The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10

by Ruth Ware


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From Ruth Ware, the New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin Ten, an equally suspenseful and haunting psychological thriller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501132933
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication date: 07/19/2016
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 94,380
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer. Despite being married with two small children, she has found the time to write her second psychological thriller, The Woman in Cabin 10, available July 2016.

Read an Excerpt

The Woman in Cabin 10



The first inkling that something was wrong was waking in darkness to find the cat pawing at my face. I must have forgotten to shut the kitchen door last night. Punishment for coming home drunk.

“Go away,” I groaned. Delilah mewed and butted me with her head. I tried to bury my face in the pillow but she continued rubbing herself against my ear, and eventually I rolled over and heartlessly pushed her off the bed.

She thumped to the floor with an indignant little meep and I pulled the duvet over my head, but even through the covers I could hear her scratching at the bottom of the door, rattling it in its frame.

The door was closed.

I sat up, my heart suddenly thumping, and Delilah leaped onto my bed with a glad little chirrup, but I snatched her to my chest, stilling her movements, listening.

I might well have forgotten to shut the kitchen door, or I could even have knocked it to without closing it properly. But my bedroom door opened outward—a quirk of the weird layout of my flat. There was no way Delilah could have shut herself inside. Someone must have closed it.

I sat, frozen, holding Delilah’s warm, panting body against my chest and trying to listen.


And then, with a gush of relief, it occurred to me—she’d probably been hiding under my bed and I’d shut her inside with me when I came home. I didn’t remember closing my bedroom door, but I might have swung it absently shut behind me when I came in. To be honest, everything from the tube station onwards was a bit of a blur. The headache had started to set in on the journey home, and now that my panic was wearing off, I could feel it starting up again in the base of my skull. I really needed to stop drinking midweek. It had been okay in my twenties, but I just couldn’t shake off the hangovers like I used to.

Delilah began squirming uneasily in my arms, digging her claws into my forearm, and I let her go while I reached for my dressing gown and belted it around myself. Then I scooped her up, ready to sling her out into the kitchen.

But when I opened the bedroom door, there was a man standing there.

There’s no point in wondering what he looked like, because, believe me, I went over it about twenty-five times with the police. “Not even a bit of skin around his wrists?” they kept saying. No, no, and no. He had a hoodie on, and a bandanna around his nose and mouth, and everything else was in shadow. Except for his hands.

On these he was wearing latex gloves. It was that detail that scared the shit out of me. Those gloves said, “I know what I’m doing.” They said, “I’ve come prepared.” They said, “I might be after more than your money.”

We stood there for a long second, facing each other, his shining eyes locked on to mine.

About a thousand thoughts raced through my mind: Where the hell is my phone? Why did I drink so much last night? I would have heard him come in if I’d been sober. Oh Christ, I wish Judah was here.

And most of all—those gloves. Oh my God, those gloves. They were so professional. So clinical.

I didn’t speak. I didn’t move. I just stood there, my ratty dressing gown gaping, and I shook. Delilah wriggled out of my unresisting hands and shot away up the hallway to the kitchen, and I just stood there, shaking.

Please, I thought. Please don’t hurt me.

Oh God, where was my phone?

Then I saw something in the man’s hands. My handbag—my new Burberry handbag, although that detail seemed monumentally unimportant. There was only one thing that mattered about that bag. My mobile was inside.

His eyes crinkled in a way that made me think he might be smiling beneath the bandanna, and I felt the blood drain from my head and my fingers, pooling in the core of my body, ready to fight or flee, whichever it had to be.

He took a step forwards.

“No . . .” I said. I wanted it to sound like a command, but it came out like a plea—my voice small and squeaky and quavering pathetically with fear. “N—”

But I didn’t even get to finish. He slammed the bedroom door in my face, hitting my cheek.

For a long moment I stood, frozen, holding my hand to my face, speechless with the shock and pain. My fingers felt ice-cold, but there was something warm and wet on my face, and it took a moment for me to realize it was blood, that the molding on the door had cut my cheek.

I wanted to run back to bed, to shove my head under the pillows and cry and cry. But a small, ugly voice in my skull kept saying, He’s still out there. What if he comes back? What if he comes back for you?

There was a sound from out in the hall, something falling, and I felt a rush of fear that should have galvanized me but instead paralyzed me. Don’t come back. Don’t come back. I realized I was holding my breath, and I made myself exhale, long and shuddering, and then slowly, slowly, I forced my hand out towards the door.

