A thought-provoking Colombian crime novel set in and around a beauty salon in Bogota

‘This delicate, merciless filleting of race and gender politics is highly recommended’ Guardian

‘A revelation. A rewarding read and an unexpected insight into a foreign society not often documented in novels. Treat yourself’ Crime Time

‘We thought we were bored of thrillers, but then we found House of Beauty … as gasp-inducing as a hot wax’ Glamour

House of Beauty is a high-end salon in Bogotá’s exclusive Zona Rosa area, and Karen is one of its best beauticians. But there is more to her role than the best way to apply wax, or how to give the perfect massage. Her clients share their most intimate secrets with her. She knows all about their breast implants, their weekends in Miami, their divorces and affairs.

One rainy afternoon a teenage girl turns up for a treatment with Karen, dressed in her school uniform and smelling of alcohol. The very next day, the girl is found dead.

Karen was the last person to see the girl alive, and the girl’s mother is desperate to find out what she knows. Most important of all: who was her daughter going to meet that night?

Reviews

‘We thought we were bored of thrillers, but then we found House of Beauty … as gasp-inducing as a hot wax’ Glamour

‘House of Beauty offers a unique glimpse into modern-day Colombia and an intriguing mystery around issues of gender, class, and race, where a woman’s worth is too often tied to her beauty, yet her beauty too often gets her in trouble. It’s a pleasure to see a story told through the lens of two very different heroines, rare in crime fiction. And, in these times, this novel is also a much-needed critique of everyday misogyny and corruption' Winnie M Li, author of Dark Chapter

‘Fantastic. I read it faster than it takes to have a mani-pedi and a massage and was moved, shocked and transported’ Rachel Edwards, author of Darling

About the author

Melba Escobar has a column at the Colombian newspapers El Espectador and El País. Her novel House of Beauty was chosen as one of the best books of 2016 by the Colombian National Novel Prize. She lives in Bogotá.
March 8, 2018
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Average Grade: F    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 50% Literature, 50% Entertainment
Writing Quality:
Low High
Originality:
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Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Re-readability:
Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
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