The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 May 2018

Member Reviews

If you're into mysteries, then Ruth Ware's novel might be up your alley.  Harriet is alone in the world since her mothers passing a few years back.  She's having trouble making ends meet and gets under water with a local loan shark.  A letter arrives notifying Hal of an inheritance from a family she didn't know she had.  She figures she might as well check it out, in hopes of at least being able to pay off the shark.

Hal gets more than she bargained for as she attempts to collect what she feels doesn't belong to her.  The family she meets all have issues from the dysfunctional upbringing they received.  Hal must tread lightly, for fear she might fall in a rabbit hole and never return.

The characters all play their part and make for a masterful novel.  I wish the housekeeper had a more prominent role in the novel, but that just leads to this captivating mystery.
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Ruth Ware has enjoyed tremendous success with her novels and her latest and 4th novel “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” will follow suit.

A young impetuous woman named Harriet “Hal” Westaway lost her mother years ago to  tragic hit and run accident.  Hal  leads  a solitary lonely life barely able to make ends meet. Billing herself as “Madame Magrida” ,  Hal makes her living by reading tarot cards from a stuffy confining booth  on Brighton Pier.  She doesn’t know how she’s to pay her rent, pay her bills, where her next meal will come from and worse yet, she’s deeply in trouble with a loan shark to  whom she owes a hefty sum.  While pondering all this, she receives a letter saying she’s been named as a beneficiary in the will of her grandmother who has recently passed away.  There’s only one problem - she has absolutely no idea who this grandmother is.  Having nothing to lose, she decides to go ahead and pursue this quirky twist of fate and play along that she is the long lost granddaughter of the  deceased Mrs. Westaway. 

This is a great concept of a story - and the pacing is totally in the style of the author.  The story is crafted well and a sense of mystery and gothic horror is quite present.   A variable cast of characters -  including an ominous aged housekeeper and the deceased Mrs. Westaway’s home  -  Trepassen House - (which holds a foreboding dark secret) makes this a great read.  One can easily tell it is definitely the work of Ruth Ware.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for the advance digital copy!
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Holy magpies! True to form, Ware has taken my breath away once again. In her unique story telling fashion, this one has twists and turns galore, and just when you think you've figured it out, you haven't! 
   On a quest to gain some much needed money, Hal answers a summons to go to her 'grandmother's' funeral and collect her inheritance. However, Hal isn't the only one fooling. 
   A wonderfully sinister and suspenseful plot that will keep you up reading, then invade your dreams with its darkness. All questions are answered and you will be enthralled with its closure. Fabulous.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery/Scout Press for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I finally understand why they are calling Ruth Ware the "Agatha Christie" of our day.  I've previously only read one of her three published books (this one will make four total), that being The Woman in Cabin 10. It had a Christie vibe to it, but I wouldn't have called it particularly reminiscent of her besides the locked room feeling and the cast of potential suspects.

This one though... it really felt like a Christie book. Small cast of characters, dark and gloomy old mansion atmosphere, weather that cuts people off and leaves them stuck together... these are some of the fun classic Christie tricks of the trade, and Ware used them effectively for sure.

While I kind of figured out the who/the what long before the protagonist did, I had a blast following the story to its clash of an ending.

Now I feel like I need to go read The Lying Game and In a Dark, Dark Wood.
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Much better than the last book I read by Ware! This story read like the classic British mystery story. Good plot and focused the reader on the story right away.  Well done and so glad to see Ware back on track!
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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.

Unlike the reunion'y theme of that previous novel and her debut, "In a Dark, Dark Wood," this story is more along the lines of "The Woman in Cabin 10," and goes full-speed ahead from the opening page.

In a case of mistaken identity, Ware once again gives us readers a claustrophobic, atmospheric mystery (thankfully, sparing us all of the boozing this time) in which the main character (Harriet — "Hal." Nicknames are big in this story) 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 missing.

