The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth WareThe Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

byRuth Ware

Paperback | May 29, 2018

see the collection Most Searched Books

Pricing and Purchase Info

$13.62 online 
$24.99 list price save 45%
Earn 68 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores

about

Nearly three million copies of Ruth Ware’s books sold worldwide.

The highly anticipated fourth novel from Ruth Ware, The Globe and Mail and New York Times bestselling author of the In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game.

Harriet Westaway—better known as Hal—makes ends meet as a tarot reader, but she doesn’t believe in the power of her trade. On a day that begins like any other, she receives a mysterious and unexpected letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but she also knows that she can use her cold-reading skills to potentially claim the money.

Hal attends the funeral of the deceased and meets the family...but it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and that the inheritance is at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in Sussex. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller. Ruth's second novel, The Woman in Cabin 10, becam...
Loading
Title:The Death of Mrs. WestawayFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:May 29, 2018Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501151835

ISBN - 13:9781501151835

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my favourite Ruth Ware book, but still a good read! I love Ruth Ware and I don't know why! I generally give her books 3 stars and yet I find them so compulsively readable that I always come back for more. I should probably start rating them higher because I cannot say no to a Ruth Ware mystery. The Death of Mrs. Westaway was quite different from all of her other novels. It still features a young English woman as the protagonist, but the mystery element was structured differently in this book and I wouldn't call this one a thriller. At times the central mystery seems quite obvious, but you're never really sure what is going on or if you have it right. The Death of Mrs. Westaway tells the story of Hal Westaway and the Westaway family. Hal is just 21 years old and after losing her mother 3 years prior in a hit and run, she is very much alone in the world. She has no family and in her struggle to make ends meet and pay the bills, she has lost contact with any friends she once had. Her mother was everything to her and she takes over her mothers booth as a tarot card reader on the Brighton Pier to survive. But Hal is falling further and further in debt and they are starting to catch up with her. Then one evening she receives a letter about the death of Mrs. Westaway, her grandmother, and that she has been named in the will and requested at Mrs. Westaway's estate. The problem is that Hal's grandparents have been dead for 20 years and she believes she must have received the letter in error. But the promise of a handout is too alluring and Hal wonders if she can trick this estranged family and walk away with enough money from the will to pay off her debts. Things are definitely off with the rest of the Westaway family though and Hal quickly starts to wonder whether everything is actually as it seems. I think Ware does an excellent job writing Hal in this story. She is totally believable and I could totally empathize with the financial mess she's found herself in and the desperation of trying to do whatever she can to pay her bills. I enjoyed her story arc and growth throughout the novel. I didn't like the rest of the Westaway family though, which I guess is kind of the point because they're all flawed and their flaws make you wonder what is actually going on with this family and what is their real history. But I found it hard to connect with any of the other characters and I didn't find the main twist very surprising. It's more of a "wtf is going on in this book" moment and when the twist is finally revealed it's not really that shocking - it was totally what I was expecting, I just wasn't really sure how the author would take me there. I also thought the red herring was super obvious, although still pretty ominous and I do think it added to the story. Overall not my favourite Ruth Ware book, but don't doubt for a second that I won't still be first in line to read whatever she writes next!
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Mystery This book was perfect for me,it reminds me a lot of Agatha Christie murder mystery. It was dark,twisting and full of rather creepy and interesting family members. Good book for the beach and cottage. Read it in one happy afternoon sitting.
Date published: 2018-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth the Read I gave my history book kick a break and picked this up on a whim. I was not disappointed! Lovely novel sure to keep you turning pages until the very last page. Full of mystery, I found it also embraced the flaws of people and family turmoil shared by everyone to some degree which was refreshing. #plumrewards
