I am glad I was given a chance to read this book since it is the first of its kind that I have happened to attempt reading. I have always read along the murder mystery lines. This however, was the first(that I can recall reading) that I read about an actual event. It is a piecing together of events that took place in a house in Victorian England, with multiple unknown factors. There is a body found in the cellar, and with the limited knowledge and resources of the time an investigation occurred. This book provides more information of the cross-section of the people involved, their lifestyles and what the economic and political situations were present at the time. It gives an immersive experience more into the time and place rather than just focus on the case at hand. This was both a positive and negative thing for me. It gave me new insight into a world I never knew about but it dragged the case too much, so much so that I started to lose the connection with the happenings related to the death.

There was so much to unpack regarding the legal procedures and the repercussions faced by all the ‘players’ that I had to take breaks before I could continue, and complete the tale. I think people who have some fascination for the goings-on in the time period will find this book a fascinating study. I think it would make a pretty interesting book club/ reading group topical discussion but for me, I do not think I will be reading many of this kind in the near future.

9 thoughts on “The Lady in the Cellar by Sinclair McKay”

  1. I really liked this one. It did tend to get bogged down in details here and there, but I loved the cross-section of the people involved, as you put it so well. I thought the social examination was so interesting. It’s always frustrating not to have all the details or final established narrative when it’s a real case, but I still thought it was done well considering what was available. Great to hear your thoughts on it!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s tough! I mean, the truth is in there somewhere, amongst all the stories they told. I think the most likely is that it was a combination of the main players – so husband + wife + Hannah with the intent of her getting her money. What did you think?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If the husband broke with that one incarceration itself, I don’t think he could have held on to such a secret for such an extended period in time, the wife I find suspicious..She seemed so much in the background .. Then again this is just my imagination

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, true…but he was mentally ill, maybe it was the progression of the illness in combination with the weight of it? I just think it’s hard to believe he didn’t know anything about it when he was running the workshop near where the remains were found. And in two years never noticed anything? It’s such an odd story all around!


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