The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a new psychological mystery by Ruth Ware, author of previous best sellers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin Ten.
The main character of the new novel is Harriet Westaway, nicknamed Hal, a young woman who ekes out a living as a Tarot reader on the Brighton Pier. Hal gets a surprising letter naming her as an heir of a deceased grandmother. But Hal immediately realizes it's a mistake, the dead woman was not her grandmother. Yet Hal is in debt and desperate, so she makes a risky decision to try to claim whatever the inheritance is.
She travels to Cornwall to the Westaway family estate of Trepassen. There she meets the brothers Harding, Able, and Ezra, along with the aged and hostile housekeeper Mrs. Warren. Hal must pass herself off as the daughter of a sister, Maud Westaway, who went missing years earlier. Hal's appearance as an unknown heir is a shock to the suspicious family members.
As Hal continues her deception, she learns more and more about Westaway family secrets long buried. But someone doesn't want those secrets exposed and Hal finds she has stepped into a dangerous trap.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway is not Ruth Ware's best work. The novel is a slow-tempo read, with far too much of Hal's swirling interior thoughts clogging the plot. The frenzied climax stains credulity with its questionable motivations of a key character.