House of Beauty - A New Take on a Crime Novel

By Charlotte Walker on 30th March 2018

  Melba Escobar is a writer for the Colombian newspapers El Espectador and El Pais. Her latest novel, House of Beauty is an exceptional Crime Mystery novel and was chosen as one of the best books of 2016 by the Colombian National Novel Prize. This brutal social novel centred around the murder of a young girl and corrupt power system that seems reluctant to punish the culprit.

A Bit About House of Beauty

Melba Escobar's thought provoking novel, House of Beauty is set in Bogotá, Colombia. The Crime and Mystery novel focuses on an astoundingly beautiful beautician, Karen and how her life is closely intertwined with the death of one of her teenage clients. Karen works in an affluent area, as one of the best beauticians, giving beauty therapies to the rich and well-known of the area. During her appointments Karen hears everything about her client's lives: their weekends away, breast implants, divorces and affairs. But Karen lives outside their world, desperately trying to save enough money to build a stable life for her and her son, and now even more trouble is on the way. One of Karen's teenage clients attends her appointment, but soon after is found dead. It is thought that Karen is the last person to see her before she was horrifically murdered. With the Police doing nothing, seemingly aware of the culprit and reluctant to do anything, the girl's parents are desperate for more information, and urgently want to speak to Karen.

What the Readers thought of House of Beauty

Joanne Owen, one of our Editorial Experts, had this to say:
Set in the author’s home city of Bogotá, Colombia, this absorbing, pacey women-centered novel has a brutal murder at its core, and offers sharply observed insights into corruption and double standards around class, gender and race, as seen through the eyes of two unforgettable female protagonists. Gripping, brutal, honest, insightful, this is smart crime fiction with social conscience.
This crime mystery novel with a twist looks deeper that a crime fiction novel and in to the heart of the society that is happy to overlook the brutal rape and murder of an innocent teenage girl because of the identity of the culprit and those involved in the cover up. In a world where silence can be bought, House of Beauty shows how innocent people and families are left to suffer injustice or worse, used as scapegoat. Our Reader Review Panel were impressed at the depth of this compact crime novel. Here are some of the snippets of the great reviews on the House of Beauty Book Page:
Christine Woolfenden - 'A slow burning but very absorbing tale of innocence in a corrupt city. A welcome change from the usual crime fiction, definitely worth a read.' Britteny Sutcliffe - 'I literally could not put this book down. The ending definitely brings a twist that I did not expect. I would advise to read this book, It only took me two days to read!' Gillian Wilmott - 'A crime novel with a difference, set in the lawless corrupt city of Bogotá. Told from the viewpoint of two heroines it takes some concentration to read, but it’s compelling and I would recommend it.' Dee Jessup - 'House of Beauty was not what I was expecting, but isn't that what you want from a good book?'
House of Beauty was released on the 8th March and is an incredibly intriguing read for those looking a crime mystery novel with social commentary, twists turns and intrigue.