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Mystery Review: The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware (2019)


Ruth Ware's The Turn of the Key is creepy, atmospheric, and made me want to throw all my smart devices into Lake Michigan, just in case they were spying on me. (Sidebar: I've never trusted you, Alexa.)


Set in a gorgeous - if creepy - smart house nestled deep in the Scottish Highlands, The Turn of the Key follows Rowan Caine, a nanny from London who's recently taken on what should be a dream job for a fantastic salary. She gets to live in the beautiful, fabulously modern Heatherbrae House, and all it requires is caring for the Elincourt family's three children. There's even an attractive handyman who lives on the estate.


Rowan gets the job, but soon finds out that the job isn't all that she bargained for. Heatherbrae House is rumored to be haunted, and Rowan soon starts to hear strange noises, with the smart house features seeming to be out to get her. Two of the three children are difficult to handle. On the rare occasion that the children behave, they take her on visit to a secret walled garden that turns out to have some noxious inhabitants. And Mr. Elincourt seems, perhaps, a bit too friendly ..


But Rowan seems to be managing, until, unfortunately, one of the children winds up dead ...


Told through letters that Rowan writes to a barrister from prison in Scotland, Rowan begins to reveal more and more about really brought her to the Elincourts. She lied to get the position. She wasn't always the best of nannies. And she did have a nasty secret to hide. Still, she swears, she didn't kill that child.


The final twist ending is shocking, and Ware skirts just around the edges of fair play in giving the reader enough hints to track what's really been going on. This one is worth rereading to see how she set up the final conclusion.


Overall: 4.5 Sherlocks. Ware has written another excellent book. This book also manages to avoid some of the pacing issues of her earlier works, which dragged just the slightest bit at the three-quarter mark. This book would be an enjoyable late summer beach read - or perhaps save it for the haunted house time of late October.


I received an advance review copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.