In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware, turned out to be an excellent choice for quarantine reading. It begins with an invitation to a hen night that the protagonist should never have accepted. Nora should have just stayed home. Sure, she lives alone and is a bit lonely, but loneliness is a small price to pay to avoid awkward small talk and, oh yeah, a murder.

Nora hasn’t seen her old friend Clare for ten years, not since they fell out of touch during college. It’s strange, then, that Clare’s BFF (she actually says this), Flo, emails Nora out of the blue to invite her to Clare’s hen night. (American readers, a hen night is the equivalent of a bachelorette party.) Nora only accepts because a mutual friend makes a pact; Nina will go if Nora does. Curiosity does the rest. Nora packs up a bag and heads up from London to the north country, to a remote luxury house made of glass. So far everything is normal, if uncomfortable. Flo raises a few more red flags over the course of the first evening as she insists that everything be perfect, but its bearable…at least until the second night.

I won’t say anything more because it would ruin the mystery. All I’ll say is that I was completely hooked on this story from the first page. I listened to In a Dark, Dark Wood and Imogen Church was a wonderful narrator. She has a deft hand at the various regional British accents; she never overacts and achieves a wonderful breathlessness as Ruth is chased here and there. I also loved the twists and turns Ware cooked up for Nora. Best of all, the crime that happens in this novel is deliciously foreshadowed. Chekhov’s gun makes a starring appearance in this book. I love it when I can look back at a plot and realize that a) everything makes perfect sense and b) my hypothesis was correct.

If you’re a mystery fan who hasn’t read In a Dark, Dark Wood, I highly recommend it—especially if you’re tired of police procedurals.

3 Comments

  1. I’m not someone who normally reads one off thrillers, but Ruth Ware is one of the few authors for whom I make an exception. With one reservation (The Turn of the Key) I think her work is excellent. Do try The Killing of Mrs Westaway.

    Liked by 1 person

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