The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: A review
The Woman in Cabin 10 introduces us to Lo Blacklock and I hate her already just on the basis of that name. Lo has a somewhat faltering relationship with a boyfriend and one night while he is away from their apartment, the place is burgled and she is attacked. This, for obvious reasons, leaves her in a somewhat fragile state.
Lo is a journalist who works for a travel magazine and her new assignment is to spend time on a cruise ship, the Aurora, traveling in the North Sea. The weather is pleasant. The ship's cabins are plush and luxurious. There are only a few guests and they are all elegant and jovial. So not exactly a sentence to hard labor.
But then the changeable North Sea weather turns frigid and gray, stormy skies close in, and in the midst of this, Lo witnesses a horror scene; she sees a woman being thrown overboard.
Or did she? Lo Blacklock is the very definition of an unreliable narrator. I can understand why the other passengers and the ship's crew would have a hard time believing her.
So what is really going on here? Is Lo being gaslighted? Is she truly delusional and just imagining it all? She's been taking antidepressants and drinking quite a lot so it definitely seems likely that her sense of reality is somewhat impaired. Moreover, there is no documented passenger missing from the boat. Was there ever actually a woman in cabin 10?
The plot and tone of this book brought pleasurable memories of my days as a teenager reading Agatha Christie mysteries. (Yes, I can actually remember that far back!) Those were the days and the books that made me a confirmed reader and especially a confirmed reader of mysteries. I think Ruth Ware must have enjoyed those books as well.
This is the classic locked-door mystery. It's a ship in the middle of the North Sea so we know the killer is on board. And what, if anything, does any of this have to do with the original mystery of the break-in at Lo's apartment?
I would have enjoyed the book more if I could have found the main character a bit more likable. As it was, I just found Lo irritating, especially the constant emphasis on her emotional state and her overindulgence in alcohol. But overall, it was a pleasant way to spend some downtime while I recovered from illness.