The Turn of the Key, By Ruth Ware


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Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else entirely. But it seems too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post with a staggeringly generous salary. When Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home with all modern conveniences, the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting a murder trial.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unraveling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. What’s worse is that the girls were far from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. Moreover, it wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Why you should read this book?

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a gripping modern-day Gothic thriller that masterfully blends suspense, mystery, and psychological tension. Here are a few reasons why you should read it:

  • Intricate Plot and Unreliable Narrator: The story is narrated from the POV of Rowan Caine, who finds herself in prison for the murder. The novel unfolds through her letters to a lawyer, creating an atmosphere of suspense and doubt. The unreliable narration keeps readers guessing and deeply engaged.
  • Atmospheric Setting: The novel is in a high-tech bright house in the remote Scottish Highlands. The eerie and isolated setting enhances the Gothic feel of the story, creating a perfect backdrop for the unfolding mystery. The house, with its hidden secrets and modern surveillance technology, becomes a character, adding layers of tension
  • Twists and Turns: The novel is filled with unexpected twists and turns that keeps the reader hooked. Ware’s ability to craft suspenseful moments and shocking revelations ensures that the story remains unpredictable and thrilling until the end.
  • Themes and Modern Relevance: Beyond the suspense, the novel touches on themes of privacy, technology, and the impact of modern living on personal relationships. These elements make the story not only entertaining but also thought-provoking.

Reading The Turn of the Key offers a captivating experience that combines the classic elements of a haunted house story with contemporary twists. Ruth Ware’s expert storytelling and knack for creating psychological tension make this book a must-read for fans of thrillers and mysteries.

Who is Ruth Ware?

Ruth Ware is a British author known for her contemporary psychological thrillers and crime novels. She was born in 1977 in Lewes, Sussex, England. Before embarking on her writing career, Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, and a public relations consultant. She studied at Manchester University, where she read English.

Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood (2015), quickly became a bestseller and established her reputation in the thriller genre. This success was followed by several other critically acclaimed novels, including  The Woman in Cabin 10 (2016), The Lying Game (2017), The Death of Mrs. Westaway (2018), and The Turn of the Key (2019). Her books contain suspenseful plots, intricate narratives, and strong female protagonists.

Her works often draw comparisons to Agatha Christie, combining elements of traditional whodunits with modern psychological suspense. Ware’s novels have been translated into over 40 languages, and several are developing for television and film adaptations.

Ware currently lives in Sussex, England, with her family.

Other details

Published on August 6, 2019 by Scout Press
Language: English, post which TIME Magazine selected as one of the hundred best mystery and thriller novels ever written in 2023.
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Fiction


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