Harriet (Hal) is a young girl that has reached the end of her tether. Her mother was killed in an auto accident. There is very little money to support herself except for one thing. Hal’s mother had a small business on a pier dedicated to fun and games for the public. She told fortunes, in particular reading of Tarot cards, for people believing in those things.
When her mother was killed Hal had no recourse other than to take over the business and dedicate herself to the Tarot cards. She owes money all over the place and has even gotten herself into the clutches of a loan shark who has threatened her with violence if she doesn’t pay a now very inflated sum of money.
A mysterious letter inexplicably is sent to her with the notice that she has received a substantial inheritance. Looking at the data on the letter Hal feels that she has no choice but to use her people skills acquired via the Tarot readings to try and collect the inheritance which she knows is not hers. She soon finds herself at the funeral of the woman who has apparently made the bequest to her and immediately feels that there is something very wrong with everything – the inheritance, the other people present who think that she is part of their family. But her decision is made – Continue!
Ware provides the reader with a mesmorizing feeling of continued suspense throughout the novel; a feeling that keeps one glued to the pages. The characters are done very well, and Hal herself becomes a person that one roots for and entertains the hope that in spite of committing what would be a major crime she will come out ahead and utilize what is happening to her as a method of bringing herself out of the situation she is in moving forward in her life. Certainly Ruth Ware is a force in the world of literature with her books being sought out by an expanding group of followers.
5/18 Paul Lane
THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY by Ruth Ware. Gallery/Scout Press (May 29, 2018). ISBN 978-1501156212. 384p.