There was another crash in the hallway outside, breaking glass, and with a rush I grabbed the knob and braced myself, my bare toes dug into the old, gappy floorboards, ready to hold the door closed as long as I could. I crouched there, against the door, hunched over with my knees to my chest, and I tried to muffle my sobs with my dressing gown while I listened to him ransacking the flat and hoped to God that Delilah had run out into the garden, out of harm’s way.

At last, after a long time, I heard the front door open and shut, and I sat there, crying into my knees and unable to believe he’d really gone. That he wasn’t coming back to hurt me. My hands felt numb and painfully stiff, but I didn’t dare let go of the handle.

I saw again those strong hands in the pale latex gloves.

I don’t know what would have happened next. Maybe I would have stayed there all night, unable to move. But then I heard Delilah outside, mewing and scratching at the other side of the door.

“Delilah,” I said hoarsely. My voice was trembling so much I hardly sounded like myself. “Oh, Delilah.”

Through the door I heard her purr, the familiar, deep, chainsaw rasp, and it was like a spell had been broken.

I let my cramped fingers loosen from the doorknob, flexing them painfully, and then stood up, trying to steady my trembling legs, and turned the door handle.

It turned. In fact it turned too easily, twisting without resistance under my hand, without moving the latch an inch. He’d removed the spindle from the other side.


Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I was trapped.

Reading Group Guide

This readering group guide for The Woman in Cabin 10 includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

From the New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood comes another riveting thriller filled with twists and turns.

Travel journalist Lo Blacklock has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: to travel the North Sea on the inaugural voyage of the Aurora, a luxury cruise ship. Between the plush cabins, elegant guests, and sparkling dinner parties, Lo’s trip is nothing short of amazing. But as the week progresses, Lo hears what can only be described as a nightmare: a woman in the cabin next to her being thrown overboard. The problem? None of the passengers on deck are missing, so the ship continues sailing as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s increasingly desperate attempts to raise the alarm.

Filled with surprising twists and turns, The Woman in Cabin 10 proves once again that Ruth Ware is a writer at the top of her game.

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. What’s the effect of having Lo’s e-mails and various news reports interspersed throughout Lo’s narration? In what ways do they help you better understand what’s happening aboard the Aurora?

2. When Lo first enters the ship, she says, “I had a sudden disorienting image of the Aurora as a ship imprisoned in a bottle—tiny, perfect, isolated, and unreal” (p. 37). In what ways does this statement foreshadow the events that take place on the ship? Describe the Aurora. In what ways do you think life on the ship may seem unreal? Discuss the book’s title. Why do you think Ware chose it? Did the title influence your reading of the novel? If so, how?

3. Who is Carrie? Did you like her? Why or why not? Describe her relationship with Lo. In what ways, if any, are the two women alike? How do Lo’s feelings about Carrie change as Lo gets to know her? Did your opinion of Carrie change as you read?

4. Lo questions Alexander about eating fugu during dinner aboard the Aurora, and he tells her that the fact it is poisonous is “what makes the experience” (p. 74). What does Alexander mean by his statement? Lo seems dubious about the appeal of it. Does Lo strike you as someone who takes risks? Were you surprised by any of her risky actions aboard the Aurora? Which ones, if any?

5. After Lo’s flat is burglarized, she calls Velocity’s assistant features editor, Jenn, and tells her about it. Lo says, “I told her what happened, making it sound funnier and more farcical than it really had been” (p. 13). Why do you think Lo underplays the break-in? How might this make her feel more in control? Have you ever underplayed an event of significance in your life?

6. When Lo panics on one of her first nights aboard the Aurora, she says, “I imagined burying my face in Judah’s shoulder and for a second I nearly burst into tears, but I clenched my teeth and swallowed them back down. Judah was not the answer to all this” (p. 49). Why is Lo so resistant to accepting help from Judah? Do you think that she’s right to be reticent? Describe their relationship. Do Lo and Judah support each other?

7. When Nilsson challenges Lo’s claim that she’s seen something happen in the cabin next to hers, she tells him, “Yes, someone broke into my flat. It has nothing to do with what I saw” (p. 141). Did you believe her? Did you think that the break-in made Lo more jumpy and distrustful? Give some examples to support your opinion.

8. When Lo first speaks to Richard Bullmer, she notices that he gives her “a little wink” (p. 79). What is the effect of this gesture? What were your initial impressions of Bullmer? Did you like him, or were you suspicious of him? After a prolonged conversation with Bullmer, Lo says, “I could see why [he] had got to where he had in life” (p. 194). Describe his manner. What does Lo think accounts for his success?

