Source: Netgalley review copy
Publication: HarperCollins in e-book on 3 December 2018 and in hardback on 24Jan. 2019
PP: 400 pages
In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.
The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
Not an accident – a murder among friends.
The Hunting Party is a ‘who died and who did it’ murder mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie’s golden age grand house mysteries. A group of seven former Oxbridge chums get together once a year to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This year they are in a posh Hunting Lodge in a remote part of the Highlands.Of course the weather is bad and it is not long before the group realise that they are trapped until the weather changes.
Emma is Mark’s girlfriend and this year she has organised the trip in an effort to ingratiate herself with this close knit group of friends. Miranda is the bold, glamorous wife of Julien who always has to be the centre of everyone’s attention. Katie is a high powered London lawyer and used to be Miranda’s best friend but work has got in the way of that friendship and they haven’t seen each other for sometime. Samira and Giles are new parents, and the arrival of their daughter Priya, now 6 months old, has somewhat curbed their social lives and attitudes. The final couple are Nick and Bo, in a long term partnership.
The Hunting Party begins on New Year’s Day 2019, after the Manager of the Lodge, Heather, discovers the body of a missing guest, and the Gamekeeper, Doug confirms that it is clearly murder.
The party are cut off by snowstorms, and the police, already with a serial killer on their hands, are unable to get to them quickly.
Cleverly constructed so that the reader has little idea of who has been murdered, far less why, the story arc takes us back to when the group arrived and slowly reveals the strains in the group dynamic.
As they settle in to the Lodge and begin their somewhat hedonistic partying, it is clear that more than one of them is hiding dark secrets and that these relationships are far from what they seem on the surface.
The Oxbridge guests are somewhat disgruntled to find that they are not, as promised, the only guests on the Highland estate two Icelanders, Ingvar and Gudrun are also staying, though they choose pretty much to keep to themselves, but help to add an air of mystery.
Both Heather and Doug also have secrets that they have disclosed to no-one, not even each other and their relationship is a distant but civil one.
In this frozen, isolated setting with a cast of diverse characters, Lucy Foley offers up an intriguing murder mystery with a cast of characters it is sometimes hard to like.
The Hunting Party is an easy fast paced read that keeps you guessing – not just about who the perpetrator is and why, but also who the victim is (though I did at least, manage to guess that correctly).
With lots of false clues and twists, The Hunting Party is a character driven novel full of secrets, lies, suspicion and intrigue.
Verdict: A fast, easy and enjoyable read.
About Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley studied English literature at Durham University and University College London. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor, during which time she wrote The Book of Lost and Found. Lucy now writes full-time and is busy traveling, painting, and working on her next novel.
Follow Lucy on Twitter @lucyfoleytweets