For about the fourth time in as many months, I picked up a book that turned out was a Reese’s Book Club Selection when it was first released. And so far, everyone of them has been a winner. So what about The Guest List by Lucy Foley (Amazon)? The winning streak continues. My review below.
“On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”
Okay, everyone compares this book to an Agatha Christie “locked room” mystery and I have to agree to a certain extent. The exception is that The Guest List takes place on a resort island off the coast of Ireland, and the action takes place in several places on the island.
The book is told from the points of view of the guests at the wedding, the bride, the groom, and the wedding planner. Writing from something like six points of view could not have been easy, and I think Foley carries it off pretty well. I listened to the audio book version and it helped to have different people reading the different parts, instead of having one person performing all the roles. Every one of the characters has something that makes them unlikeable, so it’s hard to know who to root for, which is good in a mystery.
You can definitely see where the story is going, you just don’t know the who or the why to begin with, which makes you want to get to the end. But I’d also take my time to figure out what clues were being dropped along the way. Foley doles out the hints slowly while creating a compelling case for several suspects. In fact, because you don’t even know who was murdered until you’re about 75% of the way through the book makes The Guest List (Amazon) unique, but then you realize from all the clues mentioned, that the killing makes sense. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out who did it.
I can’t say I figured out the killer before it was revealed, and in that case, that makes this a good mystery. The twists and turns presented kept me guessing right up until the end. The Guest List definitely kept my attention all the way through, right up to the conclusion. I do agree that this book is reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel. If you like mysteries, I’d check this one out!
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