The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
I picked this little beauty up during the post Christmas lull. That period between Christmas and New Year when you have no idea what day of the week it is and the only chocolates to be found in the Quality Street tin are toffee pennies. the waist band on your jeans has somehow shrunk and it is the perfect time to visit a good bookshop and have a coffee just to get a breath of fresh, crisp air.
This debut novel suited the time of year beautifully as it is situated at a house party at New Year. A group of 30 something university friends descend on a remote Scottish Highland estate to see in the New Year. At the start of the novel one of them has been found dead, and one of them is a killer. But who?
Lucy Foley tells the events of the period leading up to and after the murder through a series of flashbacks in short, punchy chapters. This covers the period when the guests arrive, the celebrations, drinking and drugging excessively and the events following the discovery of the body.
The biggest twist is that you don't actually know who the victim is until quite a considerable way into the book. It's like trying to solve a murder back to front. At times I changed my mind about who the murder victim was going to be a number of times which then led me to change my opinion of who the killer was. Very clever Lucy Foley!
The characters are, well, ghastly. They are a bunch of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to themselves, their families, and to each other. Their relationships are toxic. There are financial discretions, affairs, and long held dark secrets which all come to the fore in the timeframe of the novel. It's all deliciously wicked.
The location descriptions are wonderful. The majesty of the Scottish countryside almost becomes a character itself and it was no surprise to learn that the author enjoyed a wondeful family holiday in this remote part of the world, albeit with less murder.
This novel feels absolutely perfect for that post Christmas period. Maybe you're feeling a little exhausted from the whirlwind of finishing work, parties, travelling and the Big Day itself. In that case, unwind with this novel. It's comfy and an easy read. Perfect for recharging those holiday batteries.
Of course you need to enjoy this with something Scottish, so may I suggest that you enjoy this book with a piece of whisky marmalade cake and a glass of single malt. Enjoy my loves!