When Hal is mistakenly informed that she has inherited a fortune, she plays the part of the heiress in order to pay off her debts, a ruse that lands her at the center of a mysterious and frightening series of events.
A classic never goes out of style ... Here’s a suspense tale so old-fashioned, I’m hard-pressed to recall an element of it that doesn’t derive straight from the 'It Was a Dark and Stormy Night' playbook. Among other Gothic delights, there’s a crumbling old mansion, a disputed inheritance, an orphaned heroine and a grim housekeeper whose signature supper dish is gristle stew ... Somehow, Ware takes all these tarnished suspense tropes, gives them a brisk working-over with a polishing cloth and recovers the ageless beauty of the traditional ... The Death of Mrs. Westaway is superb. In addition to its brooding atmosphere and labyrinthine mistaken-identity plot, the novel also gives us a heroine of real depth in Hal.
The Verdict: unputdownable, gothic-inspired suspense ... another outstanding novel of psychological suspense from an author who has quickly earned her title of 'modern-day Agatha Christie.' Dare I say it? The Death of Mrs. Westaway is my favorite Ruth Ware book yet ... readers will be thrilled to know that Hal is an absolute breath of fresh air as a protagonist ... The gothic mansion at the core of this book is as formidable as are the secrets it houses. I could picture this building, with its iron gates, yard full of magpies, and many, many dark, dusty rooms ... I wish this book hadn’t had to end.
The labyrinth Ware has devised here is much more winding than expected, with reveals even on the final pages. The plotting is not completely seamless, but that is more than made up for by a clever heroine and an atmospheric setting, accented by wisps of meaning that drift from the tarot cards.