Harvill Secker | 2020 (12 November) | 384p | Review copy and Bought copy | Buy the book
A luxury chalet high in the French Alps would seem the perfect place for a get together of business colleagues. Work presentations and meetings can be combined with forays onto the ski slopes, followed by après ski delights, all taken care of by excellent chalet staff. It’s just such a pity that the guests aren’t so much colleagues as bitter rivals prepared to put everything at stake. And then the avalanche hits. The chalet barely survives. It is completely cut off from the outside world, with no power and little food or heat. Murder follows.
I am thoroughly enjoying the avalanche of winter chiller mysteries that are being published during these dark months and One by One is brilliant fun. It is a true homage to classic Agatha Christie – a remote, cut-off location (ideally glamorous), a limited number of suspects (growing ever more limited as the murders increase), the revelation of secrets, puzzles. It’s irresistible and it works perfectly in a chalet cut off by an avalanche, a terrifying event in itself and yet about to be outdone.
This is one of those books that you really don’t want to know much about other than that fantastic premise. I loved how much of the story is given from the perspective of Erin, the chalet girl, who can barely believe the nature of the guests she has to look after. It’s almost as if she has to try and hold them all together. There are clues along the way, which are enjoyable to pick up on. I must admit that I did work it out but that didn’t matter. One by One is such an entertaining pageturner and in my opinion shows Ruth Ware at her best, following the tradition of The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Death of Mrs Westaway. It’s an ideal Christmas read.