The Death of Mrs. Westaway

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...

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Title:The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Author:Ruth Ware
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Death of Mrs. Westaway Reviews

  • Dennis

    First and foremost, I'm happy to say that

    I've been a fan of Ruth Ware since Day 1.

    was such a good debut light-mystery novel and

    was one of my favorite mystery novels of all time. After my disappointment with

    , I still was hopeful for

    . Ruth Ware went back to her roots with

    and created a robust, multifaceted, and fascinating story. Seriously guys, I read this 360+

    First and foremost, I'm happy to say that

    I've been a fan of Ruth Ware since Day 1.

    was such a good debut light-mystery novel and

    was one of my favorite mystery novels of all time. After my disappointment with

    , I still was hopeful for

    . Ruth Ware went back to her roots with

    and created a robust, multifaceted, and fascinating story. Seriously guys, I read this 360+ page book in one sitting!

    Harriet (Hal) Westaway is a young twenty-something year old tarot card reader in Brighton, England. She is struggling to pay the bills; barely making rent while her business is providing dismal financial stability. With loan sharks out to enforce their illegal and exploitative payment plans, Hal is looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. Her mother died years ago, and she has no family to lean on—she is utterly alone. As Hal checks her mail, she receives notice that her grandmother, Hester Mary Westaway, has recently passed away and has left Hal an inheritance of some kind. Hal believes this to be a clerical error of some kind because her grandparents have been dead for years. Desperate, Hal decides that she can fraudulently try and claim this inheritance as her own—she's been conning innocent people for years as a tarot card reader and this will just be another gig for her.

    When Hal arrives to the Westaway family home, she quickly finds herself immersed in a rich family history that quickly starts to crumble. Something is wrong with this family, but Hal just can't seem to grasp what is so concerning. In a world of family dynamics, betrayal, and greed;

    delivers a realistic mystery crime-fiction novel that will keep you hooked from page one.

    I know it's lame to compare author's works to each other, but in order to show the reasoning behind my five-star rating for

    , I'm going to have to tell you how this story differs from Ware's other works.

    This story is a lot more dense than

    and

    ; you can really see the progress Ruth Ware has made in her writing and she continually fine tunes it in this story. For about a good 30% of the book, we have the characterization of Hal set perfectly. At first, I immediately felt that this was going to be a slow burn novel, but I was wrong because everything comes full circle. We see Hal's desperation come to life and her willingness to deceive to survive. Hal is not the typical alcoholic unreliable narrator that we have come to

    Hal is entertaining and honestly refreshing. When we meet the secondary characters, they are all unique and interesting in their own way. Each character in

    is fully developed and multi-dimensional.

    After reading the synopsis, throw everything you think about Ruth Ware novels out the window.

    will keep you guessing until the very end

    .

  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]

    So, here's the thing. You can't really compare Ruth Ware to any contemporary writers. The pure "old-fashioned-ness" of her writing style is so refreshing that it comes across as modern. Weird, huh? You gotta go way back to find Ware's influences. Yep, that's Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith.

    These fantastic female authors constructed some of the best psychological suspense novels ever written, but they aren't quickly devoured like a lot of this genre's current

    So, here's the thing. You can't really compare Ruth Ware to any contemporary writers. The pure "old-fashioned-ness" of her writing style is so refreshing that it comes across as modern. Weird, huh? You gotta go way back to find Ware's influences. Yep, that's Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith.

    These fantastic female authors constructed some of the best psychological suspense novels ever written, but they aren't quickly devoured like a lot of this genre's current output. Fine literature like fine wine requires some savoring time.

    Sniff, sip and swish this one around your mouth a few times. What's the hurry? Just sit back with your glass, soak up the formidable atmosphere, and enjoy the leisurely experience.

    THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY is not in the least “action packed”, but it is thoughtfully creepy and has so many twists in store for you. Wait for a thunderstorm. Break out the Courvoisier. Light some candles and crack open this beautiful, haunting and dark novel...just don't be in a rush! It's meant to be enjoyed.

