Lucy Foley – The Guest List (2020)

Preamble

As I read and write and think a lot about detective and crime fiction, I’m starting to put together quick, bite-size reviews of the books in these genres. Sadly, capacity is too limited to cover all the films and TV series I watch too, but these might be added in the future

The ‘see also’ section below gives you a hint of the story, its themes, and its style, and is spoiler-free, but reviews themselves aren’t guaranteed to be thus!

If you’re interested in reading my academic work about detective and crime fiction (free PDFs available), check it out here.


See also

These lists capture other detective/crime stories and characters that I thought of as I was reading this piece. I won’t explain why, to avoid spoilers, but they’re associations and not ‘if you liked this, then you’ll love…’ recommendations!

  • Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None
  • Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party
  • Kim Newman’s The Quorum

Review (3.5 out of 5)

I saw this novel on booksellers’ tables for what felt like months and months and months, so in the end I read it. I actually read it before any other Foley novels, and it was good enough to encourage me to read more, of course, so that should be taken as an immediate endorsement. (This is by no means the first time I’ve come into a formal or informal series in media res!)

I thought the location of The Hunting Party (2018) worked in a more convincing way to the one in this novel, which has a certain And Then There Were None resonance but feels a bit ham-handed.

What I found most interesting in this book was the exploration of male friendship and its potential cruelty (a theme in the later Foley novel The Paris Apartment, but only very lightly touched on). This was well done, I think, if somewhat dramatically, and that element was what gave me echoes of Kim Newman’s The Quorum, which revolves around the persecution of one of a group of male friends.


Lucy Foley’s The Guest List was Book 28 of my 2022 reading adventure. You can see the whole thread for 2022, and look back to 2021, on Twitter.