This is Ware’s fifth published book. All are centered around different themes; all quite engrossing and generally impossible to put down without finishing them. “The Turn of the Key” is no different in the sense of being a well written, well thought out book that quickly captures and holds the reader’s interest. It is a ghost story complete with strange sounds, eerie settings and things that go bump in the night.
Rowan Caine works at a large child care center in England and has just been passed over for a promotion that she feels she deserves. While glancing at help wanted ads, she comes across one that lists an opening in a remote area of Scotland. The job is to become nanny to four children. It lists a very high salary, residence at the home with food and board paid. She applies for the job and is asked to travel, expenses paid, to the home.
She is pleasantly surprised when she is offered the job, accepting it and relocating to the house. This is the first surprise for her. The house, owned by two architects who run their own business from home, has been rebuilt with every modern and computerized piece of equipment that can be imagined. Everything is automatic and managed via cell phone making Rowan ecstatic by her good luck.
Bill and Sandra, the architects, indicate that a necessary business trip has come up and they are forced to leave Rowan alone with the children at once. Rowan takes it in stride, but soon regrets the quick departure of her employers. On her first night alone with the children she hears strange sounds which appears like someone or something walking on the roof of the house. Next night a sudden and loud blast of music coming over the loudspeakers wakes everyone up and supplies the great fright when the cause of the music being turned on can not be found. Rowan than finds out that the previous owners of the home many years ago had a child of theirs, a young girl, die from eating something poisoned.
All the factors do make the case for a haunting and Rowan, with the aid of the resident handyman living on the property, attempts to get through her own trepidation and protect the children in her care from whatever is out there. There is a well done ending after which the reader can gasp for breath, realizing that Ware has done it again and looking forward to book six from this versatile author.
8/19 Paul Lane
THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware. Gallery/Scout Press (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1501188770. 352p.