The Death of Mrs. Westaway
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    1. Hal learned tarot, her eventual trade as an adult, from her mother at a young age. What else did Hal inherit from her mother? How does Hal’s understanding of her inheritance, physical and otherwise, change over the course of the novel?

    2. How does the unknown identity of the writer of the diaries from Trepassen affect your understanding of the events? Did you guess at the identity before it was revealed?

    3. How does the solicitor, Mr. Treswick, change the outcome for Hal and the Westaway family? Did he do his due diligence in finding and vetting Hal? Do you think Hal is glad to have been found, in the end?

    4. How did you react to Hal’s ultimate decision to attend the funeral? What do you think her true motivation was? What would you have done in her shoes?

    5. Hal is skilled at stepping into different roles—she plays Madame Margarida for her clients, she plays the regretful granddaughter for the funeral. What does this skill say about Hal’s character?

    6. The interplay of skepticism and superstition is as present throughout The Death of Mrs. Westaway as the swarms of magpies at Trepassen. How does this tug-of-war between skepticism and superstition affect each of the characters? Would things have turned out differently if Hal believed in fortunes and fate?

    7. “You should never have come back here,” Mrs. Warren attempts to warn Hal (p. 219). Can Hal trust Mrs. Warren? Can she trust Mitzi, or any of the other Westaways? Why or why not?

    8. Hal plays the mouse, but feels she is more the rat. Which is she really? How do the events at Trepassen change Hal’s understanding of herself and her own identity?

    9. Who is the real villain of The Death of Mrs. Westaway? Why? Does that change throughout the course of the book?

    10. The house at Trepassen, cavernous and cold and rundown, almost takes on a life of its own. How much of that was due to the mark Mrs. Westaway left on the house? What sort of home environment did Mrs. Westaway create for her children? How does Mrs. Warren perpetuate that?

    11. Abel, Harding, Ezra—and even Mrs. Warren—swear that Ezra was the favorite. How does that fact play out in the end? Was Mrs. Westaway protecting Ezra?

    12. Were you surprised by the revelation between Ezra and Hal, or by the final revelation Hal discovers in the study and Mrs. Warren’s wing? Why or why not?

    13. Does Hal get what she deserves in the end? What does she gain? What does she learn? At what cost?

    14. What do you think Mrs. Westaway’s motive was in leaving her will as she did? How much do you think she knew about Hal before her death? Why or why not?