We're not kept in the dark in this novel, 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 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 endearing characters like in The Westing Game.

Definitely the author's best book yet.

My thanks to Scout Press and Netgalley for the ARC.
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Ruth Ware has always been grand at spinning a tale of intrigue and suspense, and THE DEATH OF MRS WESTAWAY brings in some good old fashioned family drama to add some zest. While I didn't feel like the thrills were as high in this one as some of her previous novels, the mystery was intricate and solid, and definitely made me want to keep reading. I liked Hal as a main character because while she sometimes seemed to be the prototypical screw up heroine that so many books like this tout, she was actually fairly understandable in her life choices. So, too, were the Westaways who came back for their mother's funeral, and were so desperate to connect with who they think is the daughter of their long lost sister. The scandals of the upperclass are at the forefront of the squabbles they have, but the deeper secret was the real heart of the story. I kind of figured it out early, but Ware did keep me wondering here and there, and doubting my thoughts and theories. Plus, I never felt like she didn't have a fair amount of control over the reveals; they came at a good rate. 

Overall THE DEATH OF MRS WESTAWAY is a return to stellar form for Ruth Ware. I can safely say that she will always be a go too for me within the modern mystery genre.
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This is Ruth Ware's best book yet.  I read so many suspense novels that they are usually pretty easy to figure out.  This one had so many twists it was fantastic!! Loved it and will definitely recommend it. Probably the best book I have read so far in 2018!!
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A young woman endures the unspeakable loss of her mother, and lives from hand to mouth.  After she is threatened by a loan shark, the letter from a solicitor alerting her to the death of her grandmother seems heaven-sent.  Except she knows the deceased is not her grandmother.  Oh, well, it's not her fault they've made an error.  She'll take the small inheritance and pay off the loan shark.  Easy peasy, right?
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Ruth Ware is back on track.  After a disappointing outing with The Lying Game, Ware returns to the style she does best.  A simple concept turned into a page turning mystery.  Loved the character development and twists and turns.
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A penniless orphaned girl receives a letter that her grandmother died and she is named in the will. She travels to the old mansion, meets relatives she never knew she had, and is warned off by the old housekeeper.  A classic gothic novel except with cell phone flashlights rather than candles lighting the way as the main characters fumbles through the dark halls of the mansion.
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Ruth Ware has an amazing knack for taking a simple idea (both The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game involve a missing person) and spinning it in multiple directions that keeps the suspense going and readers guessing until the very end. While The Woman in Cabin 10 was a fast paced thriller, many were disappointed with The Lying Game's more tedious plot. The Death of Mrs. Westaway takes another straightforward concept-a young girl's inheritance from her deceased grandmother-and turns it into a very dark and sinister mystery. Harriet "Hal" Westaway is still reeling from the hit and run death of her mother several years earlier when she receives a letter informing Harriet that she is a beneficiary of her grandmother's estate. The problem is Hal is certain she is not related to the woman named in the letter. But Hal is young and broke-she lives on meager earnings as a tarot card reader, and is being threatened by the loan shark she borrowed money from-so the idea of even a small inheritance is enough to pique Hal's interest. Using her last penny, Hal travels to Mrs. Westaway's home for her funeral and the reading of the will. Here Hal meets her three "uncles"-Mrs. Westaway's sons who believe Hal is the daughter of their long lost sister. When Hal learns she is the sole beneficiary of the substantial estate, old tensions between the brothers are renewed and Hal fears she will be exposed as a fraud. The Death of Mrs. Westaway has a deeply brooding tone-from the decrepit mansion that is home to Mrs. Westaway and her longtime maid, to the unexplained tensions between the brothers, and especially the cryptic ramblings of the maid-nothing (and no one) is what it appears to be. With a Gothic feel that's a nod to Agatha Christie classics, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is Ruth Ware's best work to date. It's gripping and intense-the mansion's secrets are exposed in twists that literally grab you by the throat and leave you gasping for air. Highly recommended.
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Hal Westaway is a young woman, struggling to make a living as a Tarot card reader in the south of England. She can’t pay her bills, and a loan shark is threatening her. When she receives a letter saying she has inherited money, she know it must be a mistake but she is desperate and sees a way out of her misery. What she doesn’t know is how the next few days and people she meets will impact her life, and maybe not in a good way. 

