Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Author: Ruth Ware
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Genre(s): Adult, Mystery, Thriller
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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.
“Seven for a secret, never to be told.”
Lately I’ve been on a mystery/thriller kick and this book did not disappoint.
I’ve seen several other book reviewers mention that Ruth Ware is pretty hit or miss, though many people say this is her best work to date. Having not read any other Ruth Ware books, I can’t speak on that, though I did thoroughly enjoy this one.
I did enjoy learning about Hal and her backstory. Her work as a tarot reader added a slight err of mystique as the reader got to wonder how this would later tie into the main plot. Though, I’m also super fascinated with tarot readings, so that could have just been me.
The inciting event that encouraged Hal to accept the invite was actually pretty creepy. As a student in far too much debt, the idea of a loan shark coming into my house actually creeps my the hell out. Also, the voice this character was given for the audiobook was kind of terrifying.
Once Hal gets to the Westaway estate and learns that she’s in way over her head, I was curious to see how she was going to handle her predicament. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with several of the choices that Hal made. Fake relative plots can only in so many ways, but I honestly didn’t think that they would go this route.
As for the big reveal at the end, it was just convoluted enough that some readers may be surprised by it. However, as mentioned before, this plot can only end in so many ways. I did think there was one reveal too many, but I didn’t completely hate it. Let’s just say, there definitely was a secret never to be told.
That being said, there were some things that kept me from giving this one a solid 5 stars. First, for a thriller, this book wasn’t that thrilling. With the exception of a few scenes, there wasn’t anything that kept me on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t even sure there was going to be a mystery at first and once we actually figure out what it is, it’s kind of predictable.
Also, some of the secondary characters were so dull, I began to mix them up. This is a big problem because one of these characters played a large role in the third act. So that’s pretty swell. Fortunately, there’s enough exposition to keep everything straight, but I still have a few things I need to double check.
Lastly, there are some plot threads that weren’t actually resolved at all. This book could have benefitted from an epilogue or extra chapter or two to wrap up the remaining lose ends. There isn’t enough there for a sequel, nor is there a need for one, but I would like to know what’s up with the loan sharks, Hal’s business, the will, etc.
Overall, this is a fun mystery/thriller book that is great for those new to the genre. There is enough intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat, but a simple enough plot for readers to follow.
This was a solid read that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next and one I think many of you are going to adore! Also, if you like tarot, you may have a soft spot for this one as I did.
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