Date published: 2018-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it !!!!!! This book was so good I couldn't put it down! Finished the book in 6 hours. Highly recommend to anyone who loves a good mystery.
Date published: 2018-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book very engaging and a page turner, couldnt put this book down!
Date published: 2018-06-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The story of a bizarre family Ruth Ware's latest mystery is darker than the previous two, and I found it less captivating. The story concerns the Westaway family. The matriarch has passed away and young Harriet Westaway, living and working as a tarot card reader in Brighton, England, receives a letter from Mrs. Westaway's solicitor indicating Harriet is Mrs. Westaway's granddaughter and is one of her heirs. As the book progresses, there are twists and turns, and the secrets of the Westaway family are revealed.
Date published: 2018-06-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gripping mystery I picked up the advance copy of this book and couldn't put it down. Atmospheric, mysterious with lots of sinister characters, taking place in a landscape that was cold and unforgiving. I loved the protagonist Hal, but didn't always trust her and the story had me guessing until the end.
Date published: 2018-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For all fans of mysteries I highly recommend this book to any who enjoys a good mystery.
Date published: 2018-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Atmospheric and suspenseful THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY plucked me from the warm spring weather and dropped me into sub-zero England, where snow and ice chilled me to the bone. Poor Hal was attacked from all angles, including the climate itself, and that sense of loneliness—of Hal being on her own with nobody to rely on—cranked up the tension from the get-go and didn’t let up for the duration. So basically, THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY was everything I want in a suspense novel and a solid choice if you’re in the mood to figure out a mystery.
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stayed up late with this one! Oh, Ruth Ware, you've done it again - kept me up very late, frantically turning page after page. The Death of Mrs. Westaway has just released - and it's one you're going to want to add to your summer reading list. Harriet (who goes by the nickname Hal) makes her living as a tarot card reader on the pier in Brighton. When her mother passed away, Hal stepped into the job. But, she's in financial straits and owes the local loan shark. When a letter arrives from a lawyer telling her that her grandmother has died and asking her to attend the funeral and reading of the will, Hal is sure it is a mistake. Right name, wrong person. But......maybe also a chance to clear those debts? "And she felt a shiver of something run through her - the same shiver she felt she switched on the light outside her booth, and stepped into her role." Great set up! And it just gets better from there. The Death of Mrs. Westaway has all the elements of a great Gothic tale - a death, crumbling old mansion, dour housekeeper, bickering relatives, odd behavior and of course - secrets. A past and present narrative keeps the reader guessing as to what those secrets might be. The past is presented in journal entries from an unknown writer. Clues to the final answers can be found in the entries, but Ware's narrative is clever, keeping the reader guessing to the last pages. In the present, it's hard to be sure who is telling the truth. Each family member seems to have secrets they'd like to keep buried. A pervasive sense of danger haunts the halls of Trepassen House...... The Death of Mrs. Westaway was a deliciously creepy, addictive, page turning, wonderful read for me. (But I finished it too quickly!) And I learned quite a bit about tarot cards along the way as well.) Definitely recommended!
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a slow burning mystery worth the read. Ware excels at creating atmosphere within her novels. From the first page to the last, the setting enthralls the reader. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is Ware at her best. The novel takes place in mansion on a large piece of land, so the reader is immediately captivated by the intensity of the setting. Ware communicates clearly the creepiness of the estate and pairs it with sketchy characters and lies. What I enjoyed most about The Death of Mrs. Westaway was the main character’s, Hal, grounding in the occult, more specifically tarot cards. This framing is used throughout the novel in a variety of situations that are not always directly connected to the cards themselves. I enjoyed Ware’s take on the cards and their various meanings as I’m not a strong proponent of the occult. