Archive for the ‘Lucy Foley’ Tag

An Old Lease   Leave a comment

The Paris Apartment proves I never have to read another book by Lucy Foley again. Her perspectives- from-a-handful-of-characters-with-a-motive-for-murder-in-the-early-pages formula is tiresome.

I appreciate a good mystery with unexpected twists. This worked in The Guest List, the first Foley novel I read, but not in two I’ve read since.

This one offers a variation in that one of the characters, Jess, is clearly not the guilty party. In fact, after arriving in Paris, she discovers her brother, Ben, has gone missing and, at great risk to herself, is determined to find him.

Ben had given Jess directions to his apartment of an old Parisian building, so he knew his ne’er-do-well sister was expected. She’s not only taken aback by his absence but also the swanky digs where he’s been living.

As with Foley’s other novels, nothing is as it seems – in more ways than one, as Jess soon realizes. Her fellow tenants include an alcoholic, an unstable young woman, the concierge, a socialite and Nick, Ben’s friend and the only one who’s helpful to Jess. They all lack depth and none spark a connection with the reader.

The focus is on Jess, with references to her troubled past and an inconsistent relationship with her brother. Still, he is her only living relative, which motivates her to learn what might have happened to him.

Foley’s style is tedious. Yes, it’s important to find out what happened to Ben, but Cliff Notes for this one would have worked just as well.

The Paris Apartment

(Barely) Three Bookmarks

William Morrow 2022

358 pages

Who’s the Prey and Who’s the Predator?   Leave a comment

The who-dun-it and who-was-it-dun-to formula crafted by Lucy Foley in The Guest List resurfaces in The Hunting Party. Although effective, I hope she doesn’t use the same approach in subsequent works. It’s clever, but enough is, well , enough.

It’s evident from the beginning that the victim and the murderer are among the handful of narrators. There are other characters, but only in supporting roles: spouses, two other couples, two additional guests and a third employee. What’s learned about them is from the narrators’ perspectives. The setting is an upscale lodge in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands in a blinding blizzard, plays a major role in the plot.

A group of old friends gathers on New Year’s Eve as they have since their days together at Oxford. They’re now in the early 30s and have established themselves in the world. Miranda is the spoiled, party girl used to the finer things; Katie, an attorney, is her childhood friend; Emma, is relatively new to the group and is the trip organizer; Heather manages the lodge; and Doug is the gamekeeper.  Through these narratives, their histories and personalities come to light.

Time is also key as it moves back and forth from December 30 to January 2. This pattern is similar not only to The Guest List, but Foley’s other novels.

Despite following the same blueprint, this mystery is engaging. Chapters become shorter the closer the reader gets to the reveal. In the process it becomes a rapid page turner.

The Hunting Party

Three-and-a-half bookmarks

William Morrow, 2019

328 pages, plus reading group guide and more