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Summary

Everyone has keys to Susan's New York apartment: all her friends, and friends of friends. So one afternoon, when Alice unlocks Susan's door to water the plants, she isn't surprised to find two men sitting in the living room. That they are both dead is a shock, however. Now Alice must sort through a tangle of personal connections, schemes, and motives to find the key to who killed them and why. And as she talks with the police, the answer that starts to nag at her is a chilling one.

Jane Smiley's talent for creating emotionally gripping tales of family relationships was celebrated when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for A Thousand Acres. In Duplicate Keys, she displays her flair for creating a haunting mystery.

©1994 Jane Smiley (P)1998 Recorded Books

Critic reviews

"A first-rate cliffhanger." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"Sharp and memorable....Finely wrought." ( Newsday)
"As taut and chilling as anything Hitchcock put on film." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

This book has been difficult to listen to. There is virtually no story line. Despite the fact that is started with quite well and promised to be exciting, it fizzled out like a damp squid. I believe the reader is bored too because her voice became a constant drone. Very disappointing

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Judith
  • Pinner, United Kingdom
  • 06-01-11

Reflections

The only Jane Smiley I knew was her Thousand Acres. At first I was disappointed, but couldn't stop listening. Beautifully written of course, and in the end I find myself liking the author tremendously and grateful for all the surprising reflections that floated past me. The reading must have been very good as I didn't notice that there was anyone between me and the text!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

this book will make you hungry...

I read this year ago and I forgot all the food descriptions. Very gripping!

it is one of the few books that makes me want to live in New York.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 26-08-12

Beautifully written

Would you try another book from Jane Smiley and/or Ruth Ann Phimister?

Yes I would, I have read A Thousand Acres and I loved it.

How could the performance have been better?

It took a while to get over the overly childish voice and narration of Ruth Ann Phimister.

Any additional comments?

Jane Smiley's talent to describe people and places made the book and the simple plot of it very enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy A. Flament
  • 26-06-09

Neither fish nor fowl

I love Jane Smiley, but I don't love this book. Jane tries to combine family dynamics with a murder mystery and she doesn't succeed here. Characters are developed, but don't seem to evolve. And, the mystery drags on and on and on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • A Reader
  • 24-03-07

Very disappointing

I was excited to see this book on Audible because I have heard much praise for Jane Smiley's writing. However, I was very disappointed in this novel. The main character of Alice Ellis's naivete bordered on imbecility, which often made the character and her actions, or lack thereof, unbelieveable. The long psychological descriptions, which often changed Alice's mental state from paragraph to paragraph, were also frustrating as this fluctuation of character made it hard to care about what happened to her.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 29-11-17

Weakest Smiley I’ve Heard/Read

This was the weakest of several Jane Smiley works I’ve read. A limp attempt at a “murder mystery.” Centered on a cast of self-interested characters you won’t care about, the story is formulaic and rife with cliches. The reader is ok, except for one or two poor—but blessedly brief—attempts at accents (a Rastafarian, for example). I couldn’t wait for this one to end, so when I fell asleep in the middle and awoke to hear the “reveal,” that was quite enough and I deleted it from my library.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stefanie Marlis
  • 07-11-17

Psychologically Intriguing Page-Turner

I had modest expectations for this book that were much more than met. The characters were well developed and original. The book had more depth than your average mystery and still kept me turning pages. Surprising! Well crafted!