What am I reading? The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

I’ve been feeling spooky since Labor Day weekend, partly because everyone’s been talking about fall, and partly because I’ve been so sick. Being sick makes me want to hibernate with spooky books and blankets and tea regardless of what time of year it is.

I read another book by this author when I went to Florida in the spring and absolutely hated it. A bunch of members of my various book clubs encouraged me to give her books another shot, and this is the one I chose.

Synopsis: 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 centre of it.

I actually really enjoyed this book, much to my surprise. I found Hal to be really relateable. I remember being barely out of my teens, underemployed, broke, struggling to meet my basic life expenses and wondering how in the hell I was going to eat that particular week. This aspect of Hal’s story really speaks to me. Granted, she’s basically self-employed and I worked at Target, but I can still identify with her. I can imagine how I’d feel if I got a letter that said I was getting some kind of inheritance. And I’d likely go find out what the deal is, exactly the way she did.

I can’t say much else about the book without giving away spoilers, but it’s good. I didn’t guess the entire plot after 50 pages, unlike her last book. I don’t read many mysteries or thrillers because they can be formulaic and easy to figure out, but this one got me. More than once I found myself exclaiming “holy shit!” out loud to an empty room. So, well done Ms. Ware. This is the book that should be all over airport newsstands, not the one I bought.

So if you’re into suspense, thrillers, whatever, you’ll likely be into this. I’ll be optimistically reading more from this author.

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