  • Mackenzie - Traveling Sister

    This book had me completely hooked from page one!

    I have to give this 5 glowing stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 for Ruth Ware—who if I’m being honest never disappoints me! This book was positively haunting!!! It was spooky yet meaningful, with lovely prose and compelling plot twists. I cannot recommend it enough!

    I finished this book last night. It was one of those books that I stayed up late on a work night to finish, because I was so invested in the story. Hal’s dilemma had me completely immersed in the book. I th

    This book had me completely hooked from page one!

    I have to give this 5 glowing stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 for Ruth Ware—who if I’m being honest never disappoints me! This book was positively haunting!!! It was spooky yet meaningful, with lovely prose and compelling plot twists. I cannot recommend it enough!

    I finished this book last night. It was one of those books that I stayed up late on a work night to finish, because I was so invested in the story. Hal’s dilemma had me completely immersed in the book. I think most readers will find themselves wondering what they would do if they were in Hal’s position! One thing that Ruth Ware does so well in this book (and in her previous work) is to write about characters that are cut off from society in some way. Sometimes this is done through a setting or an experience, and other times it is done through their social predicament. Hal fell into the latter category, with a dash of the first.

    What I love about the way Ruth Ware isolates characters is how it makes you forget the noise of the rest of the world. It’s easy to put yourself in their shoes, because she writes in a way that their problem is so isolated, that it shines right off of the page. Hal’s predicament felt like it became my predicament! Hal’s strength, worries, and ideas felt like my own. I was able to fully empathize with her, and root for her along the way.

    Hal is alone in the world. Imagine being a young woman, raised by a single mother and with no other family, and then your mother passes away in a horrible accident. Hal has no money, no family, and no friends. All she has left from her mother is her Tarot Booth on the Promenade—named Madame Margarida, after her mother—and the strength to survive instilled in her since childhood. But what Hal also has is a debt that is hard to repay. Surviving comes at a cost, and Hal has run out of options. And then one day, a letter arrives…

    The letter informs Hal that she is set to receive some inheritance from the late Mrs. Westaway, her grandmother. The letter is addressed to Hal by name, and yet Hal knows it cannot be true. You see, Hal knows her grandparents all died long ago on her mother’s side, and the letter references Mrs. Westaway being her maternal grandmother. Still, with debt piling up higher and no chance to repay it, Hal wonders if her career of reading others and telling them what they need to hear might be just the thing to help her play the game long enough to earn a bit of inheritance.

    As Hal begins her journey to Trespassen House, she finds herself in over her head. It’s one thing to imagine taking a bit of money from those with plenty, but it’s another to place yourself in the center of someone else’s grief. The other Westaways are real people. And yet, there are many secrets in the home. Hal finds herself wondering if she isn’t the only person hiding something. And what will be the cost if those secrets come out?

    I have to gush for a moment about the settings in this book. Ruth Ware uses such descriptive language, and this book takes place in some truly fantastic settings. From the spooky, abandoned promenade, to the bare apartment, to the dark mansion—I fell in love with the locations described in this book! I could imagine the settings so vivdly, as though I was there myself. I also loved the opening chapters on Hal’s work in the Tarot booth, and the people and settings she interacts with. I won’t spoil them, but they jumped off of the page for me.

    The duality in Hal was also a high point for me. Hal is physically meek, but she has an inner strength. The way Hal has learned to play weaker than she is, and then her shows of surprising resilience and bravery were so wonderful. Hal is an easy character to admire and to root for. Hal is someone who has been cast aside in every way, but she has never allowed it to diminish her. Hal is caring but self-preserving. Hal is honest but deceptive. Hal is calculating but impulsive.

    Many readers will enjoy this book, and I recommend it highly.

