Here is the synopsis and quick summary of the book – “The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena”
Be vary of spoilers as this is a short book summary
Cora : The missing child
Anne Conti : Mother of the missing child Cora
Marco Conti – Father of the missing child Cora.
Richard and Alice Dries – Rich parents of Anne.
Richard Dries : the step father of Anne.
Cynthia and Graham Stillwell – Next door neighbours to Anne and Marco Conti.
Anne and Marco Conti are at the Stillwell’s apartment for a dinner party when Cora goes missing. As expected, the story revolves around where Cora is or if she is even alive. There are suspicions on everyone is hiding information on her missing.
Anne and Marco Conti returns home from the Cynthia and Graham Stillwell’s apartment after midnight. Though they had a babysitter, she bails out at the last minute due to her granny’s death. They find out their 6 months old baby is not there in her crib and tries searching everywhere. This happened when they were checking on her every half an hour.
Anne doesnt remember anything after 11pm when she last checked on her daughter. That is due to a dissociative condition where she blacks out often and forgets what she did in that time as she is suffering from postpartum depression. She explains that she breast fed the baby and that the baby was fussy all the time and she slapped her.
Marco turns out to be the one who planned the kidnap with his friend Bruce Neeland who also later identified as Derek Honig. He planned to hand the baby over ot Derek after 12:30 and then Derek would ask for a 2 million dollars after half a day.
In all the debacles and fights, the stakes goes hire and becomes 5 million dollars. A package is received after few days in a car but to Marco’s surprise the car is empty which he anticipated would have the baby that was safe with Derek. In the process, someone hits him on his head and he blacks out.
In a flashback it was revealed that after Richard denied to provide any money to Marco for his bankrupt company, Derek suggests the fake kidnapping of Cora in a no loss only gain situation. Somehow Marco agreed to Derek who was not his friend for too long in the past. This raises another levels of concerns when it turns out that Richard had an affair with Cynthia who is Anne’s neighbour and might be the one who made sure Derek becomes friend with Marco.
This seems legit since this way he ends up with both the money and the baby that he will kill without blame. Richard’s assistant was the one taking care of the baby through all the process and divulges the information about Richard’s affair with Cynthia to Anne.
All is now in open due to a rather weird hobby of Cynthia and Graham having putting hidden cameras all around the apartment to film when Cynthia will go out and make out with others. They would watch the video at the end of the day.
Police after forcing them to handover the video finds out that Marco goes to check on the baby at 12:30 and he comes out at 12:33 to take Cora to Derek in the Garage in a car.
Anne goes to Cynthia and goes mad over and tells that she will not be blackmailing them and that she knows that Cynthia is part of it which Cynthia denies. Cynthia adds that if it was in her hands she would have killed the baby. Anne goes mad over this and kills her.
In the last scene sirens go buzzing all over and Anne is found on couch with blood all over and knife in her hand. Marco asks what happened and the response is epic – ” I dont know, I dont remember”.
She goes to jail.
All the book is only because “I dont know, I dont remember”