The Death of Mrs. Westaway
By: Ruth Ware
Overall: This is an eerie, inheritance mystery that is full of creepy atmosphere, and twisty questions. Harriet (Hal) Westaway is a young woman who is barely making ends meet as a Tarot card reader on the boardwalk of an English seaside town. She does it because that is what her mother did for a living, before she
was killed by a hit-and- run driver three years ago. Hal is lonely, grieving, broke, and scared of the loan shark that she owes money to. Then she gets a letter in the mail saying that her Grandmother died and she needs to go to the funeral and meet with the lawyer about the inheritance that her Grandmother left her. Hal believes that the letter is a mistake. She knows that her grandparents are already dead. She believes has no family left, that she is alone. But, she is desperate, and thinks her skills in reading people as a Tarot card reader might make her be able to pull off the scam that she is really this long-lost granddaughter. She really would love a little inheritance to help her pay back the loan shark, pay her
rent, and get back on her feet again. So, she decides to go to the funeral and play the role as the rightful heir granddaughter. But, after the funeral, she needs to go back to her late grandmother’s creepy, old, crumbling English estate to hear the reading of the will with all the other family members. This is where she finds out
that the late Mrs. Westaway left everything to her. The entire estate! The 3 sons who were expecting to inherit the estate are not exactly thrilled. Now, Hal realizes that she is going to have to tell them the truth, that she is not really related to them, and she was trying to scam them out of some money. But, before she can do that, some family secrets are revealed, and things keep getting more and more complicated and confusing for everyone involved. Then, Hal finds out that she may really be related to the family after all.
Ovations: I love an inheritance mystery! I love how the old family secrets get revealed and how everyone reacts to them while all staying in the house together! The plot moves at a slow pace, revealing the secrets a little at a time. The author keeps you guessing, with new clues and revelations being revealed all throughout the book. I had to keep going back and re-reading parts again now that I knew different information. Also, I loved how descriptively Ruth Ware wrote this book! I really felt I could see everything she was writing about so clearly! I could see the
boardwalk, see the old estate, and see all the characters so distinctly in my
mind. I love how she writes so vividly, I could even feel the rain and snow and
how soaked-through and cold the people were! The book was very atmospheric and I loved how I could envision it all.
Oh Well: I did figure-out one of the main mysteries in the storyline quite early on. But, that did not ruin my enjoyment of the book. Also, you should know it is a very slow-paced mystery. There is a lot of background information given in the book that goes back-and-forth in time. So, I did have to go back and re-read some sections over and over because things are sort of complicated and they needed to make sense to me. So, I would have to re-read things to figure out how to put the puzzle pieces of the story together correctly. Having to keep doing that was annoying to me.
Opinion: I love that this is sort of an old-fashioned inheritance murder mystery set in the English seaside. The creepy old mansion with the scary old housekeeper and all the cold, rainy days … just a perfect setting for a classic, old family murder mystery. The book was written with such clear details, I really felt I was there! It was a slow-paced book, but I felt that added to the intentional, secretive, unfolding of clues and the mystery of it all. Parts of it were not clear, and I had to re-read sections to have things make sense. But, I enjoyed trying to figure out the mysteries in this book and I think you will too. Rating 8 out of 10