Publication: 28th June 2018 by Harvill Secker
When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.
There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.
Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…
Ruth Ware is back!!! I still remember how completely engrossed I was in In A Dark Dark Wood, surprised that it was a debut novel, and now, three years later, I get excited when she has a new novel coming out. With a very likable main character and a gripping and suspenseful plot, THE DEATH OF MRS WESTAWAY has quickly become my favourite Ruth Ware’s novel.
Harriet “Hal” Westaway is 21 years old and she makes her living reading tarot cards at a pier in Brighton. Her mother died in a hit-and-run three years earlier and she has never met her father. She is also broke and she owns a lot of money to a loan shark. So when she receives a letter from a lawyer to inform her that she is one of the heirs of the estate of a Mrs Westaway, Hal thinks this is her chance to solve her problems and travels to Corwall to claim her inheritance. But she didn’t expect three sons estranged from their mother for years, a house full of secrets, and a past that it is slowly revealed.
I really liked the character of Hal. Even though she pretends to be someone else to inherit Mrs Westaway’s estate, she is a good genuine person. The only family she ever had was her mother and she’s been completely alone since her death. By pretending to be Mrs. Westaway’s lost granddaughter she hopes to get not only a bit of money that will get the loan shark off her back, but also a new family.
The family secrets, the gothic oppressive mansion in decline, and, also, an old servant who can’t cook and seems to know more than she should create a gothic atmosphere worthy of an Agatha Christie’s novel. The house in itself is a character of the novel with its secrets and its strange vibe that I almost expected a ghost to make an appearance.
If you are looking for an entertaining and intelligent novel, this is the one for you. THE DEATH OF MRS WESTAWAY is one of my favorite novels of 2018, an unsettling, gripping, and propulsive read that shows that, once again, Ruth Ware is really good at what she does.