Today’s Mystery Monday offering is by Ruth Ware, The Woman in Cabin 10, a story of extreme identity theft, full of tension, deception, and betrayal. This is the first book I’ve read by Ware but it won’t be the last. The bulk of the story takes place at sea where, of course, it is easy to dispose of a body. But the beginning in London, where we meet a terrorized travel writer, Lo Blacklock, is what truly grabs readers and pulls them into a unique plot. Awakened in the middle of the night to find a burglar in her tiny basement apartment going through her handbag, she walks towards the door, only to have it smashed into her face, whereupon the burglar locks her in, removing the spindle of the knob from the other side. For the next 300-odd pages, we are trying to figure out the how and why of this invasion — and what, if anything, it has to do with Lo’s upcoming cruise.
Blackwood has lucked into an amazing job opportunity — covering the maiden voyage of a sumptuous luxury yacht, Aurora, as it heads through the romantic Norwegian fiords with its rich and famous, press and publicity people. Owned by super-wealthy Richard and Anne Bullmer, this trip is an exclusive sailing and Lo is hoping it will be a good break from a complicated relationship — a chance to think things through and determine what she really wants — a real vacation. There are ten cabins on board, one of them supposedly unoccupied, and yet, Lo meets and talks with the woman next door in cabin 10. Hearing a scream in the middle of the night, Lo gets up to investigate, finds bloodstains, the woman is missing, and no-one will believe that anyone was ever there.
Despite warnings to stop digging, an attempted seduction by a former boyfriend, and the fact that none of her emails are getting through to boyfriend and family, Lo keeps digging until finally she begins to piece together the truth and finds herself imprisoned in the hold, terrified with the knowledge that she is not only expendable but that it is imperative that her life be forfeit.
A harrowing escape, an exciting land chase through the countryside around Bergen, identity substitution, and reports of Blacklock’s death with a resulting number of discussion groups online about what might really have happened to her and who might be responsible all converge to make an extremely convincing and compelling thriller you won’t want to miss. * * * * *
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mention my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post or your sidebar. (Links to books are an Amazon affiliate link!)