As I stated in my original post, my favorite genre is the murder mystery. I loved Agatha Christie books as a teenager. So, the last time I was in a Barnes and Noble perusing the inside jacket covers, I naturally kept Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 in the buy pile. The claim of being in Christie’s style was not hyperbole. This book is gripping.
The Woman in Cabin 10 sets the suspense beautifully. However, this is not a book where the murder occurs page two. In fact, I think the splash comes about chapter 10. The delay allows for character development. Ware sets the stage well.
Lo Blackwood is a journalist who has not made it very far up the ladder. She is unsure about where her life is taking her. Blackwood has a long term boyfriend who wants to take things a step further and she is dragging her feet. Additionally, she has a few problems. She takes a prescription for anxiety and has started to drink a bit too much.
Ruth Ware opens The Woman in Cabin 10 on dry land. Her protagonist, Blackwood is drunk, at home alone, during a break-in. Even though this is an indirect tie-in to the main plot, it is important for giving the reader a glimpse of Blackwood’s background. Therefore, the scenario creates questions of the character’s stability.
The plot thickens when Blackwood boards a small cruise liner for an assignment. She only has the opportunity due to a pregnancy complication of her boss. Blackwood does not want to blow her chance to advance career wise. Ware uses this added stress factor to plant questions about the mental health of Blackwood.
Mental stability is truly the key to the story. Blackwood thinks she hears someone going overboard. However, no one is missing. She not only fails at convincing anyone on board of a problem, she starts doubting herself.
I don’t want to spoil the ending. Ruth Ware does a wonderful job. The complexity of the plot is aided by small sections showing individuals on land losing contact with the main character shortly after the ship sails. The Woman in Cabin 10 is suspenseful, makes a great read, and could be a great movie. If you have someone in the family who likes mysteries, this story fits the bill.