The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ruth Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex on England’s south coast. She studied at Manchester University and lived in Paris for a while before settling in North London. Before becoming a full-time writer, she also worked as a waitress, an English teacher, and a bookseller. Though she enjoyed writing stories from the time she was a little girl, writing remained a hobby until she was in her thirties, when she began working on novels while her two children were in school and found her first publishing success. Her bestselling mysteries include In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Lying Game.
Get the entire The Woman in Cabin 10 LitChart as a printable PDF.
The woman in cabin 10.pdf.medium

Historical Context of The Woman in Cabin 10

Ware’s novel is part of a resurgence of the thriller genre that could be dated to Gillian Flynn’s 2012 bestseller Gone Girl and may reflect a broader cultural fascination with true crime stories. Such thrillers often feature female protagonists, domestic strife, and psychological suspense. The pervasiveness of the internet and smartphone technology is another feature of the novel. After every few chapters, Ware includes emails, Facebook posts, or online forum posts discussing Lo’s whereabouts, which illustrate the degree to which these tools have become indispensable to daily communication and one’s ability to access news and information—and also how they can harmfully fuel speculation. Lo’s inability to access the internet during the cruise—which cuts her off from loved ones and also forces her to solve the mystery without outside help—underscores this. The novel also makes reference to the common but underreported phenomenon of cruise ship crime, which, because it often occurs in international waters, is frequently subject to murky maritime laws and overlapping police jurisdictions.

Other Books Related to The Woman in Cabin 10

Ruth Ware’s mystery plots have sometimes been compared to those of the “Golden Age” detective fiction of the 1920s and 1930s. Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (1934), for example, features detective Hercule Poirot solving a murder case aboard a luxury train. Patricia Highsmith’s 1950 psychological thriller, Strangers on a Train, features two train passengers whose lives become entangled when one of them, a psychopathic manipulator like Richard Bullmer, convinces the other to “swap murders” with him. In more recent fiction, Paul Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (2015) also features a thirtysomething narrator who witnesses something shocking, but whose reliability is questioned because of her drinking.
Key Facts about The Woman in Cabin 10
  • Full Title: The Woman in Cabin 10
  • When Written: 2016
  • Where Written: London, England
  • When Published: 2016
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Mystery, thriller
  • Setting: The luxury yacht Aurora, on the North Sea
  • Climax: The woman from Cabin 10 knocks on Lo Blacklock’s door, revealing that she is still alive after all
  • Antagonist: The woman from Cabin 10/Carrie
  • Point of View: First person

Extra Credit for The Woman in Cabin 10

Classic Throwback. In coming up with the posh cruise liner setting of The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware was inspired by the “stifled luxury feeling” evoked in many of Agatha Christie’s celebrated novels, such as Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

Subtle Shout-Out. In the book, while Lo questions fellow passengers aboard the Aurora, she sees journalist Alexander Belhomme with “a volume of Patricia Highsmith” under his arm, likely a nod to Ruth Ware’s own authorial influences.