The Devil Upstairs by Anthony O’Neill – Book Review

The Devil Upstairs by Anthony O’Neill – Book Review



Rosemary’s Baby meets Ambrose Parry’s The Way of All Flesh in this macabre thriller – a devilishly brilliant allegory set in modern day Edinburgh by the author of the highly acclaimed Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek.

Cat Thomas relocated to Edinburgh, fleeing death threats related to her job as a fraud investigator in Florida, her 18th century Dean Village flat is utterly idyllic except for one thing- The Devil Upstairs.

Cat lies awake, delirious from lack of sleep, dreaming of ways in which to get rid of the utterly inconsiderate neighbour who keeps her awake every night with loud music and wild parties, desperate for a solution, she joins a work friend at a witches conclave and is blissfully surprised when the noise suddenly stops.

But when the Devil upstairs is found dead and Cat’s seemingly perfect man arrived in his place, the problems she thought were solved come back to haunt her in new and unexpected ways.

Impeccably plotted, intricately nuanced and shot through with darkly wicked humour, The Devil Upstairs perfectly captures the shadowy beauty and mystery of Edinburgh’s architecture, atmosphere and history, giving literary voice to its well renowned status as a “haunted” city.



Cat Thomas has moved to Edinburgh, from Florida. She has found the perfect flat and for a while it is an idyll. But then her neighbour comes home and Dylan Moyle or Tur-Moyle as he is known, makes her life hell. Constant noise all night to the extent she spends some nights in a nearby hotel, just to get some sleep.

She’s started her new job, as a fraud investigator for ABC bank and is befriended by Agnes, a fiery Scot with a penchant for the Goth. Chatting about witches and general spooky stuff, Agnes invites Cat to a get together of her group, the conclave, for a game. 

Tired and stressed, Cat agrees….takes part in a weird aptitude test, while drinking Irn-Bru and breathing in sulphurous air…….just who is sitting in the velvety blackness?

She wakes up in her own bed, not really knowing what’s going on…Agnes says she was just drunk! But then Tur-Moyle is found dead in the flat upstairs, torn apart! There are more murders, anyone who upsets or threatens Cat, seems to end up dead.

What follows is a clever mix of Ira Levin and Dennis Wheatley, with strange violent events, a charming, mysterious new neighbour and creepy, whispering ‘tourists’…..

This captures the damp, foggy atmosphere of a chilly Edinburgh, and the general inconsiderate nature of some people in general……a chilling reminder of Be Careful What You Wish For and its consequences…utterly brilliant.

My thanks to Jaz at Black & White Publishing for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.




Anthony O’Neill was born in Melbourne and lives in Edinburgh. He is the author of Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek, his sequel to Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde; Scheherazade, an Arabian Nights homage; The Lamplighter, a psychological horror; The Empire of Eternity, a history-mystery involving Napoleon and Egyptology; The Unscratchables, a satire featuring dog and cat detectives and the Dark Side, a crime novel set on the far side of the moon, Film rights to The Dark Side have been sold to 20th Century Fox.

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