Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

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My thoughts:  This is the fourth Ruth Ware novel I've read.  There are definitely some similarities between books, but somehow the settings and the issues the characters encounter are varied enough to still be interesting.  This one may just be my favorite of the four or else it is just my most recent.

Hal is lost, her mother died a few years before.  She has no friends, still lives in the flat she shared with her mother and runs her Tarot Card reading table at a local pier.  Right after her mother's death she borrowed some money from a loan shark who is now demanding a repayment of 6 times what she borrowed, which she doesn't have.  Then, she receives a notice saying she has an inheritance from a grandmother.  Except the name of her grandmother is wrong, last name is good, but the names her mother told her were different.  But, she is broke and hopes that maybe she will get enough to pay back the loan and maybe take a small vacation or get ahead, so she boards a train to go to the funeral and will reading.

She meets her three uncles, but not uncles as she doesn't believe she is the daughter of their sister as they think, and finds herself in a drafty, huge country house relegated to an attic room with no heat and locks on the outside of the door and bars on the window even though it is on the top floor of the house.  A crusty old housekeeper who hates everyone and some odd events.

When the will is read and she has inherited the whole estate there are issues, guilt on her part and disbelief on the part of the uncles.  Then odd things happen, her light bulb and that in the hallway to her room are smashed.  The housekeeper warns her away.  Her uncle gives her an old  photo that contains the uncles as well as their sister and a distant cousin and her mother is in the picture!  Her mother was there, but it doesn't make sense.

Pieces keep getting put together and it is like you can almost feel her reaching an aha moment as calamities occur and you wonder exactly who is working against her and why. 

I enjoyed the suspense and found myself wanting to keep listing to see what she discovered next!  I owned a copy of this book and had in on my shelf for about a year,  but ended up borrowing the audio version from the library and finishing it in just a few days!

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