Englischsprachige Literatur

Ware Ruth

The Death of Mrs Westaway

Secker Vintage, London 2018


Ruth Ware´s debut “thriller” was “The Woman in the Window” and like her first novel this one centers around a young woman. Here it is Harriet Westaway, who lives a precarious life as fortune teller on the Brighton Pier. She inherited the stall from her mother, who died in a car accident and left her daughter  in such dire circumstances, that she had to take money from a loan shark to keep her business floating. Now she is threatend because she cannot pay the loan plus enormous interests back.

In this situation she gets a letter from an attorney saying that the late Mrs Westaway has written her into her will. Harriet does not know anything about this family, but with her last money she travels to Cornwall. At the funeral she meets the three sons of the deceased, who are as surprised as Harriet about this contender of the will, the more so, when it turns out, that Harriet is the sole heir to the crumbling estate. Harriet feels like an imposter, plays the role for some time, then flees to Brighton, where she rummages in her mother´s documents until she finds a diary that shows, that her mum really lived on the estate for some time.

Harriet feels that the key to her mother´s secret life and her unknown father lies in Cornwall. So she returns, but tells the others, the whole inheritence affair was all a huge misunderstanding. She comes across a photo showing her mum, the lost daughter of Mrs Westaway and the three boys together.

In the end, truth must out, Harriet confronts her real father, who is anything but willing to aknowledge her.

Ware describes her unlikely heroine as constantly in fear, near to tears and nervous breakdown, which takes a lot of believing considering the final showdown.