THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware
CBTB Rating: 5/5
The Verdict: must-read
Ruth Ware’s sophomore psychological thriller is the most compulsively-readable book I’ve picked up in ages. I was hooked from the very first page, and simply couldn’t get enough of this story. As much as I loved IN A DARK, DARK WOOD (Ware’s first book), THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 is infinitely better. Ware has once again written a modern novel with a plot worthy of a classic Agatha Christie story—in this case, a “locked-room mystery” takes to the high seas, with a murder on a luxury cruise liner. Engaging, spooky, and claustrophobic, this book will have you turning pages as quickly as you can.
THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 follows travel journalist Lo, who accepts an assignment to cover the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise liner through the fjords of Norway. Eager to escape her apartment which was recently burgled, Lo sets off on this adventure, convinced it will be just the vacation she needs to help calm her rattled, post-burglary nerves. Unfortunately for Lo, and luckily for the readers, the trip proves quite the opposite. On her first night onboard the ship, Lo witnesses a shocking sight from her cabin balcony: a woman being pushed overboard from the cabin next to hers. To make matters worse, when she raises the alarm, none of the ship’s passengers are unaccounted for…
This story is a gripping blend of classic mystery structure, unreliable narrator, and claustrophobic suspense. Following Lo on this investigation is a journey that you won’t want to end. The structure of the mystery itself is a surefire hit: a crime is committed on a ship at sea, and suddenly everyone is a suspect. To make things even more entertaining, Lo is completely alone in her conviction that this crime even happened: the ship’s security has no record of the mysterious woman Lo believes she saw in the cabin next to hers, and none of the passengers are missing… can Lo trust her own eyes, and can the reader trust Lo as the narrator? It’s a perfect blend of locked-room suspense and unreliable narrator twists and turns—Ware hits a bulls-eye with this plot.
In my review of Ware’s IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, I compared the plot to a classic Agatha Christie novel. Ware’s tradition of modernizing classic mystery structures is ever-present in THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10, and I absolutely love it. This story has so many elements that I also love about Christie’s brilliant mysteries. There’s nothing quite like following a narrator who’s trapped with a motley crew of individuals, and realizes the culprit must be among this group. It’s pure sleuthing fun to follow Lo as she alternately casts suspicion on her fellow travelers, and ultimately finds herself embroiled in a conspiracy bigger than she ever imagined.
I can’t recommend THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 highly enough. This is the perfect summer crime read: it has a great atmosphere (can I go on a luxury cruise through Norway’s fjords, please?), a fast-paced plot, and an utterly addictive central mystery. I can’t find fault with this book – it’s pure reading fun, and gives the reader a perfect balance of creep factor, suspense, claustrophobia, and intrigue. Pick this one up if you’re a first-time crime fiction reader, a seasoned fan of the genre, or anyone in between.
THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 releases July 19, 2016 from Gallery Books.