- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (May 29, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501156217
- ISBN-13: 978-1501156212
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 628 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Death of Mrs. Westaway Hardcover – May 29, 2018
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"Ruth Ware is a magician. Her novels—suspenseful, sophisticated, relentlessly compelling—blow the dust off half a dozen crime genres, from Golden Age whodunits to psychological suspense. And The Death of Mrs. Westaway, her latest, is also her best: a dark and dramatic thriller, part murder mystery, part family drama, altogether riveting. More, please, and soon."
—A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
"A classic never goes out of style. Consider the confident simplicity of the dry martini, the Edison lightbulb and Meghan Markle’s wedding dress. Now, add to that list Ruth Ware’s new novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway… a perfectly executed suspense tale very much in the mode of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca."
"[A] captivating and eerie page-turner."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Ware's novels continue to evoke comparison to Agatha Christie; they certainly have that classic flavor despite the contemporary settings. Expertly paced, expertly crafted."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Ware’s fourth novel is her best yet, with steadily increasing tension, a complicated twisty mystery, and a sharp, sympathetic heroine who’s up to the challenge of solving it… well-crafted, gothic-tinged suspense.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
"Ware, who, with a run of acclaimed thrillers, including The Lying Game (2017), has established herself as one of today’s most popular suspense writers, twists the knife quite expertly here… The labyrinth Ware has devised here is much more winding than expected, with reveals even on the final pages… a clever heroine and an atmospheric setting, accented by wisps of meaning that drift from the tarot cards."
—Booklist (starred review)
"Evocative prose, artfully shaded characters, and a creepy, claustrophobic atmosphere keep the pages of this explosive family drama turning."
"This British writer knows how to hook crime-novel/psychological suspense fans."
"I’ve adored Ruth Ware’s work for some time, ever since I picked up her first playful puzzler of a mystery, In a Dark, Dark Wood. She’s been making her way through classic mystery settings, making each her own, and her new volume promises to continue the trend, in a tale of a con artist headed to a family funeral that promises to be the most entertaining fictional British burial since the film Death at a Funeral first graced our screens."
"Fans of The Woman in Cabin 10, rejoice. Ruth Ware is bringing you another page-turning tale of suspense... Thrilling and clever, The Death of Mrs. Westaway will be hard to put down."
About the Author
Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is The New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway. She is married with two small children. Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.
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I won’t give major spoilers, I’ll just say why I found it so compelling:
The suspense and subtle dread. I had to know what the next page held.
The great character study. A classic whodunnit. Was it him? Her? Him? Who?! I truly didn’t know until the end. The twists and red herrings were perfectly done ... not exploiting the reader at all, but how the story moved organically. They made complete sense, and that’s rare nowadays in this genre. I also loved how, even though Mrs Westaway had passed on, her presence was still felt so menacingly and strongly. I mean, yes, the book centered around her actions ... but instead of her being a vague idea, this cloud of doom, I felt like she might actually come around the corner at any time. The housekeeper, of course, did do just that, often, and was quite the scary character! Not in a cheesy way, no, the tension and malignancy she brought was very well done. I love family sagas, especially about old English families and estates, and this certainly delivered that!
The wonderful descriptions of the mood and setting. I felt like I was there, in that cold, drafty old house that held so many secrets and heartache. My only minor complaint about that — I would’ve liked a bit more closure regarding the attic room and how a certain someone in the past was basically held prisoner there.
The emotions! Hal is so likable, so strong, yet vulnerable. I desperately wanted things to get better for her. I cheered her on and felt what she felt. And then the family — a mixture of both sympathy and, “One or more of you is the bad person(s) here, so I’m hesitant to like you or feel compassion”. It’s fun not knowing. Ms Ware shaped them all so well, letting the reader come to their own conclusions, nothing was overtly obvious. So many books in this genre fall into cliches; this one never did. And I like how the family grappled at first with embracing Hal ... this complete stranger thrust into their lives/complicated emotions regarding their mother, her death, and the house. That aspect was another so well done. I liked them all for most of the book, but again, knew evil lurked among them, and knew some of my sympathy would be wasted at some point.
The side story with Hal and the loan sharks. Fear for her.
The great research Ms Ware must have done, and included, about Tarot cards/readings. Not a subject I’ve ever believed or had much interest in, but wow, I really got into it more and more ... and the explanations of how Hal and her mother didn’t take it literally, but could read them figuratively. It was so fascinating to me.
The ending was great. I won’t say more, just that it was satisfying in many ways. Again, rare for this genre. It makes me wish I was in a book club, I want to discuss this book with others!
Thank you, Ms Ware, for such an entertaining book! It was well worth the wait. I’m just sad it’s over and that we won’t get to see how young Hal’s life turned out afterwards. I’ll miss her and the family (well, some of them). I highly recommend this book to anyone, not just psychological suspense fans. And I really think this would make a great movie!
The plot was a rather untidy and often head-scratching melange of tropes we have all encountered since mid-adolescence--gloomy house, evil matriarch, and an even more alarming housekeeper [Mrs. Danvers does not have to worry, however], and lots of twisted and twined family relationships that sometimes make little sense. I found more telling than showing, and felt definitely short-changed when we're given absolutely no rational--or even arcane--reason for Mrs. Westaway's virulent personality or Mrs. Warren's menacing looming.
An as for the Big Reveal? More like a weak squeak than a horrified scream.
In spite of the above deficiencies, there were parts of this definitely derivative tale that I enjoyed: the atmosphere at both the Brighton pier and the Cornwall manse were spot on, with better than average looks at the countryside and weather not usually included on postcards. There was also from time to time an actual frisson of foreboding, but unfortunately, I thought the constant and almost unremitting descent into hand-wringing, guilt overload, and conscience-questioning knocked that train right off the track.
Another reviewer referred to this book as "Rebecca Lite," and I agree. However, I also found it to be more like 1% milk--gets the job done but is pretty bland in the process.