To start, I have a bit about why I was drawn to this author. In the short biography of Lucy Foley on the jacket sleeve of her books, I read she studied English literature at Durham University. This fact attracted my attention, since I also spent a semester, as an exchange student from Penn State University, at Durham University/St. Hild’s College in 1971.
Remote as the connection may be, it sparked my interest to read my first Foley mystery, The Guest List. Having found The Guest List an enjoyable and fast moving read, I was eager to get into The Hunting Pary.
The Hunting Party is a closed- room thriller. There is a limited set of characters and they are all trapped in one location … sounds a little like Agatha Christie. In Foley’s story, it is a group of old friends from Oxford, gathering to celebrate Hogmanay with a New Year’s reunion at a venue in the Scottish highlands wilderness.
The Guest List, my first Foley mystery, is also written using the closed- room method. However, instead of in Scotland it is in Ireland with a group of friends attending a destination wedding on a small remote Irish island. Weather creates the condition of isolation in both mysteries. Snow in Scotland as opposed to rough seas in Ireland. TRAPPED AGAIN!
For me, Doug, the gamekeeper, and Heather, the manager of the estate where the reunion takes place, are the most interesting characters in The Hunting Party. Both present with troubled pasts, and both seek solace in the remote highland location. The reunion attendees are acquainted but have grown apart. EVERYONE with motives… EVERYONE with secrets
Foley’s well developed “red herrings” keep the reader uncertain until the very end and her imagery creates a feeling of trepidation and dread.
It almost seems as though I’m reviewing two books, perhaps because they are so similar in many ways. Both were good reads, but I hope my third Foley novel – and I will read at least a third – is distinguished by a different foremat and a more variant plot line.
HOGMANAY – Scottish for New Year’s Eve – December 31 – the big night that marks the arrival of the new year. The word may be derived from Norse and Gaelic observances.