Narrator: Gary Furlong, Elle Newlands, Morag Sims, Imogen Church, Moira Quirk
Published by HarperAudio on February 12, 2019
Length: 10 hrs 8 mins
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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?
So, if I had to pick a favorite genre I would choose mystery, but I can narrow it down even farther: mysteries that take place in country houses over the holidays. These tend to be vintage mysteries, which I love, but The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley fits right into that category too.
The holiday is New Year’s and the country house is actually a remote resort in Scotland, where the group of friends has been isolated from the outside world by a blizzard. We know from the first page that one of them is dead, but we don’t know who exactly the victim is until the last few chapters. I was impressed by how well Foley kept unfolding the secrets and clues bit by bit, without letting on who either the killer or the victim was. I can’t think of a book I’ve read lately that kept the suspense going that well.
The friends are not nice, likable people. They’re like the stereotypical popular kids in high school grew up and are still jerks and mean and look down on those not as pretty/successful. Not that they really have much to be proud of, with the exception of possibly one couple, although we don’t really get to know them enough to be sure. Heather, who runs the resort, and the caretaker each clearly have their own murky pasts that they are trying to forget. I cared about them more than about their guests though. But it’s not really about the characters, it’s about the setting and slow reveal.
It’s not a quick or easy book. There are five viewpoints. I listened to it on audio and a different narrator did each part, which worked for me, but I think might be confusing for some.
I could have done without the epilogue though. First off, one part didn’t make a whole lot of sense. And I just didn’t need that “what happened later.”
Lucy Foley mentions in this video that one of her inspirations is Agatha Christie, which seems clear from the book.
This also counts as 5 pts in the COYER Treasure Hunt (book that one of your goodreads friends has given 4/5 stars and that another goodreads friend had given 1/2 stars. Patty gave it 4 stars and Diana from Book of Secrets gave it 2).
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: