Book Reviews

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware
Publish Date: May 29, 2018 by Gallery/Scout Press
Genre: Mystery / Psychological Suspense
Hardcover: 368 pages
My Rating: 4 stars

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

I’m a huge Ruth Ware fan, ever since I read her first book In a Dark, Dark Wood. One thing I like about her writing is that she continues to reinvent herself with each novel. No two books are similar in plot or characters. They are all very much stand alones, giving readers stories that are fresh, inventive, and engaging each and every time.

Ruth Ware is the present day queen of the locked room mystery: In a Dark, Dark Wood takes place in a remote cabin in the woods; The Woman in Cabin 10 on a cruise ship; The Lying Game at a boarding school; and a decrepit mansion in the English countryside in The Death of Mrs. Westaway. When I heard about the setting of this book, which has a sense of gothic mystery about it, I couldn’t wait to read it.

This is a modern day suspense story, with a gothic atmosphere, and the feel of a classic crime novel of the past. I was very much immersed in the richly developed world that Ware has created with this one. Throw in a family with lots of secrets and a creepy, old housekeeper to round out a satisfying plot.

I also loved that our main character, Hal, is a tarot card reader by profession. She’s flawed, but not in the way of so many other novels where our protagonist has a drinking problem or is in an relationship gone bad. Hal is a bit flawed morally – wouldn’t you have to be to try to lay claim to a vast inheritance that doesn’t rightfully belong to you – but we love Hal all the same. She’s quick-witted, spunky, independent, and endearing. Somehow the author gets us to root for Hal and I really hoped everything would turn out okay for her. All of the characters in this story were well developed and felt very real to me.

This is not a violent or twisty suspense story, but the plot is driven forward by the unraveling of family secrets that tie this dysfunctional family together. If you like three-dimensional characters that feel real, and settings that draw you in, you can’t go wrong with Ruth Ware. Fans will be happy to add this book to their collection.

3 thoughts on “The Death of Mrs. Westaway

  1. […] In this atmospheric, gothic murder mystery it’s a case of mistaken identity when tarot card reader Harriet Westaway receives a letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She quickly realizes the letter was sent to the wrong person, but believes that the cold-reading skills she’s learned as a tarot card reader might help her con her way into claiming this inheritance. As she arrives at this decrepit old mansion in the English countryside, it becomes increasingly obvious that this family is hiding a lot of secrets. Ruth Ware is the bestselling author behind psychological thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 and she has been described as the Agatha Christie of our time. Update: Read my review HERE. […]

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