Book Review: Ruth Ware’s ‘The Death of Mrs. Westaway’

I c-c-c-cannot stop talking about how much I enjoyed this book.

A relief and delight that, after the disappointing The Lying Game, Ruth Ware is back on form.

Image: Goodreads

Unlike the reunion’y theme of that previous novel and her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, this story is moor more along the lines of The Woman in Cabin 10.

In a case of mistaken identity, Ware once again gives us readers a claustrophobic, atmospheric mystery (thankfully, sparing us of all the boozing this time) in which the main character does a lot of handwringing about her circumstances (and gets flushed more than a toilet in a busy bar). But there’s action! Camera, too. Just lights are purposely missing.

We’re not kept in the dark in this one, though. Thanks to diary entries, we’re a step ahead of the twenty-one-year-old tarot-card reader (the divination tool figures more prominently here than the Ouija board in IADDW), and Ware is always one step ahead of us. Whenever I thought something was flawed or easily could be determined, the book then addressed it.

It all works. Cleverly — although, avid mystery readers might complete the three-piece puzzle even before the first shoe drops. It’s smart, but, by Ware’s need to explain some terms (that can be referenced), it seems she doesn’t trust that her readers are.

The novel gives classic, gothic vibes (Trepassen House of old was “like something from an Agatha Christie novel,” and its caretaker “‘Mrs. Warren’s always had a touch of Mrs. Danvers to her'”), and has some endearing characters like in The Westaway Westing Game.

Definitely the author’s best book yet.



Release date: May 29, 2018

My thanks to Scout Press and Netgalley for the ARC.