Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware
Published May 29, 2018, Gallery/Scout Press
This feels like Ruth Ware's smoothest mystery yet, with a good sense of each of the characters, even as there were occasionally almost too many to keep count.
While some of the plotting made you very aware that you were reading a book that required plotting to keep the main character in certain situations, it felt like I had made an agreement with the author that I would understand that having these outside forces/threats keeping Hal in or returning to Trepassen was better than having a character who choose to stay despite all the very good reasons she should go.
In previous books Ware had characters who seemed a little too naive, or eager to stay in a bad situation for less-than-compelling reasons. You completely understand why Hal first chooses to obtain a potential inheritance, and then when a desire for knowledge and even inclement weather keep her returning to the spooky house, volatile family, and neighboring town for answers.
The role of tarot cards was explored in a really interesting way, including what it means to make your own fate, and exploring how much information a person gives away in their body language and their word choice, that makes the easy to understand and even manipulate, if you're trained to understand these indicators.
I enjoyed that this book had me second-guessing my initial suspicions about certain characters, and that it did deliver a twist about Hal's mother that I didn't see coming, but most of all beyond the whodunit and why of the book, I was pleased for Hal to actually find an option for security by the end, because I came to appreciate her as a character and wanted to root for more than just her survival.
I always feel a little guilty when I call books about deaths and terrifying people fun, but this book hums along at such a smooth and sinister pace that it is fun.