Mrs Westaway dies and hell breaks loose

We did another buddy read with my book-bestie Umut Reviews,  we both enjoyed and discussing the book alongside the read, trying to guess what’s coming next in the plot was so much fun. Here is her review!

ruth ware

Ruth Ware is one of my favourite mystery writers. She is so good at building tension. Her debut, In a Dark Dark Wood won my heart with it’s cabin in the woods setting, with her characters unwillingly facing off with their past and secrets.

The Death of Mrs Westaway has a similar structure where a character is trapped in a situation against her will and has to find out what really is happening. The book follows the story of Hal, who recently lost her mum to a hit and run. She picked up Tarot reading from her mum, and does readings in a booth in Pier to make a living, but she is grief stricken and financial struggles doesn’t help.

… people liked tarot because it gave them an illusion of control, of forces guiding their lives, a buffer against the senseless randomness of fate. But they liked Hal because she was good at what she did. She was good at weaving a story out of the images the clients turned up in front of her, good at listening to their pain and their questions and their hopes and, most of all, she was good at reading others.

One of those days Hal gets a letter that will change her life forever. A solicitor writes her to tell her grandmother has passed away- a grandmother she never knew of. Confused and seeking answers, she travels to Cornwall to meet with a pack of strangers, the sons of her supposed grandmother and their families. She is sure there must be a mistake, but is it really so? Is there something her mother didn’t tell about her past? We will be following Hal’s footsteps in the old and eerie house, to find out.

I love the bleakness in this novel. I love Ware’s independent female protagonists, they don’t need a man to rely on, or solve their problems, a lot different than the usual damsel in distress.

The Death of Mrs Westaway is  an exceptionally well-written book. The story was bleak and the gothic atmosphere was as magical as Cornwall’s foggy mornings. Blending Tarot reading into this story was genius. I loved the ending and definitely didn’t see the ‘main’ surprise coming.

This is one of the books you immediately get hooked into the story and after a certain point it becomes so gripping, you HAVE TO finish it, you just can’t stop reading.

Absolute 5 stars! Looking forward for the next one from Ruth Ware!



  1. Sounds really good! I am forcing myself not to add too many books so my ever expanding summer reading list but I may not resist this one. 😊
    Great review!


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