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.
Laura Blacklock (Lo) is a travel journalist that is given an opportunity to cover the maiden voyage of THE WORST BOAT EVER Aurora something (this is painful to even type). The voyage comes on the heels of her London apartment being burgled. Think Girl On The Train (it wishes) only much more boring on a boat. The first night on this lovely boat Lo knocks on the door next to hers (door number 10... shocker I know) and meets a mystery woman who huffily and hastily loans Lo mascara. Flash forward to that night, drunken Lo hears a scream and (wait for it)... a splash. Gasp (if only it were that interesting). Seeing a blood smear, Lo begins to ask around to try to find out what happened next door and where the woman is, but no one matches that description (cue mysterious music). So who is crazy Lo? or everyone else? or me for reading this book?
Lo is a basket case yes, but there was a woman next door. She is "Carrie" I use quotes because she was possibly lying about her name. Carrie is having an affair (those always pan out well) with Lord Richard Bullmer (yeah that's right). Turns out Richard has a sick wife (nice huh?) named Anne well Carrie and Richard have a plan to toss Anne overboard so Richard gets all the money (that's the splash - the scream was Carrie because the suitcase holding the body of Anne flopped open). So the book continues on for many many many chapters making you think Lo is crazy (which she kinda is). Lo meets with the head of security they go through all staff on the boat and figure out that no one matches mascara loaner's description and that no one is occupying cabin 10. Lo won't let this go so she continues to investigate and blabs to everyone that will listen to her including Lord Bullmer that something is going on and that someone has been murdered. Well after pages of nothing eventually the poop hits the fan and Richard arranges for Carrie to knock on Lo's cabin door. This is the first time Lo has seen Carrie (aka mascara girl) since the scream and can't believe she is alive! Lo follows Carrie and ends up getting bashed over the head and thrown into a dark locked room for days. (Side note the pages of description of Lo by herself in the dark made me feel locked up for days.)
Carrie brings food to Lo and eventually a book and Lo decides to make conversation with Carrie. The two kind of become friendly and Carrie admits that she was a waitress when she met Richard and they fell in love and she was just kind of along for the ride because she loves Richard. This leads up to Carrie at the last second, after the boat has docked and everyone has departed, helping Lo to escape. Carrie hits herself in the head to make it look like Lo escaped, while giving her passports, money, instructions, etc. Well Lo is useless, pretty much messes up everything along the way, goes to Carries room to get changed, finds a gun but leaves it there (duh) and finally gets off the boat (her family and on again/off again boyfriend Judah thought she was dead) runs away, is nearly captured at a hotel (the staff notify Richard she is there) and ends up sleeping in a barn for a few days. She ends up telling her story and we find out that Richard was found at sea with a bullet hole through his head. A woman is also found at sea appearing to have drowned (hey could it be Carrie?) and then a mysterious woman wires 40,000 Swiss Francs to Lo's account (sure that happens) and uses a reference that lets us know it was Carrie who did it.
If you can't figure out my feelings by now well I am shocked because I have laid them on thick haha. Wow what a stinker! I really wanted to like this book. It started out good with the burglary and then the events on the boat but my goodness how badly it turned and dragged. So the burglary was never explained (they referenced another guest getting burgled to steal a passport so the guest couldn't be in cabin 10 - are we meant to think thats what was happening?) and it just dragged and got dumber as it went.
So we are supposed to believe that this all has to do with a money scam with a husband, sick wife and mistress? The mistress is a cocktail waitress who shaved her head to pretend to be a sick woman (and didn't see why it was weird) and yet she was able to overpower her boyfriend who she loved enough to commit murder with, shoot him, throw him out to sea, stage her own death and run off with all the money? I can buy some far fetched stuff but come on! I am bitter because it could have been such a good story but it was wasted. I would rather Lo have been crazy.