    I am so grateful to NetGalley, to Ruth Ware, and to Gallery/Scout Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    See my review (and more!) here:

  • Meredith

    Struggling tarot card reader, Hal, aka Harriet Westaway, finds herself in a moral quandary when she receives a letter naming her as a beneficiary in her grandmother’s will. She believes a mistake has been made as her grandparents died long before she was born. Even though she knows

    Struggling tarot card reader, Hal, aka Harriet Westaway, finds herself in a moral quandary when she receives a letter naming her as a beneficiary in her grandmother’s will. She believes a mistake has been made as her grandparents died long before she was born. Even though she knows that what she is doing is wrong, she is so desperate for money that she decides to travel to the funeral and play the role of the rightful heir.

    Hal travels to eerie Trepassen House, her “late grandmother’s” crumbling estate. She thinks that she is only going to inherit some money, but she soon learns that she has been left much more. At the estate, she meets her “uncles” and uses her keen observation skills to learn more about the creepy family that inhabited Trepassen. When Hal realizes that she has a legit family connection to these Westaways, she begins to dig for more information which leads her into grave danger.

    Her character is what I loved most about this book. Hal has spent most of her life observing vs. being the center of attention, which has enabled her to master reading people. She can use this skill to deceive, but she has a generous nature. At the same time, she is also fighting to survive and must take what she can.

    Trepassen House also plays a large role. The thickly woven atmosphere surrounding the house transported me. Even though the events take place in the current moment, I felt like I had gone back in time while reading this as it is reminiscent of classic mysteries.The tarot card readings and the constant presence of magpies also contributed to this feeling.

    Subtle clues are planted throughout, but all does not come together until the end. This is a mystery with many layers; I found it to be intriguing, intelligent, and entertaining. I was satisfied with how things played out.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    All hail Queen Ruth Ware! It's no secret that lady authors have been taking over the psychological thriller scene in the past decade (GiRl PoWeR), but there are a handful that seem to come to the forefront when planning out what we want to read over the summer months. Ms. Ware has been a highly coveted name in rece

    All hail Queen Ruth Ware! It's no secret that lady authors have been taking over the psychological thriller scene in the past decade (GiRl PoWeR), but there are a handful that seem to come to the forefront when planning out what we want to read over the summer months. Ms. Ware has been a highly coveted name in recent years and for good reason; whether you have read her books from the beginning or are just jumping into her scene, you'll note that she writes a gripping novel with memorable characters and breathtaking atmosphere. While all of her novels would be shelved clearly under the psych thriller persona, this one shined more brightly than the rest, at least in my opinion, due to it's departure into the gothic suspense territory.

    I'm a huge fan of stories where the atmosphere is as formidable a character as the people who are making the action happen. 

     was the perfect example of such a tale, and the oppressive setting ramps up the unsettled feeling in the reader from the very first page. I almost felt that this book gave off some serious Agatha Christie vibes, but with a modern flair. The slow burning mystery portion of the novel was fantastic; it's not so much about the "who" but the "why" and the "how" in this case. The unraveling of what's really going on had a very traditionalist feel to it, and I wholly embraced the slight changes in the story that brought us to a climax that was both intense and gripping.

    Do you like playing detective, perhaps finding clues along the journey of your reading experience? Then you'll most certainly LOVE 

    . The devil is in the details, and that phrase couldn't ring more true than it does in this particular story. I had such a blast trying to solve the mystery in all it's parts and found, while a slow burn through and through, I couldn't put it down due to the story's compulsive nature. Dark, unsettling, and full of unexpected twists, Ms. Ware has created one of the "it" stories of 2018. Highly recommended!

  • Dorie

    *****NOW AVAILABLE*****

    After “The Lying Game” which was a little disappointing to me, I was thoroughly thrilled and engrossed in this new book. Ms. Ware has again written a twisty, dark, atmospheric thriller, this time throwing family, inheritance and sibling rivalry into the brew.

