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The Turn of the Key
Cover of The Turn of the Key
The Turn of the Key
by Ruth Ware
Borrow Borrow
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A superb suspense writer...Brava, Ruth Ware. I daresay even Henry James would be impressed." —Maureen Corrigan, author of So We Read On

"This appropriately twisty Turn of the Screw update finds the Woman in Cabin 10 author in her most menacing mode, unfurling a shocking saga of murder and deception." —Entertainment Weekly

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes this thrilling novel that explores the dark side of technology.
When she stumbles across the ad, she's looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious "smart" home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by 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 trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the events that led to her incarceration. It wasn't just the constant surveillance from the home's cameras, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn't just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn't even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman.

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—but somebody is.

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.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A superb suspense writer...Brava, Ruth Ware. I daresay even Henry James would be impressed." —Maureen Corrigan, author of So We Read On

"This appropriately twisty Turn of the Screw update finds the Woman in Cabin 10 author in her most menacing mode, unfurling a shocking saga of murder and deception." —Entertainment Weekly

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes this thrilling novel that explores the dark side of technology.
When she stumbles across the ad, she's looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious "smart" home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by 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 trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the events that led to her incarceration. It wasn't just the constant surveillance from the home's cameras, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn't just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn't even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman.

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—but somebody is.

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.
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About the Author-
  • Ruth Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer before settling down as a full-time writer. She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England. She is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail (Toronto) bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, and The Turn of the Key. Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2019
    Ware (The Death of Mrs. Westaway, 2018, etc.) channels The Turn of the Screw in her latest creepy mystery when a nanny takes a post at a haunted country house. Traveling to Heatherbrae House to interview for a nanny position, Rowan Caine finds a gorgeously redone Victorian mansion nestled in the remote Scottish moors. Sandra Elincourt is stylish and smart, and the girls seem sweet enough, though 8-year-old Maddie rings some alarm bells in Rowan's mind. So what if the last four nannies left under mysterious circumstances? Rowan knows she's where she belongs--even when Maddie tries to warn her away, claiming that "the ghosts wouldn't like it" if she stays. On her first day, however, Bill Elincourt makes a pass at her, and then both parents leave on a business trip, planning to be gone for at least a week. Left alone with the three little girls, Rowan can't shake the feeling that there are other forces at work in the house. When strange noises begin to wake them all in the night, it seems like the house may indeed be haunted. What happened to those other nannies? Why is Maddie intent on getting Rowan fired? Why is there a garden of poison plants? And who wrote "We hate you" all over the attic walls? Ware excels at taking classic mystery tropes and reinventing them; her novels always feel appealingly anachronistic because while the technology is 21st century, there is something traditionally gothic about the settings, full of exaggerated luxury and seething dark corners. In this case, she reimagines the Victorian ghost story, with Henry James the most obvious influence not just on the plot, but also on the narrative frame, as the story actually takes the form of a letter written by Rowan to her solicitor as she sits imprisoned for murder. Regrettably, the novel's ending leaves a few too many loose ends while also avoiding the delicious ambiguity of its Victorian predecessors. Truly terrifying! Ware perfects her ability to craft atmosphere and sustain tension with each novel.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2019

    Ware demonstrated a flair for the modern gothic in The Death of Mrs Westaway; here the author puts her spin on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. The classic tropes--a nanny left alone with two children in a remote house, a bitter housekeeper, a mysterious caretaker, unexplained noises, a locked door that's never been opened--are combined with 21st-century creepiness. The house runs on smart technology, which can be activated by anyone with the right passcodes. As Rowan Caine explains in letters to a lawyer written from prison, she took the position as live-in nanny to the Elincourts to get out of a demoralizing job and a difficult roommate situation. The pay was generous and the two young girls were well behaved. But when the parents left immediately after she arrived, the girls were a lot less amiable, and the home's smart controls were wonky. Temperatures would drop in the middle of the night or alarms would blare with no way of shutting them off. When Rowan starts hearing noises behind the locked door in her bedroom, she wonders if there's more here than meets the eye. VERDICT Ware hits another one out of the park. Fans of hers or anyone with a taste for the disturbing will stay up late devouring this.--Stephanie Klose, Library Journal

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 10, 2019
    Ware’s excellent psychological thriller, as the title suggests, references Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. It includes a nanny alone, a house that appears to be haunted, and children who aren’t quite what they seem. But Ware hauls the story into the 21st century by making the technology of today as menacing as the story’s isolated location, a Scottish estate., Rowan Caine, a young woman with secrets, stands accused of murdering one of the four children in her care while serving as a nanny. But which child died under her care, what brought Rowan to Scotland in the first place, and what were the events that led up to that fateful event? The answers to those questions slowly reveal themselves, with each answer resulting in a myriad of new questions., Unhappy in her job at a London daycare center, Rowan answers an advertisement for a live-in nanny, one with a very generous salary, for architects Bill and Sandra Elincourt. Even before traveling north to interview for the job, Rowan immediately discovers the first of many warning signs that maybe the position is too good to be true: four predecessors have all walked off the job in the last year. As a result, that promised salary comes in the form of a lump-sum bonus only after she’s completed her term of service. She also learns that the enormous house where the family lives has been wired to be smart in every way, with an Alexa-on-steroids program called Happy that manages the most mundane of daily activities—turning on lights, making lists—while also ensuring that privacy is a thing of the past., Once Rowan arrives in Scotland, she quickly wins over Sandra, whose claims to be less than enamored of the house’s technology prove to be less than genuine. Then Bill and Sandra announce they need to leave her alone with the children while they work on a major project, and those children are not enthralled by the new nanny. Ware does a good job of creating tension through the vastness of the house and grounds, bringing in elements such as a nasty housekeeper, a handsome handyman with an agenda, a walled poison garden, and an attic filled with secrets., But above all, Ware skillfully lays the bread crumbs to the novel’s satisfying conclusion without dropping too many hints or duping the reader. She presents Rowan as a woman making questionable decisions, and, by the end, provides a reason for each of those decisions, if not a justification. The final section not only pulls together the plot’s many threads but also leaves readers with one final, haunting question, one that will stay with them long after they turn the last page. Agent: Eve White, Eve White Literary (U.K.). (Aug.), Agatha Award finalist Edwin Hill is the author of Little Comfort.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2019
    Henry James' 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw was successfully reworked as early as 1911 in Burnett's The Secret Garden and has morphed many times over since then into film, music, and many remarkable novels, including this one. Ware cleverly puts a high-tech spin on the tale's gothic foundations of spellbinding menace set in a remote cavernous mansion with mysterious locked doors and a spooky garden. In Ware's version, though, the garden is not just spooky but also poison. Rowan Caine stumbles across an online listing for a live-in nanny position with a seemingly charming family at Heatherbrae House in the magnificent Scottish Highlands. The staggering salary on offer should have warned Rowan that something might be amiss, but she couldn't resist. The house is rumored to be haunted and nightmarishly controlled by software ironically called the Happy App, whose malfunctions have nerve-shattering results. For Rowan, The sense of intrusion was indescribable, thanks to surveillance cameras and unseen speakers, not to mention the spectral sounds coming from the attic above her room. Her decline into resentment, fatigue, and terror is chronicled in the form of letters she writes while in prison awaiting trial for the murder of one of the children. Ware's James-like embroidery of the strange and sinister produces a Turn of the Screw with cellphones and Teslas that will enthrall today's readers. Much like its predecessor, the novel is occasionally mystifying, but it will not disappoint.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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