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The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

eBook - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York : Gallery/Scout Press, 2018
Edition: First Scout Press hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501156229
1501156225
Branch Call Number: EBOOK OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource (384 pages)

Opinion

From Library Staff

After the death of her mother, Harriet “Hal” Westaway ekes out a living telling fortunes. When a letter arrives about a possible inheritance, Hal is overjoyed—until she arrives at Trepassen House where everything seems more than a little off.

Ware’s best book by far. I finally stopped trying to puzzle it out and just sat back to enjoy the ride. ~

Susanne Guide, Union County Public Library, Liberty, IN

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.


From the critics


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m
mikey69
Jun 14, 2021

Hal is a second generation psychic medium. It's a skill she doesn't really even believe in. When money problems - coupled with a chance summons to the reading of a will by a family she doesn't belong to - sets her on a path of fraud, it's soon evident she hasn't the stomach for deceiving others. Especially when the targets of her deception satisfy a need she's never had fulfilled: Family.

With THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY (Simon & Schuster, $16.99), Ruth Ware has meticulously built a story of mystery and intrigue. From the opening page to the final passage, Ware spins it with care and precision. Her characters are fleshed out, taking her time with each, while leaving large gaps in the story that make the first half of the book more a whatdunnit than a whodunnit. She throws a few red herrings in there too, keeping us guessing alongside Hal as to what her deceased mother's history - if any - was with the Westaways, uncovering the plot in tandem with her.

Hal would be a two-dimensional ingenue-type character in other hands. Under Ware's guidance, she's full of mystery. She's a bit unrefined, struggling financially having inherited her mother's small fortune-telling business. It's hard to tell if she's a diamond in the rough, or just rough; victim or villain.

When Hal arrives at the Westaway estate for the reading, she's welcomed with a mix of hesitancy, and open arms. It's confusing to her, never having known her own family, and she struggles internally over the ethics of her charade. On one hand, she's broke, so there's that monetary motivation; on the other, she doesn't like lying to people, especially people who on the surface at least, seem genuinely concerned for her welfare.

Mrs. Warren is the maid, and a menacing character. Sour, and ancient, she dons a presence that unnerves Hal and threatens to send her packing. But she of all people - due to her position and life-long service with the Westaways - most likely has the answers to the questions running amok in Hal's head. She of all people would know where the bodies are buried, but this isn't a murder mystery. Or is it?

The further Hal goes down the rabbit hole, the more criminal the whole affair looks. Not on the part of Hal, but on the part of a person or persons unknown. Using her skills as a psychic, which are really more about reading people than telling their futures, Hal chips away at incongruities and half truths. Who was her father? Who was her mother? What is the Westaway's interest in her? We're kept guessing until at last, the real mystery at the heart of THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY reveals itself, and Hal's secrets look like child's play in comparison.

k
Kmum1
May 20, 2021

Better than the last Ruth Ware book I read: In a Dark Dark wood. I swore I wasn't going to pick up another Ruth Ware book after that one but then grabbed this one. I think the author has redeemed herself somewhat with this book. While I did find the beginning of the book a bit slow it did eventually pick up and certainly kept me guessing. Hal was a little bit lovable and overall I rushed to finish the book once I got into it.

JCLHebahA May 07, 2021

My first experience with Ruth Ware, and I thoroughly enjoyed this gothic tale of dark family secrets. Kept me guessing and racing through the end to see how it would play out.

JCLSteveC Apr 09, 2021

An excellent who-done-it mystery complete with a mansion, great characters, and an inheritance.

w
weezie1
Apr 01, 2021

Oh my gosh what a slow read this one is. I read half way through and stopped reading. The end might have been worth the reading but I moved on to another book.

m
marthalist
Mar 22, 2021

I really like this book and will try to read more by this author! This is very much full of family and many secrets!

k
KamalaHughes
Jan 18, 2021

I reviewed a few of the other comments and would agree that there is a bit of a repetitive nature to this novel. It is only the second title by Ruth Ware that I have read, and even with some things that got under my skin a bit ('I'm sorry' was a very over used phrase) I would still recommend it. I agree that there were some things that could be predictable, but I confess I was looking harder for the pattern after completing The Turn of the Key. And still found something that I didn't expect, so happy with the read. Will be looking for other books by Ruth Ware in the future.

h
hannahbfox1
Jan 13, 2021

I usually really enjoy Ware's books, and I did enjoy this one but I think only because it was by Ware. I felt like it didn't actually get suspenseful until about page 300 which was unfortunate. Up until then I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. If you like Ruth Ware, I'd still suggest this, but I'd also warn she has better books like The Woman in Cabin 10.

h
herlz
Aug 28, 2020

Slow burn but still worth the read.

j
jesskadoll
Apr 21, 2020

I wish I would have read more of the reviews before reading this. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had a hard time finishing this book. I love Ruth Ware, but this one missed the mark. DRAGGED ON AND ON with a thin plot line. Nothing of value happened until 3/4 through the book. I only finished it because I had wasted so much time on it. Didn't like Hal, predictable story line, and no other likeable characters. Blah, oh well.

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m
mikey69
Jun 14, 2021

Through her will and last testament, Mrs. Westaway screws with her children from beyond the grave.

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m
mikey69
Jun 14, 2021

[Hal's] a bit unrefined, struggling financially having inherited her mother's small fortune-telling business. It's hard to tell if she's a diamond in the rough, or just rough; victim or villain.
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