Author: Lucy Foley
Publishing Date: 15 February 2019
“Some people, given just the right amount of pressure, taken out of their usual, comfortable environments, don’t need much encouragement at all to become monsters. And sometimes you just get a strong sense about people, and you can’t explain it; you simply know it, in some deeper part of yourself.”
I read Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party in July this year. I had just moved to Assam and the unpacking had really left me exhausted. Moreover, we were quarantined for fourteen days according to government’s rules. I just wanted to unwind with a good book and that’s when I came across The Hunting Party. I also read Lucy Foley’s second thriller The Guest List, more on that later. Foley’s novels kept me company during my quarantine and I must say that both the novels were simply amazing.
The Hunting Party is a taut psychological thriller about a group of seven old college friends who are snowed in a hunting lodge. This group has an annual tradition of holidaying together during the Christmas break. This year they decide to go to an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands. The hunting lodge is situated near a loch and the landscape is bleak with snow capped mountains on one side. The group arrives a day before New Years Eve, just before a blizzard snows them in and cuts them off from the outside world.
The group of friends is initially happy to be together. They enjoy the stunning if foreboding beauty of the estate. At night they decide to party and the champagne flows freely. Under the joviality it becomes obvious that there are resentments, murky secrets and deep-seated jealousies amongst the group. When one guest goes missing, the estate manager, Heather is convinced that it is not an accident but a case of murder. Cut off from the mainland, with no communication with the police, Heather realizes that one of the guests is a murderer. Who is the victim? Who is the murderer?
The Hunting Party is similar to the Golden Age Crime novels of Agatha Christie. Like Christie’s novels, Foley portrays a cast of suspects in a locked-room mystery. The writing is atmospheric. The plot is taut and seamlessly flows from past to present and vice-versa. The story is told through POVs and the events take place over the course of three days. The victim and the murderer are revealed towards the very end. Its hugely entertaining and will keep you guessing. This is a very character driven thriller and that’s fine by me but some readers might not like it. I loved how diverse and well established each character was. Heather has past trauma, which is triggered due to the events unfolding on the estate. The group of friends are the main suspects and they don’t come across as likeable characters.
The Hunting Party is a riveting murder mystery reminiscent of the Golden Age crime novels. I recommend it to readers who are looking for an absorbing, unique and entertaining murder mystery.
If you are looking for more recommendations for entertaining thrillers you can check here.