Title: The Hunting Party
Author: Lucy Foley
Publication Date: 3 December 2018
Number of Pages: 400
Everyone’s a suspect.
Bristling with tension, bitter rivalries, and toxic friendships, get ready for the most hotly-anticipated thriller of 2019.
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.
“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists and turns,
the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having
everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because
you hadn’t seen it from the start.”
The Hunting Party is a modernised version of the classic locked-room/isolation style mystery. The story centres around nine friends (Miranda, Julien, Katie, Mark, Samira, Giles, Nick and Bo) seeing in the New Year together at Loch Corrin, a remote hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands. All in their 30’s, they are contemporaries from Oxford University (plus wives/husbands) and are struggling to accept that their group dynamic has changed since their undergraduate days. Adulthood, careers and family lives have tamed them and widened the gap between them all. Rather than simply enjoying their surroundings, drinking the local scotch and reminiscing, they find themselves comparing their successes and failures. Long-hidden jealousies, rivalries and resentments are pulled to the surface causing the congenial mood amongst the party to quickly depart and causing the weekend to descend into a tense and edgy affair.
When one of the group ends up dead, the friends find themselves stuck in the isolated lodge, in the middle of a snowstorm, with no way in or out. Will the police helicopter reach them before the murderer is revealed or before he/she strikes again…?
The setting is absolutely perfect for a whodunit – atmospheric, isolated and bleak. The chilly presence of the blizzard adds an extra element of claustrophobia, quickly and effectively ramping up the feelings of unease and tension.
The story is well-plotted. Set over a 48 hour period, it is told from the perspective of several of the characters, each having their own secret and each presenting the events from a different viewpoint. The story flits back and forth over those 48 hours. This cleverly allows the story to be told, whilst keeping the reader guessing not only as to who the murderer is, but also who has been murdered. There is a general feeling of menace and enough twists and ‘red herrings’ to keep the reader gripped until the very last page.
Interestingly, the characters are all pretty unlikeable in their own ways. They are self-centred and spoilt, which somehow makes it more fascinating as we watch their friendships fracture and their lives fall apart at the seams. Certainly they make a pretty dysfunctional group. In addition to the friends, there are two further characters to add to the pool of suspects – Heather, the lodge manager, and Doug, the gruff gamekeeper, who adds his own intrigue to the tale.
Lucy Foley, an author better known for her historical novels, has put forward a solid crime fiction debut. The Hunting Party is atmospheric, tense and twisty – a great update to the classic Christie-style whodunit. Highly recommended and great for fans of an old-fashioned murder mystery with a modern twist.
About the Author
Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.
Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.