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Learn what happens and “whodunnit” with this One by One by Ruth Ware summary. This guide to one of the best Ruth Ware books also includes a character guide to help you keep track of the numerous characters, a review, reading tips, and more. You’ll instantly improve your reading experience for this winter thriller, so let’s get literary!

one by one ruth ware on the carpet

There are no spoilers in this post.

One by One by Ruth Ware Summary

In One by One, a group of tech startup employees and shareholders at a trendy London music-based social media app called “Snoop” visit a rustic mountain chalet with a view of the French apps. It’s a company retreat filled with both work and play.

Unexpected talk of a buyout causes rumblings amongst them, but this is far from Snoop’s worst problem. When an avalanche occurs, one employee is left missing (and presumed dead). Cut off from the outside world without power, panic mounts as three additional employees die “One by One.” There still remains no sign of help on the way, and it’s clear this is no accident. Rather, it’s murder.

The guilty party must necessarily be amongst those remaining in this “whodunnit” thriller. The characters’ secrets and motives are slowly revealed by two alternating narrators: the housekeeper (Erin) and the former employee and current minority shareholder (Liz).

I’ll bet this never happened at YOUR corporate retreat!

One by One Characters

One by One has over a dozen characters to keep track of!

Topher St. Clair-Bridges: co-founder of tech startup Snoop

Inigo Ryder: Topher’s male personal assistant

Eva van den Berg: co-founder of Snoop and Topher’s ex-life partner, currently married to financier Arnaud Jankovitch and the mother of Radisson

Ani Crewsswell: Eva’s female personal assistant

Rik Adeyemi: head of accounting at Snoop and longtime friend of Topher

Elliot Cross: head of tech at Snoop and longtime friend of Topher

Miranda Khan: “friends czar” at Snoop

Tiger-Blue Esposito: “head of cool” at Snoop

Carl Foster: lawyer for Snoop

Liz: former Snoop employee and a minority shareholder

Erin: housekeeper at the ski chalet

Danny: chef at the ski chalet

Kate: handles bookings for the ski chalet

NOTE

Erin also references her brother Alex and his best friend Will as part of her backstory.

One by One Book Review: An Atmospheric “Locked Room” Thriller Novel

  • My rating: ★★★★☆
  • GoodReads rating: 3.73 out of 5 stars

Pros

First, while there’s nothing new about the “locked room mystery,” Ware makes One by One feel fresh and different. Perhaps it’s because of the dual narration from the perspective of two “outsiders,” one a staff member and the other a former employee. I enjoyed hearing the story from exactly these two characters, who were both in on the action, yet also removed from it simultaneously.

One by One was really engaging and kept me guessing what would happen next. While I know many readers were able to “guess” who the killer was and thought it was obvious, I was plotting out a far more surprising twist in my head than actually occurred. So, for me personally, this was a pro.

I also thought One by One was really well plotted (especially since there are so many characters whose backgrounds and motives must all intersect).

Despite there being so many characters, I felt like I knew enough about them and their motives to keep them all interesting.

Lastly, the pacing never felt too fast or too slow.


Cons

First, the book sort of glanced over the minutia of how truly difficult (and COLD) that situation would be.

Next, each chapter begins with the current “Snoop stats” of the narrator. With so many quick chapters and so much suspense, it got in the way of the story, and I found myself skipping over it.

Lastly, for all of you fans of twisted plots, One by One isn’t one of them! As I said, it’s clearly a locked room mystery, and that means one of the main characters is at the heart of the debauchery.


Is One by One worth reading?

Yes! One by One was an instant New York Times bestseller. This locked-room mystery novel reads like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and feels like the board game Clue.

This was the first book I read by Ruth Ware, and it totally met my expectations. Upon finishing it, I proceeded to add ALL of her other books to my “to be read” list.

It’s also an especially great atmospheric Winter book to read on a snow day. This thriller novel is the perfect read for sitting next to a cozy fire.

Lastly, One by One would be great for book clubs that love to read crime books because you can dive into all the characters and who you predicted to be the killer, talk about your “travel gone wrong” stories, and eat some comforting treats like the tea Erin and Liz drank together in the powerless chalet.

Reading Tip: I recommend reading in print or digital format and taking notes on the many characters, who are hard to track on audio.

Ruth Ware Biography

about

Ruth Ware is a #1 New York Times bestselling British author. She debuted as an adult novel writer under this pen name with In A Dark, Dark Wood in 2015. Previously, she wrote young adult fantasy novels under the name Ruth Warburton.

She has been described as a modern-day Agatha Christie. She has described her own fiction books as being “full of murder, family secrets, toxic friendships and things that go bump in the night.”

Prominent in her books are isolated settings and fairly large casts of characters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the plot of One by One?

One by One follows a corporate retreat turned nightmare as a snowstorm traps guests in a remote chalet. Suspense builds as team members mysteriously vanish, revealing hidden secrets and escalating tensions in a gripping thriller of survival.

Is One by One a good book?

Yes. It’s best for fans of suspenseful thrillers and psychological mysteries who enjoy atmospheric, locked room settings.

Who are the main characters in One by One?

The main characters include Erin, the chalet host; Danny, the chef; and various employees of the tech company Snoop, such as Liz, Eva, and Topher. Each character’s secrets and motives unfold as the suspense builds.

Who is Erin in One by One?

Erin is the housekeeper at the ski chalet.

Conclusion

This One by One by Ruth Ware summary detailed a book that’s best for fans of suspenseful thrillers and psychological mysteries who enjoy atmospheric, locked room settings.

It follows a corporate retreat turned nightmare as a snowstorm traps guests in a remote chalet. Suspense builds as team members mysteriously vanish, revealing hidden secrets and escalating tensions in a gripping thriller of survival.

It’s important for readers to keep track of the many main characters to have the best reading experience.

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3 Comments

  1. While I THANK YOU for the very helpful list of characters, this is not a lot of people.
    I just finished The Hunger by Alma Katsu. Like you, I need to make a list to keep up with all the people.

    In The Hunger, Ms. Katsu had (I believe) 93 people. Several of whom went by John / Johnnie / Johnathan. Some were Bob / Rob. Some were Bob / Rob Jr. & Sr. These (93) people were sometimes called by their first or last name, and they all had a back story.

    I had to read this book with my laptop so I could add, edit, or reference each person who had to be kept in alphabetical order. Talk about torturing your readers!

  2. I want to thank you for this. I am listening as an audiobook while traveling and I considered starting over to make a character diagram 😂. I am a visual person and that beginning summary of everyone’s names and @s in the book was mind boggling. Your list of who is who alone is a HUGE help! I appreciate you!

    1. You’re welcome! I totally understand. I am the same way with characters. I recently bought a large lined stack of post its to put one in the front of books for notes!