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The Woman in Cabin 10


The Woman in Cabin 10

Ruth Ware possesses that rare gift of grabbing you on page one and not letting loose until you close the cover in the wee hours of the morning. The chilling opening episode led me to call my daughter, an aspiring young writer herself, to ask, “Do you have about three minutes to spare? I want to read to you the best first chapter I have come across in years.”

Lo Blacklock is a journalist who pounds out mundane copy for a British travel periodical. She drinks a bit too much and gets through her day on anti-depressants and takeout brought home to her London flat where she lives alone. Lo is awakened by a noise outside her bedroom door in the middle of the night by a prowler who ransacks the place. Shaken by the intrusion, she leaps at a last-minute assignment, originally accepted by her recently ailing editor. The maiden voyage of the Aurora Borealis, a small, elite and luxurious passenger yacht, leaves in two days for a cruise through the Norwegian fjords. This is just what she needs to soothe her shattered nerves.

"...a skillfully crafted locked room mystery... Leave your lights on and check your door locks as you cruise through the pages of this tasty little thriller."

Lo makes her way through the splendor and bling of the atrium to Cabin 9, one of the two remaining plush suites. As she is dressing for the captain’s formal dinner the first night at sea, she realizes she has forgotten her mascara. She knocks on the door of Cabin 10 to see if the occupant might have one she can borrow. The woman who answers seems rattled but digs one out of her travel kit, then rudely shuts the door. Lo looks for her at dinner to thank her, but she’s not there.

Later that night, Lo is awakened by a scream and a splash, seemingly just outside her balcony. She rushes out and spots something drifting in the wake of the ship, then notices a blood smear on the divider between her balcony and Cabin 10. She calls security, and the gentleman who arrives to investigate tries to assure her that the cabin is empty. The single man who booked Cabin 10 cancelled at the last minute. He accompanies her through the cabin, and there is no occupant nor is there any evidence that there ever has been. Furthermore, there is no blood stain on the divider. The senior crew members, even the ship’s doctor, try to convince Lo that it must have been a bad dream. A thorough search of the ship, accompanied by the ship’s officers, seems to prove that all passengers and crew members are accounted for. The woman Lo saw in Cabin 10 is nowhere aboard.

What follows is a skillfully crafted locked room mystery --- in this case, a ship at sea in the North Atlantic. There is no victim, no evidence, no method of escape: ergo no crime. Yet something horrifying has occurred, and Lo is determined to find out what happened to the woman in Cabin 10. What she slowly discovers could lead to her own demise in a repeat of what she knows she saw.

Leave your lights on and check your door locks as you cruise through the pages of this tasty little thriller. Ruth Ware has a bright future. She started off with a bang with last year’s instant bestseller, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, which drew rave reviews. Both are stand-alone titles with no apparent continuing characters, so you’re in for a fresh nail-biter with each new release.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on July 22, 2016

The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

  • Publication Date: April 11, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
  • ISBN-10: 1501132954
  • ISBN-13: 9781501132957