Search Loading suggestions...

The Cellar

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 house.

On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s adolescent son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Muna’s 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 family physically, emotionally, and een sexually. She had grown used to being their slave.

With the son’s disappearence, Scotland Yard swarms the Songoli home, led by a savvy femal inspector who isn’t afraid to ask hard questions. To keep up appearances, Muna is given a real bedroom, real clothing, and treated, at least nominally, as a daughter. But when the police leave the premises, she must once again call her captors “Princess” and “Master”, and her world remains confined. She is not allowed to go outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that’s what the Songolis believe. Before long, it becomes clear that young Muna is far cleverer—and her plans more terrifying—than the Songolis, or anyone else, could ever imagine.

For fans of Ruth Rendell and PD James,The Cellar reveals a terifying world far from the public eye, and shows what happens when humanity is pushed to its very limit.


‘A compulsive (and gruesome) read.’ – Barry Forshaw, The Independent

‘This is contemporary crime writing at its absolute peak’ – Val McDermid

‘..compact, well-told and extraordinarily atmospheric story packs more punch than many much longer books.’ – Laura Wilson, The Guardian (The best recent crime novels).

‘Sly pacing and a detached narrative voice give this horror story exceptional punch.’ – Kirkus reviews

‘A dark, disturbing tale told very, very well. – Washington Independent Review of Books

Minette Walters lets her imagination run free in THE CELLAR and emerges with an intimate and upsetting story’ New York Times Book Review

Online Reviews

‘The author writes with a true level of compassion without hiding the cruelty explored in this creatively taut, original and chilling read.’ – Liz Robinson, Love Reading

‘The Cellar is something different. It’s a frightening journey into a world beyond acceptable contemporary morality and respectability. Finely written with great economy, the novel lingers in the mind.’ – Shots Magazine

‘Minette Walters has used her skill at creating vulnerable characters with depth to produce a story so raw and dark that it will linger in the mind long after the final page.’ – Crime Squad (Author of the Month).

‘It’s the perfect novella for readers who love contemporary crime stories that rummage uncomfortably deep into the human psyche.’ – Culture Fly

‘Walters nails a perfect blend of psychological suspense and social commentary that resonates long after the book is over.’ Publishers’ Weekly