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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Mystery

The Woman in Cabin 10

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Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to The Woman in Cabin 10!

by Ruth Ware

Excellent choice

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Quick take

It’s all fun and games until someone goes overboard in this gripping mystery set on a luxury yacht.

Synopsis

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: The cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Woman in Cabin 10.
The Woman in Cabin 10

In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depths of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.

Only her long black hair remained, floating through the water like fronds of dark seaweed, tangling in shells and fishing nets, washing up on the shore in hanks like frayed rope, where it lay, limp, the roar of the crashing waves against the shingle filling my ears.

I woke, heavy with dread. It took me a while to remember where I was, and still longer to realize that the roar in my ears was not part of the dream but real.

The room was dark, with the same damp mist I’d felt in my dream, and as I pulled myself to sitting I felt a cool breeze on my cheek. It sounded like the noise was coming from the bathroom.

I climbed off the bed, shivering slightly. The door was shut, but as I walked across to it, I could hear the roar building, the pitch of my heart rising alongside. Taking my courage in both hands, I flung open the door. The noise of the shower filled the small room as I groped for the switch. Light flooded the bathroom—and that’s when I saw it.

Written across the steamy mirror, in letters maybe six inches high, were the words STOP DIGGING.

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Why I love it

A glamorous vacation on a luxury yacht? Lavish dinner parties and fascinating conversation? And how about that nice lady in Cabin 10?

DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNNNN.

But one of the passengers has gone missing!

Haven't they?

As a huge Agatha Christie fan, I adore these types of mysteries: A boat full of people, each with their own secrets. No way for anyone guilty (or innocent) to escape in middle of the ocean. A crime that can't be verified. And a narrator that you might be able to trust.

In fact, reading this book reminded me a bit of Death on the Nile for the modern age. But in The Woman in Cabin 10, the boat is a state-of-the art cruise ship on its maiden voyage in the North Sea. And, of course, instead of a Belgian detective solving the crime, there's a U.K. travel journalist handling a lot more thrills, chills, and action.

There's also an intriguing psychological aspect to this book. As our protagonist Lo Blacklock discovers that no one believes her account of a crime she thinks she witnessed, she struggles with cycles of disbelief and self-doubt as she decides what to do next. Armed only with her reporter's investigative skills and a very small clue, she is determined to solve the mystery before the boat reaches its destination.

The author, up-and-coming novelist Ruth Ware, teases out each twist and turn just enough, so everything you read could possibly have something to do with whatever it is that's actually happening on the boat. But she isn't going to let you in on the answer until the end. It was so much fun trying to figure out the mystery! The answer was ten times more interesting than any of my running theories. I hope you and your little grey cells enjoy it, too.

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Member ratings (18,144)

  • Ashley W.

    Orono, ME

    Just when you think you’ve got it figured out—you don’t!! I LOVED this book! So much in fact that I that I have now read all of Ruth Ware’s books. She pulls you into her books and holds your interest!

  • Kimberly A.

    Hillsboro, OR

    Good, but find myself disappointed. I haven’t read Agatha Christie, but from her hype, I expected this to be mind blowing given the comparison. Slow to start, skimmable, and didn’t knock off my socks.

  • Kerry G.

    Overland Park, KS

    Its not like the scary type of book that makes you jump, its more like “oh thats the most terrifying s—- I could ever imagine. Extremely well written. Would recommend to my wife & Grandma. That good

  • Elizabeth C.

    Phoenix, AZ

    I started this book & couldn’t put it down. I kept thinking I had things figured out but then I was wrong. Once it all came together I was like “ooooh” & I really enjoyed where it went. Great read!

  • Kam R.

    Kissimmee, FL

    Just finished this beauty + I can say 100% that I couldn’t put her down. Theres so many twists that it leaves you going “whaaaat??” because you thought you had it all figured out. 1000% recommend.

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