The Guest List by Lucy Foley
One of the very first books I reviewed on the blog was The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. This was a delicious thriller about a group of pretty ghastly friends drinking and drugging too much on a New Years break in Scotland which results in one of them being killed. The twist was that we did not know who had been killed or who the murderer was. Since then I'd been keeping a beady eye on the publication date for the follow-up. Making a flimsy excuse to go to the supermarket, I treated myself to this follow up, The Guest List, a coffee yogurt and a pair of woolly slippers just in time for Autumn. It's the simple pleasures you know?
On a remote, windswept island just off the Irish coast, a number of guests gather to witness the wedding of Will, star of the TV show Survival (think Bear Grylls with a weak chin) and Jules, editor of a trendy magazine. By the end of the wedding day, one of the party will be dead and one will be a murderer. But who?
Fans of Lucy Foley will certainly not be disappointed! This does follow a similar format to the The Hunting Party in that, once again this is a group of particularly godawful people gathering for the wedding. A group of old school friends, acting as attendants to the room, relive memories of past public school glories, rugby victories and all round public school japes and initiations where first years were blindfolded, bound and left somewhere remote in the school grounds...until one of these first years died.
The Bride's sister seems particularly troubled self-harming and haunted by a past relationship. Sinister notes are left for the couple, a chef is particularly fond of his knives and what exactly did happen on the stag do to Charlie? It all adds up to a boatload of wicked fun.
As with The Hunting Party, we do not discover the murder victim until the very end of the novel. This is a fun technique that Lucy Foley employs and it truly works! At times, I suspected almost everybody of being either the murder victim and/or murderer.
I am very much enjoying the Lucy Foley novels. There is a hint of Agatha Christie in the gathering of a group of suspects each with a wicked motive and the plausibility to be a murderer. There is never a detective but the murder is still thankfully solved by the end.
The island itself is raw and wild, tales of ghosts and bogs threatening to suck down any unwary walker add to the threat of impending threat prevalent in the writing at times. You read every chapter posed waiting for something terrible to happen and it is almost a relief when it does. It is a fast paced read and I found myself reading late into the night with the promise of 'just one more chapter'.
I would very much recommend this novel. It is more than up to the standard of The Hunting Party and is a great, rollicking read.