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a slow burning mystery that doesn’t unfold until the final few pages. However, the novel doesn’t feel slow. Ware unfolds the mystery slowly without letting the reader get bored at any point during the novel. This is in part due to the main character, Hal. She’s insightful, intelligent, and her relationship to her mother plays a prominent role in her characterization and development of the plot. Family dynamics play an interesting role in the mystery. New people with secrets of their own surround Hal as she tries to navigate the deliciously twisted waters of the new relationships around her and get what she wants. Ware’s writing keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as she makes you question your own logic and initial judgments of these characters. Overall, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a slow burning mystery worth the read. If you’re looking for a mystery grounded in a creepy atmosphere with compelling characters, look no further!
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ominous, atmospheric, and darkly mysterious! The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a gothic, character-driven thriller that takes us into the life of Hal, a young woman recently orphaned and struggling to make ends meet as a tarot reader when she receives an unexpected bequest that will unearth tragic memories, powerful emotions, and long-buried skeletons that will change more than one life forever. The writing is polished and taut. The characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are complex, troubled, and resourceful. The setting, Trepassen House, is a character itself with its dereliction, isolation, abundance of magpies, and multitude of secrets. And the plot is well crafted and builds subtly to create tension and suspicion as it unravels all the deceptions, lies, personalities, and relationships within it. Overall, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is another gripping, eerie, intelligent page-turner by Ware with a classical crime style that is guaranteed to mystify, surprise, and keep you guessing until the very last page.
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A modern Gothic Novel - The best of Ruth Ware The Death of Mrs. Westeraway By Ruth Ware I have enjoyed all of Ruth Ware's novels, but this last one, The Death of Mrs. Westaway has to be the best by far....This book is written differently than her other novels as it is a Modern Gothic Novel, and gothic novels are my favourite genre of books. I found this book to be on par with Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. It has the poor, unhappy, frightened and lonely female protagonist, the strange inheritance of a dark, old atmospheric large country estate, a family full of secrets and lies, an eerie and hateful housekeeper, a very gripping plot, interesting characters, suspense and a feeling of foreboding, that makes it impossible to put the book down. Years of lies and secrets, death and deceit brings Harriet 'Hal' Westaway to a secret family she never knew existed, and to a terror and danger she could not get away from. A big thank you to Netgalley for the chance to receive an advanced copy of the book and for allowing me to give an honest review.
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring This is the same as all her others. Same kind of plot with unstable protagonists that you can't possibly like, who are annoying.
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A New Favourite Author I just discovered Ruth Ware this year and she's turning into a new favourite author for me. She so easily immerses me in her stories. The setting of the big, Gothic mansion that's permanently freezing and has fallen into disrepair is really ominous and I loved the addition of the magpies, which are probably the creepiest animals ever. Ware is SO good at making you trust a character, and then only pages later making you absolutely certain that they are evil incarnate. I love the way she's able to keep me guessing until the big reveal.
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Thank you to the Author, the Publisher and to Netgalley. I previously read The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and really enjoyed, and was very much looking forward to reading this book. About halfway through the book, I thought that I would give this book a 3 star rating, it was good, but it moved a little bit slow, and was a little bit repetitive. I knew that there was a twist at the end, and I thought that I had figured everything out at the halfway point. The second half of the book was had a much quicker pace, and I was finding it really hard to put down. The ending was a little bit dark, but really good. The only thing that I really wished was that there was an epilogue so that I could see where things were 2-5 years later. I would give this a 4 star rating and would recommend it to friends.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read Thriller Definitely my favourite Ruth Ware book to date! While I enjoyed The Lying Game and The Woman in Cabin 10, The Death of Mrs. Westaway gripped my attention the entire way. I found myself bleary eyed and blinking back into reality after devouring the book in a couple of sittings. The setting is gloomy and gothic, but Ware doesn't make the common genre trope into a cliche. The tension and backstory helps build the plot with the right amount of pacing. I particularly loved the contrast between the old mansion setting and the new generation of the Westaway family. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a chilling and twisting thriller!
