I love a good mystery, but hate this new spate of “mysteries” which include narcissistic characters and become hyped best-sellers (yes, I’m talking about Gone Girl and its ilk. See my review here: https://whatwouldjoannaread.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/why-i-hate-gone-girl/ )
When I heard about The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and saw it compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I wasn’t sure I would read it (sidebar: what’s with the titles of these novels including girl or woman?). I consulted my friend, an avid reader of mysteries, who suggested I download the sample and see what I thought. I took that advice and liked the first bit enough to buy the whole book.
The Woman in Cabin 10 is an enjoyable and fun British mystery. The main character, Lo, is suffering from a bit of bad luck – her flat was burgled while she was home and while not terribly hurt, this leads to a serious of bad choices. Lo is due to leave in a few days to cover the maiden voyage of the Aurora a high end, boutique cruise ship through the Norwegian seas. Lo is a journalist working for a travel magazine and this is her chance to enjoy a perk trip.
We quickly learn that Lo is kind of a disaster – drinks too much, is insecure, possibly screwed up her relationship with her boyfriend back in London before leaving, has anxiety and tends to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I kept thinking of Lo as a sort of Bridget Jones type, well-meaning and nice overall, but quite a disaster.
The mystery ensues when Lo borrows mascara from the woman in the cabin adjacent to hers (cabin 10) and later hears a loud noise in the early hours leading her to go out onto her veranda and see a woman being thrown overboard. Lo sounds the alarms, but the ship staff doesn’t believe her — for Cabin 10 was never occupied. As her head gets fuzzier with lack of sleep and too many cocktails, Lo receives messages to back off and stop digging. Interspersed in the chapters, we learn that Lo has not been in contact with her boyfriend or family and they begin to believe that she is missing.
Ware does an excellent job of building suspense and leading you down the path of trying to figure out what is really going on. Is Lo hallucinating in some horrible PTSD response after the burglary? Is Lo’s life in danger from digging? Who was the woman in cabin 10 and who killed her?
The story takes twists and turns and is enjoyable through the end. I recommend The Woman in Cabin 10 to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, especially a good British mystery.