Title: The Hunting Party
Author: Lucy Foley
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see below for breakdown)
All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?
I do love to read a good mystery while I am away on holiday and also that cannot resist an airport bookshop! There is something so alluring about them. So of course I had to purchase a book despite having my kindle and another book with me. However I am so glad I did I am loving this one.
I have read a couple of Foley’s other mysteries, I did prefer this one to The Paris apartment but I think The Guest List is my favourite. It was evident that in this book Foley was still playing with her method for fleshing out the mystery which she had very much refined in The Guest list. It still has all the suspense of trying to work out which of the friends was murdered, the motivation behind that murder. However, I felt the perspective switching was a little confusing and the time jumps were not as smooth. I also saw a few of the twists coming so the reveals didn’t have as much impact.
There were still a number of twists I didn’t see coming and the structure of the book made it a real page turner. I really liked the characters of Heather the manager and Doug the Groundskeeper, I liked the slow build into their back stories and why they choose to isolate themselves from the world. I also loved just how dislikeable all of the Oxford friends group was. None of them were nice people so it made it quite difficult to figure out which one had been murdered, who the killer was and why. The way the back stories built up between them and all the tangled relationships just made it such an entertaining read. You want to find out which of the friends has died, and who was to blame and it keeps you turning the pages eager to find out how all these different threads all come together.
Overall, I enjoy Foley’s writing and the unique structure to her mysteries and while not my favourite of her books it is still a fantastic read.