Date published: 2018-05-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just OK This book definitely surprised me. I enjoyed Woman in Cabin 10 but was disappointed with the Lying Game, so I went into this book with low expectations. Well that worked to my advantage as I was pleasantly surprised at this one. Set in a gothic mansion filled with deception and deep family secrets, this book had me hiding under the covers while reading. I enjoyed the dark, gothic presence in both the setting and the characters. It was a brilliant plot and I would recommend this read to Ruth Ware fans.
Date published: 2018-04-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from beach worthy thriller! Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy for review! This is a novel about Hal, a young down-on-her-luck tarot card reader. She receives a letter in the mail informing her that she is named in the will of a recently deceased elderly woman. She doesn't believe that this woman is her relative, but the possible inheritance is an alluring solution to her financial problems - so Hal decides to try an overcome her moral qualms and pursue the inheritance using her cold reading skills. Upon arriving at the funeral/family estate, Hal is thrust into decades of familial animosity and tension which is exacerbated by the oddness of the will. This is a beach-read level thriller, as are her other novels - however, "Westaway" showed growth for Ware as a writer. Between the gothic atmosphere of the family estate and the well rounded cast of characters, she's definitely won me back after the lackluster "The Lying Game".
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ruth Ware's Best Book Yet I’m a huge fan of Ruth Ware and this is my favourite book of hers to date. It is a hard-to-put-down mystery full of family secrets and gothic atmosphere that is a perfect summer read. The main character, Hal, is especially well developed. Reading this book felt like peeling an onion, as layer upon layer of the plot revealed itself. I can hardly wait for Ruth’s next novel! With gratitude to Ruth Ware for this highly entertaining book and to Simon & Schuster Canada, Scout Press/Gallery Books and netgallery for my advanced ecopy.
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from yet another great story yet another great story beautifully delivered by this great author
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Perfectly Twisting Mystery from the new Queen of Thrillers Ruth Ware - you never, never disappoint me. Book #4 and you still have me on the edge of my seat, for a one-sitting read. The Death of Mrs. Westaway was the perfect mystery thriller for me to jump back into, after what feels like a long stretch of staying away from my favourite genre. Completely different from her first 3 books in story, but true to form, so deliciously addicting, waiting to see where these twists will take us. Hal Westaway is struggling. Working as a cold-read tarot card reader on the local pier, collecting final notices for her bills, alone in the world, Hal cannot imagine how she will make it to the next week without becoming I LOVED that Hal reads tarot - as someone who loves tarot cards without end. It made for such a fresh twist on a lead character, and such a creative way to unravel details of the story. I also loved how perfectly paced the story was - it kept ratcheting up the tension knowing that something was wrong, but not being able to put your finger on where the threat was coming from. The characters are wonderfully diverse in personality, with perfectly real flaws and tics that made them feel very real as you were reading them. It can also not be left unsaid, that Ruth knows how to write a creepy atmosphere - as a reader, I can feel the damp and chill coming off the page, and I read this book wrapped up in a pile of blankets with a huge cup of tea, and then wine, to stay warm. homeless, or worse. And then she receives a mysterious letter in the mail - a letter saying she is to inherit a substantial amount. She knows this must be a mistake - but her desperation makes her wonder if she could bluff her way into this money. Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a situation where nothing makes sense, except her instinct that something is very, very wrong. Twisty and atmospheric, this will be one that mystery lovers are going to devour.
Date published: 2018-04-07