9. Archer tells Lo that self-defense is “not about size, even a girl like you can overpower a man if you get the leverage right” (p. 73). Is Lo able to do so? What kind of leverage does she have? What different kinds of power and leverage do the people on the Aurora use when dealing with each other? How did you react?

10. Judah tells Lo that “I still think, in spite of it all, we’re responsible for our own actions” (p. 334). Do you agree? In what scenes did you think the deception and violence that occurred were justified? In what scenes did you think it not justified?

11. When Lo sees the staff quarters on the Aurora, she says, “the rooms were no worse than plenty of cross-channel ferries I’d traveled on. . . . But it was the graphic illustration of the gap between the haves and have-nots that was upsetting” (p. 113). Contrast the guest quarters to those of the crew. Why does Lo find the discrepancy so unsettling? Much of the crew seemed unwilling to speak to Lo. Do you think this was caused by the “gap between the haves and have-nots”? Or some other reason?

12. Lo tells Judah, “You don’t know what goes on in other people’s relationships” (p. 333). Describe the relationships in The Woman in Cabin 10. Did you find any particularly surprising? Which ones, and why?

13. Bullmer tells Lo, “Why wait? . . . One thing I’ve learned in business—now almost always is the right time” (p. 190). Do you agree with his philosophy? In what ways has this attitude led to Bullmer’s success? Does this attitude present any problems aboard the Aurora? Do you think Lo shares the same life philosophy as Bullmer? How would you describe Lo’s philosophy on life?

14. Describe Lo’s relationship with Ben. She tells him “[e]verything I hadn’t told Jude. What it had been like . . . that I was vulnerable in a way I’d never thought I was before that night” (p. 82). Why does Lo share all this information with Ben rather than Jude? Did you think that Ben had Lo’s best interests at heart? Why or why not? Were you surprised to learn of their history?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Ware’s debut novel, In A Dark, Dark Wood, received rave reviews when it was first published and was named a best book of the year by NPR and Shelf Awareness. Read In a Dark, Dark Wood with your book club, then compare and contrast the two books. In what ways are they similar? How has Ware’s writing style evolved since she published her debut novel?

2. Richard Bullmer tells his guests, “The aurora borealis is something that everyone should see before they die” (p. 64). Look at pictures of the northern lights with your book club. Do you find them as breathtaking as Richard Bullmer does? Would you travel to see the northern lights as the guests of the Aurora plan on doing?

3. Lo says, “Pooh has always been my comfort read, my go-to book in times of stress” (p. 277). Why might Pooh bring Lo comfort? Do you have any “comfort reads”? Share them with your book club, and describe what you find so comforting about the books.

4. To learn more about Ruth Ware, read more about her other writings, and connect with her online, visit her official website at