    Hal Westaway is still reeling from the death of her mother three months previously. She had to forgo her plans to attend college in order to take up her mother’s tarot reading kiosk on the pier in order to pay the bill

    *****NOW AVAILABLE*****

    After “The Lying Game” which was a little disappointing to me, I was thoroughly thrilled and engrossed in this new book. Ms. Ware has again written a twisty, dark, atmospheric thriller, this time throwing family, inheritance and sibling rivalry into the brew.

    Hal Westaway is still reeling from the death of her mother three months previously. She had to forgo her plans to attend college in order to take up her mother’s tarot reading kiosk on the pier in order to pay the bills. Still she fell short and she make an enormous mistake, borrowing money from someone who was beginning to put pressure on her to pay back the loan with lots of interest and even more threats, bodily threats!

    While dealing with all of this and what her next step will be she gets a letter that she is heir to a substantial inheritance from her grandmother, Mrs. Westaway. Hal never knew that she had a grandmother and really thinks that there is a mix up but as she is pinned against the wall with the threat from her loan shark, she makes the decision to go to the funeral and see what the inheritance is all about. She is hoping for a few thousand pounds to help her get cleared of debt and start fresh.

    Once at Trepassen house, a falling down, once gorgeous estate, she discoveres that her inheritance is much more than just some money and her “uncles” are none too happy about it, with the exception of Ezra who seems to take her under his wing. The house lends a lot of creepiness to the story, including the terrible attic room which Hal is now sleeping in, with it’s bolts on the outside of the door and it’s message scratched into the window.

    Most of the family, however, embraces her as the daughter of their long lost sister and seem ready to accept her into the fold. Once the will is read, however, Hal is not so sure she wants any part of this, thinking she has perhaps dug herself into a really dark hole. Then she decides she will “take this step by step...with the slow, measured pace of a reading. She had to turn each card as it came, consider it, find it’s place in the story . . . . . only the next card was not a card at all, it was a photograph. the photograph . . . .”

    There are lots of characters quite well developed including the cranky, constantly lurking, Mrs. Warren, who has been the housekeeper since the uncles were children. She seems to know all of the secrets but seems to be biding her time, does she have a secret of her own?

    Mystery/thriller fans are going to love this new book, I did! The only thing that brought it down to a 4 was the fact that I figured out who the “bad guy” was and most of the mystery long before it was revealed. Still the ending is a great one and I loved every minute of this novel.

    Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for an ARC of this book.

  • Emily May

    This book was so creepy. In a great way. I'm really glad I finally broke down and read a Ruth Ware book.

    My sister is a huge Ruth Ware fan so I, of course, in true sibling fashion, had to decide I hated her on principal and avoid all her previous books. Okay, I'm joking, but

    spoiled most of the endings to the others so I have had to bag an arc to be able to read

    This book was so creepy. In a great way. I'm really glad I finally broke down and read a Ruth Ware book.

    My sister is a huge Ruth Ware fan so I, of course, in true sibling fashion, had to decide I hated her on principal and avoid all her previous books. Okay, I'm joking, but

    spoiled most of the endings to the others so I have had to bag an arc to be able to read this spoiler-free. And I loved it!

    What's not to love about old dark secrets, even older darker houses, and mysterious family legacies?

    In

    , Hal reads tarot cards on Brighton pier and struggles daily to pay the bills and find food to keep her going. This has been her life since the death of her mother a few years earlier. So when she receives a letter bequeathing a large inheritance to her, she decides to accept, even though she knows it must be a mistake.

    Hal travels down to the English coast and meets her "family". She is taken to the huge, cold and gloomy Trepassen house-- a place that holds a thousand secrets within its walls. It soon becomes clear to Hal that something is not quite right, that she may indeed have a history entwined with the Westaways, and that someone in Trepassen house is determined to keep the past hidden, whatever it costs.