Read from the Book

Chapter 1   The girl leaned, rather than walked, into the wind, clutching the damp package of fish and chips grimly under one arm even as the gale plucked at the paper, trying to unravel the parcel and send the contents skittering away down the seafront for the seagulls to claim.      As she crossed the road her hand closed over the crumpled note in her pocket, and she glanced over her shoulder, checking the long dark stretch of pavement behind her for a shadowy figure, but there was no one there. No one she could see, anyway.      It was rare for the seafront to be completely deserted. The bars and clubs were open long into the night, spilling drunk locals and tourists onto the pebbled beach right through until dawn. But tonight, even the most hardened partygoers had decided against venturing out, and now, at 9:55 p.m. on a wet Tuesday, Hal had the promenade to herself, the flashing lights of the pier the only sign of life, apart from the gulls wheeling and crying over the dark restless waters of the channel.      Hal’s short black hair blew in her eyes, her glasses were misted, and her lips were chapped with salt from the sea wind. But she hitched the parcel tighter under her arm and turned off the seafront into one of the narrow residential streets of tall white houses, where the wind dropped with a suddenness that made her stagger and almost trip. The rain didn’t let up. In fact, away from the wind it seemed to drizzle more steadily, if anything, as she turned again into Marine View Villas.      The name was a lie. There were no villas, only a slightly shabby little row of terraced houses, their paint peeling from constant expo- sure to the salty air. And there was no view—not of the sea or any- where else. Maybe there had been once, when the houses were built. But since then taller, grander buildings had gone up, closer to the sea, and any view the windows of Marine View Villas might once have had was reduced to brick walls and slate roofs, even from Hal’s attic flat. Now the only benefit to living up three flights of narrow, rickety stairs was not having to listen to neighbors stomping about above your head.      Tonight, though, the neighbors seemed to be out—and had been for some time, judging by the way the door stuck on the clump of junk mail in the hall. Hal had to shove hard, until it gave and she stumbled into the chilly darkness, groping for the automatic timer switch that governed the lights. Nothing happened. Either a fuse had blown, or the bulb had burned out.      She scooped up the junk mail, doing her best in the dim light filtering in from the street to pick out the letters for the other tenants, and then began the climb up to her own attic flat.      There were no windows on the stairwell, and once she was past the first flight, it was almost pitch-black. But Hal knew the steps by heart, from the broken board on the landing to the loose piece of car- pet that had come untacked on the last flight, and she plodded wearily upwards, thinking about supper and bed. She wasn’t even sure if she was hungry anymore, but the fish and chips had cost £5.50, and judging by the number of bills she was carrying, that was £5.50 she couldn’t afford to waste.      On the top landing she ducked her head to avoid the drip from the skylight, opened the door, and then at last, she was home.      The flat was small, just a bedroom opening off a kind of wide hallway that did duty as both kitchen and living room, and every- thing else. It was also shabby, with peeling paint and worn carpet, and wooden windows that groaned and rattled when the wind came off the sea. But it had been Hal’s home for all of her twenty-one years, and no matter how cold and tired she was, her heart never failed to lift, just a little bit, when she walked through the door.      In the doorway, she paused to wipe the salt spray off her glasses, polishing them on the ragged knee of her jeans, before dropping the paper of fish and chips on the coffee table.      It was very cold, and she shivered as she knelt in front of the gas fire, clicking the knob until it flared, and the warmth began to come back into her raw red hands. Then she unrolled the damp, rain- spattered paper packet, inhaling as the sharp smell of salt and vinegar filled the little room.      Spearing a limp, warm chip with the wooden fork, she began to sort through the mail, sifting out takeout fliers for recycling and put- ting the bills into a pile. The chips were salty and sharp and the battered fish still hot, but Hal found a slightly sick feeling was growing in the pit of her stomach as the stack of bills grew higher. It wasn’t so much the size of the pile but the number marked FINAL DEMAND that worried her, and she pushed the fish aside, feeling suddenly nauseated.      She had to pay the rent—that was nonnegotiable. And the electricity was high on the list too. Without a fridge or lights, the little flat was barely habitable. The gas . . . well it was November. Life without heating would be uncomfortable, but she’d survive.      But the one that really made her stomach turn over was different from the official bills. It was a cheap envelope, obviously hand- delivered, and all it said on the front, in ballpoint letters, was “Harriet Westerway, top flat.”      There was no sender’s address, but Hal didn’t need one. She had a horrible feeling that she knew who it was from.      Hal swallowed a chip that seemed to be stuck in her throat, and she pushed the envelope to the bottom of the pile of bills, giving way to the overwhelming impulse to bury her head in the sand. She wished passionately that she could hand the whole problem over to someone older and wiser and stronger to deal with.      But there was no one. Not anymore. And besides, there was a tough, stubborn core of courage in Hal. Small, skinny, pale, and young she might be—but she was not the child people routinely assumed. She had not been that child for more than three years.      It was that core that made her pick the envelope back up and, biting her lip, tear through the flap.      Inside there was just one sheet of paper, with only a couple of sentences typed on it.      Sorry to have missed you. We would like to discuss you’re financial situation. We will call again.      