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The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
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The Death of Mrs. Westaway (edition 2019)

by Ruth Ware (Author)

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8537116,012 (3.79)36
Member:bklynbiblio
Title:The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Authors:Ruth Ware (Author)
Info:Gallery/Scout Press (2019), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, mysteries, British

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The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

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Harriet 'Hal' Westaway needs to make money fast or she could lose everything, including a few teeth. When she receives a letter about the settlement of her grandmother's estate, Hal knows it's an error. Her grandmother has been dead for years and had no estate. But, while reading tarot cards on Brighton Pier doesn't pay well, Hal has learned how to read people and to take on a persona. A little Facebook stalking shows that these Westaways have money to spare so what's the harm? Maybe she can fake her way into a small inheritance.

The estate house is creepy and managed by a frightening and rude housekeeper but the family seems nice enough. Hal starts to feel bad about defrauding them, then she makes a startling discovery that changes her views on everything.

For most of the book, Ware sets up a compelling mystery. But her narrative is padded with repetitive and obvious statements like "It was a risk - a real risk. Hal had no safety net -- and if she fell, there was no one to catch her." Hal's speech is peppered with stuttering, a convenient way for the author to avoid completing a sentence and draw out a scene. Also, metaphors and lush descriptions are liberally used to build atmosphere and sustain tension when nothing much is happening in the plot.

Unfortunately, Imogen Church's audiobook narration highlights the flaws in Ware's writing style. After building suspense, the author pulls a clever trick in the final chapters but it's twisted and confusing while other parts of the plot and characterization make no sense and are never explained. ( )
  bookappeal | Jun 15, 2019 |
Harriet “Hal” Westaway receives a letter from a solicitor that names her as a beneficiary in her grandmother’s will. Hal knows there’s some sort of mistake; she knows she’s not the granddaughter of the recently-deceased Hester Mary Westaway. But her own mother’s death has left Hal with no family and she could use the money, so she determines to travel to Trepassen House to claim the inheritance.

But neither Trepassen House nor the Westaway family are even remotely akin to what she’d imagined and before Hal realizes it, things have gotten out of hand and she may not be able to find a way to extricate herself from the danger surrounding her.

At times the narrative is tedious, repetitious, and frustrating; Hal spends most of the narrative being nothing but insipid. The remaining characters, while not fully fleshed out, are rather unlikable and the overused, unnecessary expletive that keeps getting thrown into the telling of the tale quickly begins to grate on the reader.

Nevertheless, there’s enough intrigue and suspense to keep the pages turning and the final dozen or so chapters finally deliver some tension, suspense, and a smartly-executed cat-and-mouse scene that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. Although astute readers will solve the mystery and identify the murderer long before the reveal, there’s much to appreciate in the conclusion of this narrative. ( )
  jfe16 | Jun 2, 2019 |
When 21-year-old Harriett "Hal" Westaway receives a letter from the family attorney informing her that her grandmother died leaving her something in her will she hopes that this bequest might be the answer to her current financial woes. When her mother died in a hit-and-run accident three years ago, she took over her mother's fortune-telling business. However, the business hasn't been as profitable as she hoped requiring her to take out a high-interest loan from a loan shark, whom she owes back payments, which he is willing to forcefully collect.

Hal believes that the bequest is a mistake. Her mother told her that she was the product of a "one-night stand" with an unknown man. Her grandmother died twenty years ago. However, if the family believes that she is Mrs. Westaway's granddaughter maybe she can assume the identity and receive a portion of the estate. However, when she appears at the reading of the will and discovers that she has received the lion-share of the estate, including the spacious manor, her conscience bothers her as she dreads being found out.

When I read The Woman in Cabin Ten, I was less than impressed giving it a two-star (it's okay) rating. I would probably not have read this book if it wasn't selected for a reading group. In this case I was pleasantly surprised that it was much better than the inaugural novel. Although a contemporary mystery, it reads like a Gothic novel with its sprawling mansion; dark and storming nights, family secrets, and a mysterious "Mrs. Danvers-like" housekeeper. It even had a twist at the end which I did not expect. If you read her first book and didn't enjoy it, I would recommend this one. If you enjoyed the first book, you will really enjoy this one. I might just read her others now. ( )
  John_Warner | May 22, 2019 |
Who doesn't dream about getting an unexpected inheritance? In this case is the letter Hal gets truly unexpected. Since she's not the right person. Although she desperately needs the money. So, why not try to impersonate the true Harriet, since no one seems to know anything about her? Great plan, until Hal realize that perhaps she has stepped into a nest of vipers. Although the family seems awfully nice at first. It's just that there seem to be something wrong that her arrival has turned the table...

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a thrilling suspense novel with an excellent nervewracking ending. I found the story to be refreshingly new. I read a lot of thrillers so I'm always glad when I get a book that keeps me on my toes and keeps surprising me. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a book that gives some clues here and there, and you have to together with Hal try to figure out the mystery at the house with her new "relatives". And, it's bloody hard to write anything without spoiling the book. So, I will just say that the book is compelling from the start and will keep the reader hooked until the end.

I have previously read In a Dark, Dark Wood by the author, but I have still The Woman in Cabin 10 to read and I'm really looking forward to doing that!

I want to thank Harvill Secker for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Secrets revealed in last few chapters - a good mystery. ( )
  siri51 | May 11, 2019 |
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Epigraph
One for sorrow

Two for joy

Three for a girl

Four for a boy

Five for silver

Six for gold

Seven for a secret

Never to be told
Dedication
For my mum. Always.
For my mum. Always.
First words
The magpies are back.
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret
Never to be told
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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 center of it"--… (more)

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