Foley's strength as a writer is capturing a sense of place, as she did in her previous books The Hunting Party and The Guest List. Here, this contemporary mystery is set in a classic old building in Paris complete with an oddball cast and a missing brother.
The story is told through a variety of characters, each using the first-person narrative. Each has their own secret and paranoia, but often their voices is too similar to the other characters so sometimes it's easy to forget who is narrating. It is particularly the case as most of them are in love with the missing man and the flashbacks detail gazing and lusting after him. The designer name dropping doesn't work for me or readers who are not followers of the latest craze or trend. Equally distracting are the frequent random French words, which are totally unnecessary as the whole book, being set in France, would have the characters speaking French anyway.
This book is modern in style with current phrases littered throughout, despite the traditional mystery trope that has drawn comparisons to Agatha Christie murder mysteries. There are no likable characters but they all have a sadness and tension within them. The tale ambles along, uneventful until the very end.
Lucy Foley is a popular author and I'm sure she will continue her success with this novel.
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Published by Harper Collins on 3 March 2022.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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