Hal’s stomach flipped and she felt in her pocket for the piece of paper that had turned up at her work this afternoon. They were identical, save for the crumples and a splash of tea that she had spilled over the first one when she opened it.      The message on them was not news to Hal. She had been ignoring calls and texts to that effect for months.      It was the message behind the notes that made her hands shake as she placed them carefully on the coffee table, side by side.      Hal was used to reading between the lines, deciphering the importance of what people didn’t say, as much as what they did. It was her job, in a way. But the unspoken words here required no decoding at all.      They said, We know where you work.      We know where you live.      And we will come back.   •     •     •   The rest of the mail was just junk and Hal dumped it into the recycling before sitting wearily on the sofa. For a moment she let her head rest in her hands—trying not to think about her precarious bank balance, hearing her mother’s voice in her ear as if she were standing behind her, lecturing her about her A-level revision. Hal, I know you’re stressed, but you’ve got to eat something! You’re too skinny!      I know, she answered, inside her head. It was always that way when she was worried or anxious—her appetite was the first thing to go. But she couldn’t afford to get ill. If she couldn’t work, she wouldn’t get paid. And more to the point, she could not afford to waste a meal, even one that was damp around the edges, and getting cold.      Ignoring the ache in her throat, she forced herself to pick up another chip. But it was only halfway to her mouth when something in the recycling bin caught her eye. Something that should not have been there. A letter in a stiff white envelope, addressed by hand, and stuffed into the bin along with the takeout menus.      Hal put the chip in her mouth, licked the salt off her fingers, and then leaned across to the bin to pick it out of the mess of old papers and soup tins.      Miss Harriet Westaway, it said. Flat 3c, Marine View Villas, Brighton. The address was only slightly stained with the grease from Hal’s fingers and the mess from the bin. She must have shoved it in there by mistake with the empty envelopes. Well, at least this one couldn’t be a bill. It looked more like a wedding invitation—though that seemed unlikely. Hal couldn’t think of anyone who would be getting married.      She shoved her thumb in the gap at the side of the envelope and ripped it open.      The piece of paper she pulled out wasn’t an invitation. It was a letter, written on heavy, expensive paper, with the name of a solicitor’s firm at the top. For a minute Hal’s stomach seemed to fall away, as a landscape of terrifying possibilities opened up before her. Was someone suing her for something she’d said in a reading? Or—oh      God—the tenancy on the flat. Mr. Khan, the landlord, was in his seventies and had sold all of the other flats in the house, one by one. He had held on to Hal’s mainly out of pity for her and affection for her mother, she was fairly sure, but that stay of execution could not last forever. One day he would need the money for a care home, or his diabetes would get the better of him and his children would have to sell. It didn’t matter that the walls were peeling with damp, and the electrics shorted if you ran a hair dryer at the same time as the toaster. It was home—the only home she’d ever known. And if he kicked her out, the chances of finding another place at this rate were not just slim, they were nil.      Or was it . . . but no. There was no way he would have gone to a solicitor.      Her fingers were trembling as she unfolded the page, but when her eyes flicked to the contact details beneath the signature, she realized, with a surge of relief, that it wasn’t a Brighton firm. The address was in Penzance, in Cornwall.      Nothing to do with the flat—thank God. And vanishingly unlikely to be a disgruntled client, so far from home. In fact, she didn’t know anyone in Penzance at all.      Swallowing another chip, she spread the letter out on the coffee table, pushed her glasses up her nose, and began to read.        Dear Miss Westaway,      I am writing at the instruction of my client, your grandmother, Hester Mary Westaway of Trepassen House, St Piran.      Mrs Westaway passed away on 22nd November, at her home. I appreciate that this news may well come as a shock to you; please accept my sincere condolences on your loss.      As Mrs Westaway’s solicitor and executor, it is my duty to contact beneficiaries under her will. Because of the substantial size of the estate, probate will need to be applied for and the estate assessed for inheritance tax liabilities, and the process of disbursement cannot begin until this has taken place. However if, in the meantime, you could provide me with copies of two documents confirming your identity and address (a list of acceptable forms of ID is attached), that will enable me to begin the necessary paperwork.      In accordance with the wishes of your late grandmother,  I am also instructed to inform beneficiaries of the details of her funeral. This is being held at 4 p.m. on 1st December at St Piran’s Church, St Piran. As local accommodation is very limited, family members are invited to stay at Trepassen House, where a wake will also be held.      Please write to your late grandmother’s housekeeper Mrs Ada Warren if you would like to avail yourself of the offer of accommodation, and she will ensure a room is opened up for you.      Please accept once again my condolences, and the assurance of my very best attentions in this matter.      Yours truly,      Robert Treswick      Treswick, Nantes and Dean      Penzance        A chip fell from Hal’s fingers onto her lap, but she did not stir. She only sat, reading and rereading the short letter, and then turning to the accepted-forms-of-identification document, as if that would elucidate matters.      Substantial estate . . . beneficiaries of the will . . . Hal’s stomach rumbled, and she picked up the chip and ate it almost absently, trying to make sense of the words in front of her.      Because it didn’t make sense. Not one bit. Hal’s grandparents had been dead for more than twenty years.  

Editorial Reviews

“Ruth Ware has written an exciting and amazing book that never stops circling the reader and clapping its cold hands over her eyes.”