How do you stop a killer,
when no one believes they exist?
I set myself a challenge to read books that had been sitting under my bed gathering dust, for no other reason than lack of time. The Woman in Cabin 10 was one of those books!!
Published on 19th July this year by Harvill Secker, a division of Penguin Random House, Ruth Ware’s latest novel is the follow up to her previous bestseller In a Dark Dark Wood.
Read on to see my thoughts and please let me know what you think.
‘This was meant to be the perfect trip.
The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship. A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in.
Except thing don’t go as planned.
Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no one ever checked in to that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.
Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on board a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness’
The Woman in Cabin 10, is a novel based on the high seas.
It immediately brought to mind my childhood days of playing Cluedo. With it’s wonderful cast of characters, each described in a unique fashion, I was immediately pigeon holing the cast.
Was Tina West, editor of the Vernean Times, ‘whippet thin and with jewellery weighing more than she did’, Miss Scarlet?
Who was Professor Plum? Was it Alexander Belhomme, ‘who wrote features and foodie articles for a number of cross-Channel and inflight magazines and was as sleek and rotund as a walrus’
Where was the weapon?
Who would be the victim?
Very Agatha Christie indeed!!
From the opening pages the descriptions are vivid as Lo awakens from a particularly harrowing dream
‘In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls, in the cold, sun-less depths of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water, her pale skin was wrinkled, her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.’
Lo Blacklock is a journalist for travel magazine, Velocity. A once in a lifetime opportunity comes knocking on her door when her boss requests her presence on board a luxurious yacht, the Aurora for a press launch. Her boss, Rowan, is unable to attend herself.
Before the trip, Lo’s apartment is broken into, sending Lo into a state of complete panic. With her nerves completely shattered, Lo decides that a trip on the North Seas would be just the anecdote to her troubles and she sets sail, with the other journalists and influential people, on a voyage others can only dream of.
Owned by Lord Richard Bullmer, his dream is for his passengers to be taken on a trip of a lifetime
‘I very much hope to share the spectacular majesty of the Northern Lights with you on this trip. The aurora is something that everyone should see before they die.’
Lo is blown away by the what she sees on the boat. The sheer opulence, where nothing has been spared, is quite breathtaking if not a little too much.
‘The interior of the Aurora was gobsmacking. The boat might have been small, but they had crammed in enough bling for a vessel ten times the size.’
Still in shock from her own break-in, Lo drinks a little too much on her first evening and wakes up in the early hours in her cabin to a frightening noise and an equally frightening sight.
So begins, for Lo, a nightmare that she cannot escape. Her dependence on medication for anxiety, her fear of enclosed spaces and her witnessing of a ‘murder’, entwine to create a gripping read.
As a reader, Ruth Ware, creates an atmospheric read in all her descriptions. You can almost feel the tightness in your chest, the coldness in the Arctic air and see the darkness in the depths of the North sea.
Lo Blacklock is a great character for a novel like this. She suffers enough with her own stresses and anxieties, thus creating doubt in the reader’s mind about what’s real and what’s in Lo’s imagination.
The Woman in Cabin 10 is a great page turner.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way the chapters were laid out and the descriptions of all the characters. I have never traveled on a cruise but after reading this and ‘Distress Signals’ by Catherine Ryan Howard, I think I’ll be sticking to other modes of transport from here on in!!
For anyone who likes a ‘whodunnit’, this is a book for you. I must admit I didn’t see the ending playing out as it did but maybe you will!!
The only way to find out is to pick up a copy and see for yourself. If you do please come back and let me know what you thought.
Who is Ruth Ware?
Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in Sussex and studied at Manchester University, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer.
Her début thriller In a Dark, Dark Wood and the follow-up The Woman in Cabin 10 were both Sunday Times top ten bestsellers in the UK, and New York Times top ten bestsellers in the US. She is currently working hard on book three.