Book Review: Lucy Foley // The Guest List

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’m not quite sure why The Hunting Party is called The Hunting Party but besides the title, it was an okay book.

Foley seems to have an odd structure to her novels. I looked through The Guest List and it seemed to have multiple perspectives with time jumps from before and after the murder. I usually quite enjoy different character point of views but there were too many in this book. The characters were developed enough to understand them, but it jumped about too much for my liking.

So who are the five pov’s that we follow? First, there is Heather who sort of runs the retreat. The reader only gets her perspective from the present day. She fills us in on what is happening after the murder has occurred. So from the first page we know one of the guests is missing and potentially dead, but we don’t know who until the very last. As the plot develops it can easily be deduced which character people may like to be rid of.

We also get a look into Doug, the gamekeeper. This is the only third-person perspective — and I’m not sure why. Doug tells us almost straight away that he has killed before. He also experiences PTSD. But when a potential suspect is suggested so soon it’s usually a red herring.

The three other povs are of the guests. There is Miranda who is infuriatingly selfish and hiding a secret. There is Katie who is shy and is hiding quite a secret. And then there is Emma who seems so basic, but guess what — she too is hiding a secret.

There may be a lot of secrets but they are not entirely implausible. Foley explores the idea of wealth and privilege well in this book. The things that these people can be justified in doing just because they have money. The book even ends with justice not being served.

This is a heavily character-driven book. Isolated in the Scottish wilderness, snowed in, true colours begin to emerge. As a murder mystery or psychological thriller, this book was pretty dull. But adding in the discussion of class and privilege the book becomes so much more.

So if you decide to read The Hunting Party I recommend not going into it expecting an amazing murder mystery. Instead, focus on the details and conversation around crime and privilege. Intentional or not, Foley dug up an important issue.


04/06/21

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