The Death of Mrs. Westaway

12 CDs. 14 hrs. S. & S. Audio. May 2018. ISBN 9781508251705. $39.99. digital download. F
OrangeReviewStarGrieving for her mother and barely subsisting (financially or emotionally) as a tarot card reader in Brighton, 21-year-old Harriet "Hal" Westaway is jolted from her three-year melancholy to a panic state by two urgent messages: a threat from a loan shark and news of a recently deceased grandmother's bequest. Alas, family records confirm long-dead Marion—not vastly wealthy Hester—as her grandmother, but Hal, reasoning that she was invited and her plight is desperate, resolves to join the "other" Westaways at stately Trepassen Hall to ply her formidable people-reading skills, gather data, and forge inheritance paperwork. Masterfully pacing revelations of a much darker family legacy now entangling Hal, Ware (The Lying Game) credits the endearing Hal with natural perceptiveness and grit born of adversity: she is not the first Westaway to counterfeit identity for survival's sake. Adept at imparting both dread—Trepassen's surly shades-of-Rebecca housekeeper, the debt collector's malevolent goon—and charm, Imogen Church lends a rapt, compelling delivery and rich vocal tone complementing the classically atmospheric backdrop, which includes drawing-room confrontations, wheeling magpies, and locked-from-outside attic doors.
VERDICT Superbly crafted, Ware's twisty tale will captivate her followers, fans of Eve Chase's Black Rabbit Hall, and seekers of character-driven mysteries. Enthusiastically recommended. ["Ware's fourth novel is her best yet, with steadily increasing tension, a complicated…mystery, and a sharp, sympathetic heroine who's up to the challenge of solving it": LJ Xpress Reviews 4/20/18 starred review of the Scout: Gallery hc.]
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