Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!

I’ve been reaching for comfort reading lately, and for me that generally means mysteries. (What can I say, I like dark and twisty things!) I’ve been catching up on Ruth Ware, which reminded me that I have yet to tell you all about my favorite book of hers. She has an extensive backlist, so it can be hard to know where to start but if you’re looking for a classic mystery with a compelling premise, start here!

cover image: a black and white image of an iron gate and birds on a very foggy day

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Hal grew up a boardwalk “psychic” alongside her mom, hustling tourists by reading their cards. But things have been hard for Hal lately — her mom died recently, and she’s in over her head financially with some very bad people. So when the letter arrives, proclaiming that Hal is a beneficiary of Mrs. Westaway’s will, it seems like it’s too good to be true. And it is, because Hal’s mom wasn’t related to Mrs. Westaway, despite what the letter says. But Hal is desperate, and if she can just play the game and get a little windfall, maybe she get ahead. Only, once she arrives at Mrs. Westaway’s estate, ready to give the performance of her lifetime, she’s stunned to realize that maybe her mom had a few secrets of her own…and Hal is not safe until they’re all uncovered.

Ruth Ware has often been proclaimed the Agatha Christie of our time, and while it’s true she’s a really great writer of mystery, thriller, and suspense novels, I would argue that she has her own flair. However, of all of Ware’s books this one feels the most like an homage to Christie, and it has a deliciously creepy and stately setting in the old Westaway family estate, complete with an assortment of dissatisfied to conniving relatives who are all shocked to learn of Hal’s existence. I love the tension that arises between Hal keeping her own secret about her identity and her con, and slowly realizing that the Westaway family is not at all what she thinks. There are some really good classic mystery elements here, and a touch of unknown. While you might not be surprised by every twist and turn, there are some very satisfying reveals and a few surprises that you might not see coming. It’s one of those books that will have you thinking, I truly don’t know what the outcome of this book might be, and that’s really satisfying in a mystery, I think! Mrs. Westaway, although dead before the book begins, had a strong presence throughout the story which lends to the air of intrigue. Of all Ware’s books, this is my favorite and you can’t go wrong picking it up!

Happy reading,

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