The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware; 2016
The Woman in Cabin 10 is about Lo Blacklock, a travel journalist, who is invited on a maiden voyage for the Aurora, a mini, luxury cruise ship owned by British businessman Lord Richard Bullmer. Lo hasn’t slept in quite a few days before the trip because she was burgled in the middle of the night and attacked. So, she’s overly tired, has been self-medicating the trauma with too much alcohol, and is trying to prove to her boss that she can handle more responsibility by covering this trip. However, on the very first night of the cruise, Lo hears a scream in the middle of the night and the woman who she saw in the cabin next door to her is missing – and there was never any proof that she had been there to begin with, nor is anyone missing from the ship. Dun duh duhhhh.
I was really excited when I heard about this book because A and I find cruise ship disappearances/crimes v. v. fascinating. However, my main disappointment with The Woman in Cabin 10 was that it had a lot of wasted opportunities for creepiness! Ware did a really great job of creating a claustrophobic atmosphere, but I was hoping for a little more sinister. This book has a lot of Agatha Christie vibes, particularly And Then There Were None, so I guess a part of me was waiting for each of the guests to start dropping one by one – but in hindsight that would be way too similar. It also had some Girl on the Train vibes – like is Lo losing her mind or isn’t she? Is she just drinking too much alcohol?
There were technically about 8 concrete suspects, along with the amorphous staff, but only a couple of characters/suspects really got an attention from the narrative. In other words, I wasn’t completely surprised with the reveal, which is not to say that it was a disappointing ending.
I thought it was better constructed and executed compared to In a Dark, Dark Wood, but it didn’t have the same thrill levels. It had a similar structure to a classic mystery, which I actually really enjoyed.