While the premise is good,  there is too much description and repetition of how Hal feels at every moment. Not a bad read, just average.
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Now this is a proper book. The "I'm not even mad I couldn't sleep all night because I had to keep reading this book" sort of book. This feels like a modern day Rebecca as told by P.D. James. It's gothic and mysterious but utterly captivating. Even though I received an advanced review copy I will be buying this book for my library as it's just brilliant.
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The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a classic British murder mystery - full of atmosphere. Harriot "Hal" Westaway is living hand to mouth in Brighton - telling tarot fortunes on the pier, just like her mother before her. Desperate to pay her rent and other bills, Hal borrows money from an unsavory character who wants it back - with loads of interest. One night while sifting through her bills, Hal receives a notice from her grandmother's attorney, saying that Hal has inherited and needs to come to her huge gothic estate to collect. Hal knew her grandparents were long dead, but goes along with the plot thinking that she can pay off her loans, and start a new life. After meeting the family, Hal has mixed emotions, and realizes that another mystery is at stake. Who is she really? Who was her father? and what happened to Maud Westaway? This book by Ruth Ware compares to her first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood. I love the British atmosphere - it's like reading Masterpiece theatre! thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an e-book to review.
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I am happy to report that Ruth Ware is back.  I had really enjoyed In a Dark, Dark Wood, and The Woman in Cabin 10, but she lost me with The Lying Game.  She is back in good form with The Death of Mrs. Westaway.  It is a deliciously creepy story with a slow-burning tension that builds as you go.  It is equal parts mystery and family drama.  Hal is a relatable and sympathetic heroine.  As she found herself increasingly in peril, I felt terrified at what might befall her.  A great classic, gothic mystery.
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Another great book from Ruth Ware, she does not disappoint.  Sometimes you have an inkling early on about what's going to happen or the backstory but this book truly kept me guessing until the end. Great read for fans of mysteries or thrillers!
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I wasn't much of a fan of psychological thrillers until I discovered the talented Ruth Ware, so I was thrilled to find her latest, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, available on netgalley!  This story has the feel of an Agatha Christie-esque who-done-it suspense mixed with just the right amount of eerie creepiness. Just like Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10, The Death of Mrs. Westaway will keep you guessing until the end!
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I really enjoyed this book. As Ruth Ware got more popular, I kept reminding myself to read one of her books, and now, thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, I have.

I was instantly hooked on the story of Harriet Westaway and the family she never knew. As a daughter of a young single mother, Harriet "Hal" has seen struggle, and now as a young woman orphaned by a car accident, Hal attempts to make ends meet by reading fortunes on a pier and working to pay back a shady loan.

When a mysterious letter arrives naming Hal beneficiary of the titular character, Hal has a decision, to continue to play into the mistaken identity or come clean. But the truth may not be so easily discovered.

Borrowing strongly from gothic tradition, the book was an interesting mystery and I enjoyed the strong main character very much. I look forward to reading Ms. Ware's other books.
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I have read most of Ruth's books, but this one I think is her pinnacle! This was a book I did not want to put down, and I found myself reading 3/5ths of it on the first reading very EARLY into the morning, and finishing on the second read. Red herrings about to thwart the reader, in classical Christie prose, as the reader worries about Hal and her immediate future. Will she be able to get an inheritance?  Will she survive the weekend? Why was the family SO dysfunctional and what is the big secret they are keeping? This is at once an old-fashioned mystery, wrapped up with a modern coat, and it is perfect for relaxing with over a long weekend, so don't miss this one!
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