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M. J. Arlidge



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Chapter 109

Chapter 110

Chapter 111

Chapter 112

Chapter 113

Chapter 114

Chapter 115

Chapter 116

Chapter 117

Chapter 118

Chapter 119

Chapter 120

Chapter 121

Chapter 122

Chapter 123

Chapter 124

Chapter 125

Chapter 126

Chapter 127

Chapter 128

Chapter 129

Chapter 130

Chapter 131

Chapter 132

Chapter 133

Chapter 134

Chapter 135

Chapter 136

Chapter 137

Chapter 138

Chapter 139

Chapter 140

Chapter 141

Chapter 142

Follow Penguin



M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years specializing in high-end drama production. In the last five years Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV including Torn, The Little House and, most recently, Undeniable, broadcast in spring 2015. Currently writing for the hit BBC series Silent Witness, Arlidge is also piloting original crime series for both UK and US networks. In 2015 his audio exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number one bestseller. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, which introduces Detective Inspector Helen Grace, has sold to publishers around the world and was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel. The Doll’s House is the third DI Helen Grace thriller.

Praise for M. J. Arlidge

‘What a great premise! … Eeny Meeny is a fresh and brilliant departure from the stock serial killer tale’

Jeffery Deaver

‘One of the best new series detectives. Determined, tough and damaged, Helen Grace must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs. Mesmerizing’

Lisa Gardner

‘Dark, twisted, thought-provoking, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Take a ride on this roller coaster from hell – white knuckles guaranteed’

Tami Hoag

‘Arlidge is the new Jo Nesbo’

Judy Finnigan

‘DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It’s scary as all hell. And it has a full cast of realistically drawn, interesting characters that make the thing read like a bullet’

Will Lavender

‘M. J. Arlidge has created a genuinely fresh heroine in DI Helen Grace’ Daily Mail

‘Gruesomely realistic, intriguing and relentless’

Jon Wise, Sunday Sport

‘A chilling read’ My Weekly

‘A grisly, gripping thriller’ Sunday Mirror

‘A macabre, theatrical thriller that gripped me with every twist’ Woman and Home

‘Chilling stuff’ Fabulist


Ruby tossed fitfully in her bed after a disturbed night’s sleep. She seemed to have been in and out of consciousness for hours – not fully awake, but not truly asleep either. Wild anxiety dreams collided uneasily with the odd sensation of her mother carrying her to bed. That had felt nice but was impossible of course. Ruby lived alone and it had been fifteen years or more since her parents had had to do that.

Ruby regretted her session at Revolution last night. Angry with life, she had been in self-destructive mood, unable or unwilling to turn down the free drinks offered by hopeful lads. There had been pills and cocaine too – the whole thing had been a blur. But had she really drunk so much, taken so much, that she should feel this bad?

She turned over again, burying her throbbing head in the sheets. She had important stuff to do today – her mum was coming round soon – but suddenly Ruby couldn’t face any of it. She just wanted to hide away from the world, cocooned in her hangover, safe from the intrusion of family, responsibility, betrayal and tears. She wanted her life to go away – for a couple of hours at least.

Putting her head under the pillow, she groaned quietly. It was surprisingly cool underneath – cooler than usual – and for a moment she felt refreshed and soothed. This would be a good hidey-hole for a litt—

Something wasn’t right. The smell. What was it about the smell of the sheets? They smelt … wrong.



2011 - 2018