The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

This is the first book I’ve read from Ruth Ware and am definitely keen to pick up her others! I really enjoyed The Death of Mrs. Westaway. A simple story told really well so I completely powered through the last half to find out faster! The story involves a mysterious family, an old manor house in Cornwall, and an unexpected inheritance. Secrets, lies, deception, and betrayal make The Death of Mrs. Westaway an enjoyable thriller with an old-fashioned feel.

The main character Hal (Harriet) is not completely likable at the start. She grows through the book and despite her completely broke situation has a sense of right and wrong. I loved that though Hal is desperate for the money from the inheritance she still wrestles with the idea of being honest and upfront. It was an interesting element to have Hal as a Tarot reader. Initially, that put me off but as the story evolved the way it includes her mother’s voice while she is doing a reading was interesting. Ruth Ware never insinuates a supernatural element which I loved. Hal’s ‘ability’ is all in her people reading. And facebook stalking.

The setting of Trespassen house was suitably creepy. And even Hal’s work on the pier is a little eerie! Ruth Ware provides us with such vivid and spooky descriptions of the old manor. The way the house makes each of the characters feel adds to the atmosphere of the story. Trespassen was suitably dark and unwelcoming. I definitely get the comparisons to Agatha Christie and Rebecca.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is simple yet kept me so engrossed I wasn’t distracted trying to work out how the story was going to end. If you’re looking for an easy gothic mystery then this is one for you. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a slow and steady build to an action-packed ending with a great twist. The novel is chilling without being too violent. Highly recommend. And maybe better to be saved for an afternoon/evening in by the fire in the middle of a storm…

ABOUT THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY

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 centre of it.

If you liked The Death of Mrs. Westaway why not try Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists?

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