Reject the evidence of your eyes and ears? A review of “The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware

Should you believe what you see and hear or should you question everything? Is anything what it seems or is it all trickery? Rowan Caine has taken a post in a remote mansion in the Scottish Highlands as live-in nanny to two little girls. The house is an odd mix of ultra high-tech modern gadgetry and old world luxurious charm but the advanced technology is unsettling. How creepy is it to know your employer can, and is, remotely listening in and watching your every move? Rowan doesn’t yet realize that she’s just stepped into her worst nightmare and when she wakes up, one of her charges will be dead and she’ll be in prison for the little girl’s murder.

In “The Turn of the Key” Ruth Ware has penned another suspenseful tale of lies and deception, outright fraud, duplicity and generally unscrupulous behavior. Nothing and no one can be taken at face value. Question everything. And before long, you won’t even believe what you’re hearing or seeing. In her inimitable style, Ware takes you through Rowan’s tragic tale as she relates it to her lawyer from her prison cell, as she tries to persuade him to take her case on appeal.

Ruth Ware’s writing is noted for its originality, character depth and complexity, and plot twists and development that will keep you guessing right up to the end. “The Turn of the Key” will not disappoint on either score. What struck me most about this tale is the sense of malevolence imbued throughout. It almost seeps from the structure itself.

This is my fourth RW novel and I’m most impressed by the quality of her writing and the originality of her plots. There is nary a hint of anything formulaic in any aspect of her work. The only common thread is the sterling quality of her writing and the complexity of her plots. The pacing fell off near the end of this one but the surprise ending fully atones for that small sin. I surely didn’t see it coming. Four and a half stars.

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