Ruth Ware’s Best Mystery Novels, Ranked According to Goodreads

Like a good Netflix series that you can’t stop clicking “Next Episode”, a good mystery series or collection can have the same effect. First published in 2015, Ruth Ware is an international number one bestselling author. His seven crime thrillers have garnered wide readership as they explore common themes of deception and mystery. Writing from Brighton, UK, Ware’s novels are told from the perspective of a central female character and set in different landscapes across the UK.



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With imaginative and vivid imagery, Ware’s novels are page-turners as they flash past and present as the reader attempts to unravel the mystery alongside each main character. As you plan another trip to Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you, these novels are worth adding to the reading list and your home library. Here’s how they rank among Goodreads reviewers.

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“The Lie Game” (2017)

With a 3.54 star rating, Ware’s third novel, The liar game. This mystery surrounds a group of four women who reunite after one sends the one message they ever wanted to receive, “I need you.” after a dog walker makes a terrifying discovery. After years apart, Fatima, Thea, Isabel and Kate reunite once again at Kate’s home near the English Channel village of Salten. The four were inseparable during their time at boarding school, playing a “lie game” where each girl told various lies to the people around her, but never to each other. The game escalated in their senior year when the girls were deported after the mysterious death of Kate’s father.

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This flashback thriller earned its score of 147,290 ratings and 12,183 reviews. Readers enjoyed the atmosphere that Ware sets against the plot. The liar game is filled with descriptive prose and imagery of the icy wind, water, and decrepit pier. While this was what earned praise from some reviewers, it was Ware’s downfall for others, as critics described the novel as a slow burn.

“In a Dark Dark Wood” (2015)

Ware’s first novel, In a dark dark wood scored 3.772 out of 5 stars. Nora and Clare haven’t seen each other in over a decade, which didn’t exactly shock Nora when the invitation to Clare’s bachelorette party arrives. As Nora arrives for the bridal weekend at a secluded cottage, she thinks about the opportunity to reconnect with her former friend and put the day she dated behind them. Secrets begin to emerge as the weekend takes a turn and things are not what they seem, with the past catching up with Nora.

With 287,148 ratings and 22,736 reviews, Ware’s debut novel jolts readers from past to present and everything in between, compelling readers to piece together the events of Clare’s hen party. Whether readers loved or hated the novel, it’s a fast-paced 308-page story read with each page.

“One by One” (2020)

A chilling thriller, Ware’s sixth novel barely exceeds In a dark dark wood with 3.73 out of 5 stars. Drawing inspiration from mystery writers before her, Ware explores the thriller saga with this novel. Nine co-workers are drowned in snow at a company retreat designed to promote mindfulness and collaboration. What was supposed to be a cozy stay in a French chalet turns into a weekend of survival, with each questioning the other’s intentions as they desperately seek rescue.

Loyal Ware readers and those new to the author got 132,695 ratings and 14,624 reviews. Positioning itself in the “trapped in a room” genre, One by one didn’t appeal to all readers as they struggled with Ware’s modern twist and embraced a classic mystery formula. His loyal readers supported the novel, applauding the nod to Agatha Christie style. A crowd divided, the novel still ranks among the best in Ware’s catalog.

‘The Woman in Booth 10’ (2016)

Bind One by one, The woman in cabin 10 also earned a 3.73 star rating. The second novel in Ware’s written library, finds travel reporter Lo barely functional after a traumatic break-in. Lo must overcome her relentless anxiety and fear as she boards a luxury cruise for a mission that elevates her career. Expecting to enjoy the lavishness and luxury of cruising, Lo finds herself entangled in a murder mystery no one believes, swearing she witnessed a woman thrown overboard from the cabin next door. of his. As the ship drifts further and further out to sea, Lo’s exhaustion forces her to question what she thought she had seen.

With 491,081 ratings and 35,125 reviews from Goodreads members, The woman in cabin 10 is a pleasantly intense read for all. Whether or not Lo’s growing suspense or sanity hits the mark, overall readers agreed that this novel was a solid follow-up to Ware’s debut novel, if not better.

“The Death of Mrs. Westaway” (2018)

As we creep towards the end of writing this Ware, The death of Mrs. Westaway ranks at the top with 3.82 stars out of 5. Its fourth crime novel features all of its standard themes of deception and life-altering decisions. These triggers fall on Harriet (Hal) after she receives a letter stating that she has received a life-changing amount of inheritance from her late grandmother. The only problem, his grandparents died decades ago. Even after realizing the mistake, Hal chooses to take action and attempts to collect the money to repay the aggressive loan sharks, no matter what it costs him.

The death of Mrs. Westaway earns its stars from 143,521 ratings and 15,622 reviews. Reviewers are split on Hal’s character and his decision to cheat, but overall they enjoyed the twists. For many critics, they were happy to see a return of The liar game. Although many readers did not enjoy the novel, loyal Ware fans were pleased with this installment.

“The Turn of the Key” (2019)

Hovering just below 4 stars, The turn of the key earned a 3.94 out of 5 star rating. Ware’s point of view The turn of the screw by Henry James, this novel finds Rowan writing from prison, desperate for this lawyer to believe his version of a sensational case. Rowan details the events that unfolded while she was nanny to three young girls at Heatherbrae House in the Scottish Highlands, swearing she did not kill the little girl as the newspapers and police claim.

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A slow start, but a fast burn, The turn of the key received its score of 206,569 ratings and 23,777 Goodreads reviews. For those on the other side of Ware’s novel fence, the plot lacked the intensity and psychological elements of his earlier works. For Ware’s consistent readership, the novel was a great modernization of James’ story, with the final twist sealing the deal for a great read.

‘The It Girl’ (2022)

Ware’s latest novel currently ranks highest among her seven novels with a score of 3.97 stars out of 5. When Hannah joins Oxford, her first friend is April, the ultimate “it girl”. April pulls Hannah into her world, solidifying a tight-knit group of six friends. At the end of term, April died and Hannah’s testimony provided the proof to lock up a man for it. A decade later, Hannah’s convicted killer is dead in prison, and a reporter comes knocking on Hannah’s door, changing everything, even who may have killed April.

Just weeks after its July 2022 release, readers are responding positively with 10,865 ratings and 1,958 reviews so far on Goodreads. True to style, Ware alternates between past and present with its cast of distant characters. The novel is significantly longer than his other books and readers have taken notice. Time will tell if this will remain Ware’s highest rated book.

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