    Ware builds up to her reveals so well. She had me on a hook the entire time I was reading, pacing the novel just right, gradually pulling back the curtain (and years) on the mystery. She remembers that the

    of mysteries are so much more important than the

    (because, come on, there's only so many people it can be, right?).

    There's just this

    that permeates the novel, and it makes for a very compelling read. Though this is not a supernatural story, the author plays with your mind just enough to have you questioning your own sense of reality and logic. I love the ghostly

    vibe, the creepy old housekeeper, and the isolated setting.

    I especially love how the tarot aspect plays into everything, showing symbolism in everyday objects such as the four cups on the table. As Hal's mother noted, the cards are not magic or psychic, but they do have a way of pointing you in a certain direction, making you notice things you'd ignored before. It was very effective.

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  • Paromjit

    Ruth Ware writes an eerie, atmospheric and dark twisted murder mystery in the style of the golden age of crime classics with elements of the gothic. 21 year old Harriet 'Hal' Westaway lost her mother in a hit and run car accident, and took up the mantle of becoming a tarot reader at the Brighton Pier. Alone in the world, she is in dire financial straits, owing money to unscrupulous loan sharks, and facing a bleak and unpromising future. Out of the blue, she receives a letter that tells her of an

    Ruth Ware writes an eerie, atmospheric and dark twisted murder mystery in the style of the golden age of crime classics with elements of the gothic. 21 year old Harriet 'Hal' Westaway lost her mother in a hit and run car accident, and took up the mantle of becoming a tarot reader at the Brighton Pier. Alone in the world, she is in dire financial straits, owing money to unscrupulous loan sharks, and facing a bleak and unpromising future. Out of the blue, she receives a letter that tells her of an inheritance left to her by grandmother, Hester Mary Westaway, which she knows is an error, as both of her grandparents have been dead for a while. Her predicament and circumstances drive her to fraudulently pursue the inheritance, as she attends the funeral and travels to Cornwall to the huge and dilapidated Trepassen House, surrounded ominously by magpies. It doesn't take her long to become aware that something is terribly wrong. This is a story of a dysfunctional family, sibling conflicts and rivalry, intrigue, legacies and buried secrets from the past.

    Placed in the attic room, Hal faces hostility from all quarters, apart from Ezra. The elderly, menacing and strange Mrs Warren, the housekeeper appears to have own secrets as well as knowing secrets of others. Hal embarks on a search for the truth aided by her trusty tarot cards, as she wonders what her mother's involvement with the family is. As the past threatens to reveal itself, Hal has to draw on her inner resources as danger swirls around her. Hal is a flawed character, who you can forgive her deceptions, given the precarious nature of her finances. She is brave and courageous in the face of the dark Trepassen House and all the secrets held within its walls. Ware gives us a well plotted tale with rich evocative descriptions. This is a creepy, absorbing and entertaining read which I thoroughly enjoyed with its echoes of Rebecca, Agatha Christie and more. Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC.

  • Emma

    This is one of those books that relies on conversations not had, coincidences, misunderstandings or misexplainations, and a serious dose of people seemingly deliberately taking the least likely option necessitated by the evidence. If, while reading, I have to whisper 'are you serious?' to myself repeatedly as I follow the main character's journey, it is not a good thing. The author seems to have thought out a story then said to herself, how can I make this needlessly messy so it looks cleverer?

    This is one of those books that relies on conversations not had, coincidences, misunderstandings or misexplainations, and a serious dose of people seemingly deliberately taking the least likely option necessitated by the evidence. If, while reading, I have to whisper 'are you serious?' to myself repeatedly as I follow the main character's journey, it is not a good thing. The author seems to have thought out a story then said to herself, how can I make this needlessly messy so it looks cleverer? Whole sections are entirely unnecessary and the book doesn't know whether it's trying to be gothic horror, Agatha Christie style whodunnit, or psychological thriller, ending up doing none of them well.

    Still, it seems to be only me who thinks this way so *shrugs shoulders and walks away*....

    ARC via Netgalley

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