Customer Reviews

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The Woman in Cabin 10 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 215 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read. Story centers on a young female journalist who was sent by her publisher to write an article on a luxury cruise ship. I don't want to give the story away. Read it in one day. Great ending. Also suggest you read the author's first book In the Dark Dark Woods. Also good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this cover to cover. Stopped only to sleep. This is the first book in a long time where I wanted to skip to the end, the suspense was so great . Would recommend to anyone who likes the "pieces don't fit" and "I never saw it coming" types of books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down. Once you get started plan to do nothing else!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful right up to the end. I would definetely recommend this book to those readers that love a riveting mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot wasnt sure how it would end Liked it better than deep dark woods
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I liked it much more than a dark dark wood because the characters were better and the story overall was better in my opinion (especially the ending). If you have trouble reading things that could trigger panic attacks or claustrophobia I would not read but otherwise great thriller/suspense!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this mystery book very much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So slow! I couldn't evenmake myself finish the book! Loved her other books but this was awful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good plot, but too long and "busy". Dragging along at times. Had a hard time with all the characters, unneccesary dialog. I didn't much like the narrator, she was always doing something...and descriptions got old. I loved the authors previous book. This one was a dissappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book. It is slow to start, but once it gets going I could not put it down! It was an amazing suspenseful thriller. I did not like the fact that it was not a free sample. If you love Gone Girl or Girl On The Train you will love this!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! and Take a Barnes $10 Off coupons code from
Ashya More than 1 year ago
Finished reading this book and honestly I had hard time keeping interest on this book and its plot, after 100 pages into it I still felt not suspense at all. Hope I don't spoil it to anyone but my feelings on this book: The female MC was pathetic through the whole book, couldn't feel any sympathy for her at all. No character and certainly not a single feeling of her really being a journalist. All I saw on her was a woman with extremely alcoholic problems, mental and paranoid issues and full of cowardice, very awful considering she was supposed to be a journalist. Spend the whole book as a scary cat hiding in a closet, that could be the main reason it felt the book was boring, with 0 suspense and the plot itself was very simple, to simple to have any suspense though it could be just the lack of any action from the MC that made the whole plot very uninteresting. Oh well, I'm not sure if I should read the other book In a dark, dark wood now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's not great, but it's good enough for a quick read if you want a mystery that doesn't require a lot of thinking. The main character isn't particularly likable, a couple of coincidences are a just a little too contrived, and the twist is vaguely ridiculous, but it enjoyable enough in the way that a mediocre TV show can still be worth watching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!Will keep you up at night with all of it's twists and turns!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed. It wasn't that great. In a Dark Dark Woods was much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love a good ending
eak321 8 months ago
Like "The Girl on the Train," the main character in this novel by Ruth Ware is an alcoholic and an unreliable source. Yet she's apparently the best choice to be a travel writer on a new cruise yacht, even though she does zero writing or interviewing while onboard and isn't very professional in her demeanor or actions. She's too focused on a mysterious woman in the cabin next to hers, who may or may not actually exist. And, of course, getting drunk and lamenting her past (and present). I can't imagine she's much different in her real life or at work. There is some mystery to the novel, and it was reminiscent of Agatha Christie where there are a slew of characters (too many that I couldn't keep track of them all) who may have "dunnit." Because there are so many characters, we don't really get to know any of them very well, so any one of them could be the murderer. If, in fact, there is a murder at all. The story does keep the reader guessing, but at a certain point, I was able to guess what the mystery was. It took me awhile to get into the story, and even then I wasn't fully invested in the mystery or the characters, but I kept reading anyway because I wanted to see what the big deal was about this novel. It turned out to be a "just okay" book that, while not awful, doesn't really make me enthusiastic about picking up another Ruth Ware novel.
gmb6 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I had maybe forty pages left and my eyes were getting heavy so I decided that I had guessed the ending and could put the book down for the night, but when I finally finished the next day I was completely surprised. Ruth Ware is an expert at building suspense, she'll have you holding your breath as her characters navigate tense situations. I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone being scared for 300+ pages can get old. Took more than 200 pages for it to get remotely interesting. Sorry. Not one of my favs :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a very good read. First time I read this author. If you can borrow it from someone fine, but don't buy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! Read it in a day and a half. And I hope Ruth comes out with another great one soon!!!!!!
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
If there is any recently published novel that can be truly marketed as the next The Girl on the Train, it is The Woman in Cabin 10. A narrator whose personal issues cause her to appear unreliable, anxiety-riddled, paranoid, and even to begin questioning her own truth... One who is so preoccupied with the safety of an anonymous woman that she can't function... One whose investigative efforts end up putting her at grave risk... hmmm, sound familiar? The similarities were distracting. Hell, even the titles are alike. After a while though, The Woman in Cabin 10 became it's very own mystery and one that I ended up enjoying overall. The isolation, disorientation, and group dynamics involved in a sea voyage setting was my favorite thing about this book and I'm finding that developing a haunting tone via the characters' surroundings is one of author: Ruth Ware's many strengths. Although I enjoyed Ms. Ware's debut much more than this one, I still liked it and would recommend it to mystery fans. I've read several reviews that suspect Agatha Christie was a strong influence for The Woman in Cabin 10 and I am quite ashamed to admit I have yet to read any of Agatha Christie's amazing work but I plan to rectify that very soon :) My favorite quote: "I love ports. I love the smell of tar and sea air, and the scream of the gulls. Maybe it's years of taking the ferry to France for summer holidays, but a harbor gives me a feeling of freedom in a way that an airport never does. Airports say work and security checks and delays. Ports say... I don't know. Something completely different. Escape, maybe."
Anonymous 3 months ago
great book to read!
Anonymous 4 months ago
kvaca 6 months ago
This had a lot of potential to be such a great book but the ending wasn't satisfying. There seemed to be so much build up to absolutely nothing. Still, it kept me interested and I couldn't put it down. Wish I could rate it a 3.5.