The Housemate, by Sarah Bailey
21 October 2021
Hands up anyone who misses living in a share house. No, I didn’t think I’d see many hands up in the air. After all, what’s to miss about co-inhabiting with strangers, aside from maybe the parties? The conflicts and politics? No. The person who leaves the kitchen and bathroom perpetually messy? No. The someone bringing noisy “friends” in and out at all sorts of weird hours, usually when everyone else is trying to sleep? No.
The self-appointed head of the house who… but I’ll stop right there. I’m here today to write about the newest addition to my to-be-read list, The Housemate (published by Allen & Unwin, August 2021), the latest novel by Melbourne based Australian author and advertising executive Sarah Bailey. Olive, an investigative journalist in Melbourne, is sent out by her boss to write about the suspicious death of a woman in rural Victoria.
The deceased turns out to be the former flatmate of another woman, murdered in the so-called “Housemates Homicide”, a story that had gripped the nation ten years earlier. While the third housemate was eventually jailed for the crime, the circumstances surrounding the horrific killing were never fully understood.
Working with Cooper, her colleague podcaster, whom she doesn’t always get along with, Olive begins delving into the killing again. In doing so, Olive discovers other deaths may be connected to the original murder ten years ago. She also learns she might have a previously unknown personal connection to case, one that may pose a danger to her and her family.