Review – Emily Noble’s Disgrace by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Book Review - Emily Noble
Book Review - Emily Noble

The book cover got my attention, what a gorgeous dressing gown. Then the intriguing title.  What could the issue be?    Reading the synopsis cinched the deal: good location, mystery, suspense and probably a twist or two among the way.

This book is set in Edinburgh and has the intertwining stories of those that come in contact with an old lady who dies at home.  We focus on two – one a crime scene cleaner and the other a policewoman. I feel that is the most I can say without giving away minor spoilers. I might update these blog post at a later date if I believe a spoiler is necessary to add to the review.

A bit like CSI but set in Scotland not USA

The book starts with Essie, one of those special type of professional cleaners, whose expertise runs the gamut from extreme hoarding to all modes of death.  As Essie, makes her way through cleaning this home, we find out more about her past and present.  It is apparent from the beginning that she is troubled from childhood trauma, and this has had a detrimental effect on her health and wellbeing.  One theme that is belaboured is that Essie is overweight and this point I believe is referenced too much in relation to everything she does.

Our second lead is Emily herself. She is a policewoman who is being ostracised at work, which is a problem in itself and because Emily has a fairly limited personal life due to a murky past. She desperately needs a win and maybe a new case will provide that or maybe it will open up a can of worms.

And let’s not forget the deceased. To die in your home and have no one notice your absence is particularly sad.

Emily Noble’s Disgrace was a good read, engaging even, the central storyline evolved and took us back in time so that the house became the star and we find out, how you can live in the same home for decades and not have any friends or loved ones in your life.

The choices we make or the choices we allow others to make on our behalf.


So much happened in the book that when I found out the reference to Emily’s disgrace I was nonplussed, because in comparison it wasn’t as shocking.  And that brings me to my main take away from this novel is context. When events and actions were put in context, it was thoroughly understandable why things happened the way they did. If you read a story that is sensationalised or facts only, it’s difficult to get an accurate or rather true picture, as there’s generally a bias.

This book carefully discussed gender roles, domestic violence, death and many other hard-hitting subjects in a delft way. I wasn’t a fan of either leads, but that didn’t adversely impact on my enjoyment of the story, a solid mystery that you will be satisfied to find out the answers to.

My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a digital copy of this book in exchange for a candid review.

3 Stars - Liked It
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Engrossed Reader

Reading whenever she can, often to the detriment of sleep. Enjoying most genres with preference for ebooks and audiobooks, mainly for convenience.

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